When it comes to cleaning, most homeowners are more concerned with dirty dishes (66 percent), piles of laundry (58 percent) and dust balls on their carpet (57 percent), according to a survey commissioned by 3M, maker of Filtrete air cleaning filters.
It’s easy to stress out over the in our face messes in our homes (my nemesis is the ever present mound of clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away), but what about the not as noticeable areas that are often playgrounds for bacteria, mildew, and dust mites, such as bedding, shower doors, and even those cute stuffed animals that multiply every time you go in your kid’s room?
There are steps you can take during your routine cleaning to help eliminate allergens. My husband has really horrible allergies, so I am very aware of the dust level in our home. We have an purifier and I dust with a microfiber cloth.
Laura Dellutri, author of The Overworked Mom’s Stress Free Home, has lots of great cleaning tips for reducing allergens:
- Start at the Top: Ceiling fans, tall mantles and bookshelves, and the tops of door frames tend to subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” motto. These areas often harbor dust, so it’s important to wipe them down regularly to help remove dust buildup. Start at the top and work your way down, collecting all of the dust and dirt that falls to the floor while you’re cleaning.
- Wipe Down Windows and Walls: Don’t clean windows the old fashioned way – newspaper can cause ink residue and paper towels leave lint behind. Your best bet is to use microfiber cleaning cloths and a professional window squeegee to get a streak-free, spotless shine. To prevent streaks on shower doors and walls, apply lemon oil to the door twice a month. This helps repel soap scum and shampoo, while also adding a nice shine.
- Think Horizontally: Dust mites are nearly everywhere. In fact, the American Lung Association estimates that roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed. Reduce dust mites by encasing your mattress and pillows, and wash your bedding in hot water about once a week. Also, since dust mites are microscopic, place strips of duct tape on the mattress case to prevent the dust mites from sneaking through.
- Clean the In-between: While cleaning what you can see, don’t forget to clean what you can’t see – the air you breathe. Use a high performance air filter in the home, such as the Filtrete 1″ Ultimate Allergen Reduction filter, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season, or every three months.
- Freeze the Fur: Stuffed animals can harbor dust mites. Place them in a large plastic bag and freeze them for four to five hours. Remove them from the freezer and plastic bag, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove any leftover dust particles. Of course if you do this in front of your kids, it might freak them out (ha!)
- Finish With Floors: To keep floors in tip-top shape, vacuum and clean them weekly. You can easily make your own floor cleaner by adding a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent to a gallon of water. Hot water can break down floor finishes after time so use water that is barely warm. Finally, don’t forget to clean the floor under large pieces of furniture, which may require you to temporarily move them elsewhere. Corners of rooms and the back of closets often are overlooked, so be sure to clean these areas as well.
Check out the Clean Air Club online and register to receive e-newsletters and better home living tips. You can also download a mail-in rebate for $4 off the purchase of two Filtrete Air Filters with a 1000 Microparticle Performance Rating or greater.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Filtrete and received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.