Banish or reduce clutter.
Dust collects everywhere, especially in catch-all spaces. Cheryl Sameshima, general manager of Champion Professional Cleaning Services, says one of your best weapons in the fight against home allergens is staying organized. “Having less clutter, such as magazines and papers and loose items just lying around the house, will help alleviate dust buildup,” she says.
Just because dust is out of sight doesn’t mean it’s not there. When it’s time to clean, you have to move things around. Move your heavy furniture and major appliances away from walls and clean underneath so you’re not missing cobwebs, lint and old food that accumulates. This also makes walls accessible. “You can use a broom or vacuum attachments to dust your walls quickly,” says Tara Gentry, owner of Custom Design Cleaning and Eco Cleaning Systems.
Keep your house well ventilated.
Run the air, turn on a fan, or open the windows. The more humid your house, the more likely mold is to grow. Gentry recommends spraying undiluted isopropyl alcohol on affected areas and scrubbing. “It has one of the lowest water ratios compared to vinegar, peroxide and bleach,” she says. “On porous surfaces, mold could have roots in the material, which will only be later fed by the water after it appears the surface has been cleaned.” After cleaning, seal the area to prevent mold from growing back.
Dust and vacuum the right way.
Cleaning can actually spread irritating particles if not done properly. When dusting, start at the top and work your way down, and don’t neglect ceiling fixtures, trim and baseboards, says Penny Stephens, owner of Penny’s Cleaning. She suggests using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap dust and prevent it from re-entering the air.
Pay attention to your mattress and bed linens.
Before you store that heavy blanket for the season, wash and dry it thoroughly to exterminate dust mites. Do the same with your sheets every week, putting them through a hot cycle of at least 130 degrees. “It’s the hot water that kills them,” Sameshima says. Pillows should be washed every three to six months and mattresses vacuumed every six months.
Keep allergens out.
Every door to your home should have a doormat. If one doesn’t, leave a shoe storage unit beside the interior door of your garage, and don’t wear shoes inside at all. “This will help reduce the amount of dirt, dust and potential allergens being tracked into your home,” Stephens says.