Breathe Easy: How to clean your home to fend off allergies and asthma

This month, I was thrilled to talk to Tulsa People Magazine about my cleaning tips for keeping allergens in check! My tips were a part of a larger story on the facts behind allergies and asthma, with expert advice from local doctors. Head over to Tulsa People's website to read the full story, and check out my cleaning tricks below:

If you’re sneezing inside your home, allergy triggers might be present. Some of them might be coming inside the house with you:

    “Sixty percent of household dust can be reduced by removing shoes before entering your home,” says Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids. “Leaving your shoes outside is a really great way to minimize the dust, germs and everything else.” If taking off shoes isn’t an option, another way to help reduce dust is to place dirt-hugging and dust-catching mats outside and inside the door, so it catches what’s coming in on your shoes or your pet’s feet.

    Keeping the bedroom dust-free is important. “We spend 30 percent of our life in bed,” Bates says. “Many of us are allergic to dust and dust mites, and it can impact the quality of life and sleep. It isn’t easy to sleep with a stuff y nose or asthma.” Bates suggests avoiding under-the-bed storage. “If you do store things under the bed, make sure they’re tightly sealed containers you can roll out so you can dust off the tops and vacuum that area,” she says.
    Keep in mind mold and mildew, which can be allergy triggers. Try running the bathroom exhaust fan for 15 minutes after a shower. “The exhaust fan is there to pull the humidity and moisture out of your bathroom, so it’ll help cut down on mold and mildew,” Bates says.
  • PETS
    Grooming dogs regularly is important because they can bring pollen inside. “Keeping them properly groomed and brushed will help minimize what’s coming in,” Bates says. “Pets are often overlooked unless you’re allergic to them.”

Cleaning tips and tricks

There are other simple things you can do to help minimize allergens in the home (and workplace, too), according to Bates:

  1. Change air filters regularly. A good rule of thumb is whether you can see light through it. If not, the filter needs to be replaced.
  2. At home, wash bedding weekly in hot water, which will kill dust mites. If your pillows are washable, wash those, too.
  3. Vacuum your mattress while your sheets are in the wash. Bates suggests using a special spray to kill bacteria and freshen your mattress. Mix one to two cups of vodka or rubbing alcohol with an essential oil like eucalyptus or clove (20-30 drops). This can be used on a traditional or foam mattress. Now spray away! Additionally, you can use baking soda to freshen up foam mattresses, but you must vacuum it up after. She emphasizes that you should only mist — and never soak — either kind of mattress.
  4. Don’t forget your ceiling fan. Wrap a pillowcase around the blades to catch the dust. If your fan is very dusty, put the pillowcase on the blade and wipe, collecting the dust in the pillowcase. Bates says this is a much cleaner technique than dusting. Make sure to take the pillowcase outside to shake out the dust, and then launder it as usual, using hot water. Or use a feather duster on the blades before you vacuum.
  5. Don’t neglect windowsills, blinds and lampshades.
  6. Change your vacuum bag outside regularly and consider a HEPA filtration vacuum. When vacuuming, occasionally flip back your area rug and vacuum its underside.
  7. Vacuum upholstery, and use a dust mop under your furniture if you have hardwood floors.