Spring has sprung, footy season is nearing an end, the tulips are blooming and the weather is getting warmer, but it is also allergy season. For many of us this means a stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes or skin and lots of sneezing.
Common causes of allergies include:
Affecting a lot of people pollen allergies or hayfever are caused by an allergy to the pollen produced by flowers, trees, grasses and weeds. Pollen gets into the home when you open the doors and windows or travels inside on your clothing or with pets. It is often further dispersed through the home by cooling and heating systems.
Dust mites are one of the most common causes of allergies in the home. Millions of these tiny creatures live in our mattresses, bed linen, carpets and furnishings. Feeding of our skin cells, and producing waste, studies show that are a known cause or trigger of asthma and eczema.
Mould is often found in damp, poorly ventilated areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Mould and bacteria are also often found in mattresses and pillows with our perspiration, shredded skin cells and everyday spills and stains helping provide the perfect conditions for it to grow.
Fairly common, pet allergies are triggered by pet dander from animals such as such as cats and dogs. Pets also often carry inside other allergens such as pollen and dust.
While there is not a lot you can do to control your outdoor environment, there are things you can do when spring cleaning, to help control your indoor environment, and in particular the bedroom, where seasonal allergies can be triggered all year round.
Spring cleaning the Bedroom – Tips
Make sure you have all your cleaning supplies at hand.
- Have three boxes on hand - one for rubbish, one for things that don’t belong in the bedroom and one for anything, such as old clothes, that you might like to donate to charity.
Clear the bedroom of clutter
Remember that the bedroom should be a peaceful area, a sanctuary. Remove any items that are not used or are unnecessary. Are they rubbish, do they belong in another room or can they go to charity?
- Consider removing TVs or Computers. The blue light emitted from screens can reduce the production of the sleep hormone melatonin which may result in difficulty sleeping and increased drowsiness during the day.
Clean out the wardrobe and dresser drawers
Start by taking everything out.
- If possible, store away any winter clothing and shoes.
- We all have things in our wardrobe and drawers that we no longer wear. When deciding what to put back ask yourself the following questions. Have I worn it in the last 12 months? Will I wear it again? Does it still fit? Do I like the way it looks? Is it damaged?
- The things you don't need, if not damaged, consider selling online or donating to charity.
Dust all surfaces in the bedroom with a damp or electrostatic cloth.
- Remove all items from dressers and shelves, returning them as you go.
- Move from one side of the room to the other so no areas are missed.
Wipe down the walls
Clean off any marks.
- If you have young artists in the household and are using a cleaning block or another cleaning chemical always test in an inconspicuous area to ensure it does not fade or damage the paint or wallpaper.
Clean windows and window furnishings
Clean your windows, inside and out. You might want to try using a water/vinegar mixture with a microfibre cloth. Don’t forget the window frames and tracks. If needed a toothbrush is great for getting into the corners.
- Take down and wash curtains.
- Dust and wipe down blinds with warm water.
Thoroughly vacuum the carpet or floor boards using a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
- If you can, move furniture to get underneath.
- Mop floor boards. Consider a professional clean for the carpet.
- Wipe down baseboards.
Vacuum soft furnishing
Any chairs, couches or soft furnishings should also be vacuumed with a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
If your heating and cooling system is due for new filters, spring is a great reminder to replace them and preferably with HEPA versions if possible.
Strip and clean your bedding
Remove and clean all bedding, including sheets, blankets, mattress and pillow protectors. Washing in hot water (above 55°C will kill any dust mites).
- Cover your mattress and pillows with Protect-A-Bed® mattress and pillow protectors. Protect-A-Bed®’s Miracle Layer™ acts as a barrier against any dust mite, mould and bacteria allergens that may be present in your mattress or pillows. They also protect your mattress from yellowing that is caused by your perspiration and everyday spills. Recognised by the National Asthma Council of Australia and the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand’s Sensitive Choice Program you will see the Sensitive Choice Blue Butterfly on Protect-A-Bed® packaging.
If you or someone in your family suffer from severe allergies, asthma or eczema consider using Protect-A-Bed®’s Fully Encased Mattress Protectors.
The fully encased Protect-A-Bed® Allerzip® Mattress and Pillow Encasement's feature a unique BugLock® system. which has a dust mite proof flap and Secure Seal® providing total protection. Preventing dust mite, mould and bacteria allergens entering or escaping through the zipper.
Simply Fit n’ Forget by layering a Protect-A-Bed® Fitted Mattress Protector over the top for regular washing and drying with other linens.
And as you are most likely putting the flannel sheets away for the year, why not try some sheets and mattress protectors designed to keep you cool and comfortable? Those made from TENCEL™, for example, are hypoallergenic, smooth on the skin, and help manage heat and moisture for better sleep in warmer weather.
- Don’t forget to wash or have your pillows dry-cleaned.
- Fold and put into storage any winter bedding no longer needed.
- Wipe down the bed frame.
- Flip and rotate your mattress
Finally consider keeping flowers (with pollen) and pets out of the bedroom.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the warmer days and remember if your allergies are triggered by pollen stay indoors on dry windy days and especially after storms as these are peak periods for airborne allergens.