February 26, 2013

Time to Clean Up Your Act! It's Allergy Time

Allergy season has already begun due to our unseasonably dry weather this year!  So, what can you do to rid your home of allergies that are common to most of us?  Many of us live in newer homes that have a very tight seal to keep everything inside and energy efficient but, there is a down side to that.  If you have toxins in your home that bother you, they hang around a lot longer and you have to really work to eradicate them.  I have found a few simple things can make a positive change in our indoor environment.  These are the things I do around our house.  I farm out some of the other chores to my son and husband.  I choose this strategy because I know I do a better job and am the one that suffers the most if it is not done well.

Vacuum everything you can!  It does not scatter dust into the air and it keeps all of the creepy things from getting into your system.  If you have carpet, vacuum 2 or 3 times a week if you need to.  If you can see debris on the surface just remember there is much, much more that you can't see.  Change your bag often.  If you have filters in your vacuum, change or clean them too.  If you can smell a musty odor when you vacuum it is time to do both of those things! Vacuum furniture, drapes, blinds, baseboards...anything and everything.

Dust!  When you dust, use a non-scented, non-toxic spray to prep the surface that needs dusting to keep stuff from going airborne.  When my allergies are really bad I just use a spray bottle with water in it.  Most of our furniture is black so I never have to wonder what needs dusting because it is very easy to see.  If you keep your windows open to get fresh air or you still have those single pane windows, you will need to dust more frequently.  Don't get lazy on this one and move everything to dust every surface.

Keep mold to a minimum!  If you have dampness in your home you need to investigate it until you know where it is coming from.  I try to stay on top of it in the shower so it does not cause a problem that requires me to bring in the big gun (bleach).  I am no so sensitive to bleach I have to leave the house with fans on to ventilate so, it is my last resort.  I do use a lot of white vinegar, to clean with (it is super cheap) and baking soda (it is super super cheap).  My son says our house smells like a salad sometimes!

Last, change your HVAC filter more often that required and get the best you can afford...it will help a lot.

These are things we do all of the time to keep our living environment clean, but during allergy season we have to do it a little bit more frequently and with a bit more vigor.  If you have pets, well, it is always an uphill battle.  Pets and kids are much more sensitive to chemical agents than adults so be careful with what you expose them to.  A side note to this:  A friend of mine has a little store in Fair Oaks, CA called Home2Roost and she sells the best lavender based cleaning concentrate.  Obviously, it is scented but lavender is a natural anti-bacterial and can be used most every surface for cleaning.  It won't hurt your kids or animals plus, a little bit goes a long, long way.

I spend about thirty to forty five minutes everyday cleaning something and it really does not hurt at all!  Don't tell my husband but it really is less than an hour a day on cleaning.  Of course, that is excluding laundry for which I dedicate the better part of a day each week.  Needless to say, I don't like laundry day very much.  I will post more on my strategies for this later.

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