December 13, 2021
Holiday Guests Breathe Easier in an Allergy Friendly Home
The holiday season is approaching very quickly. You can feel it in the air! The mornings are crisp, and the nights are snappy with frost. There are still a few more weeks of anticipation looking forward to festive fun.
For many people this will be a happy, hectic time for buying gifts, preparing festive meals, and decorating the home with a special sparkling touch. Many friends and relatives will travel this season to celebrate the fun with their loved ones.
Getting ready for extra house guests motivates most of us to do a de-clutter sweep throughout the house and deep clean the living areas, guest bedrooms and bathrooms. The job is made more arduous if you are taking extra care to clean for guests who have dust, pet dander and mold allergies. Time to get busy!
There are steps you can take while cleaning that can greatly reduce allergy symptoms. Be aware beforehand: de-cluttering and deep cleaning means more exposure to allergens. You may want to take allergy meds or even mask-up before jumping to the task.
De-cluttering makes cleaning the surfaces in a room a lot easier. Wipe every surface with a damp microfiber cloth. These cloths are perfect for getting into corners and crevices. Change them out frequently while cleaning. Donate the discarded and little-used knick-knacky items and furniture to your favorite thrift charity.
If your guest has dust allergies, pay close attention to carpets and rugs. Area rugs can be taken up and vacuumed more thoroughly and smaller ones can even be machine washed and dried. A thorough cleaning of all carpets will keep dust and mites under control. It is generally not recommended to shampoo your entire carpet as mites are attracted to moisture and humidity. Spot cleaning with a warm damp sponge is all that’s needed for some carpet stains. Vacuum daily; your allergen sensitive guests will thank you.
Don’t forget about the curtains and other window treatments such as blinds and valances. These are often be neglected throughout the year, especially in little used rooms, and they are perfect dust collectors. Also, look for mold on the window glass. It is not unusual to find a thin film of mold/mildew on the pane and sash. Diluted vinegar does a fantastic job cleaning windows.
In the bedrooms, wash all dust ruffles and bed skirts in the hottest water possible. If necessary, replace them, for they do an excellent job trapping dust bunnies. Most bed pillows can be washed as well. Fluff and machine dry them with a clean pair of kid’s tennis shoes to help keep them from matting. If a fabric cannot be machine-washed, run it through dryer for about 10 minutes. Heat kills dust mites.
If pet dander is the allergy culprit, obviously it would be best to keep the pet out of the guestroom. As much as possible, confine them to one room or area. Running a small HEPA air filter will help remove allergens from the air, but it will not create an allergen-free environment. The protein in pet dander, especially in cats, is quite robust and can take months to break down.
Ultimately, it’s up to your guest to consult with a doctor about whether the discomfort of an allergy attack is worth staying the night away from home. Sometimes, offering to put someone up in a nearby hotel is the healthiest and most comfortable option — for both the allergy sufferer and the gracious host.