Cleaning with Allergies 101

  • Mopping

Not many of us enjoy cleaning, but add incessant sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and brain fog into the mix and cleaning can become a real chore.

This is the reality many allergy sufferers face when they tackle everyday cleaning tasks. Dusting, vacuuming, disinfecting and moving the furniture around can disturb microscopic allergens and release them into the air. If they make their way into the body, they might get flagged as harmful invaders, causing the release of histamines that lead to those annoying symptoms.

Here’s how you can keep your home clean and tidy, while reducing allergens in your home.

Protective gear

You may feel a little silly, but you’ll feel worse when your day is ruined by a stuffy nose and head. Invest in a dust mask for cleaning, wear old clothes and jump in the shower as soon a you’re done. This will make sure you’re not carrying allergens with you for the rest of the day.

Wait a while

After vacuuming (while wearing your dust mask) wait at least 20 minutes before heading back into the room, as dust residue will remain airborne for some time.

Ditch the duster

This ones a little obvious, but needs to be said. Dusters are a one-way-ticket to an allergy flare up. If you must do the dusting yourself, opt for damp microfibre cloths that will collect dust rather than displace it.

Electrostatic cloths are also a great option, and invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will effectively trap dust particles without releasing them back into the air.

Remove carpets and curtains if possible

Have you ever gone into a house and noticed your allergies are worse than usual? They probably had a lot of carpet, soft furnishings and curtains that harbour unseen pet dander, dust mites and mould.

These items are more difficult to clean, and tend to be forgotten about. While a thorough vacuum will help, steam cleaning or dry cleaning is your best option, however this can be costly.

Carpets are the enemy of allergy sufferers, so if you want to improve the quality of your life one of the best things you can do is to remove them and replace them with easy-to-clean solid flooring, like wood, tiles or polished concrete. Replacing curtains with blinds (that can be washed easily with hot water) is also a smart option.

Replacing flooring and drapes might require a bit of a financial investment, but isn’t it worth it to be allergy-free in your own home? If you can’t bear the cold under your feet all the time, go with smaller rugs that can be easily laundered.

Designate allergy-free zones

Yes, it’s possible. If you’re going to create an allergy-free zone anywhere in your home, make it your bedroom so that you can be guaranteed a restful night without coughing and sneezing.

Get your Marie Kondo on with a side of Feng Shui Master. In English, this means remove any and all clutter. Bedrooms are not for storage - and that includes under your bed. This way you can clean thoroughly under your bed with ease, which is a haven for irritating dust and often the cause of those restless nights.

If possible, choose a room without carpets or curtains, keep pets out, and be sure to wash your sheets at least once a week in hypo-allergenic wash.

Use a purifying air conditioner

Investing in air purifying air conditioning is a quick way to improve the overall air quality of your home. Panasonic’s nanoe-G system eliminates up to 99% of particle pollution and deodorises adhesives, without you having to lift a finger.

Remember to clean the filters

Cleaning your air conditioner and vacuum filters in hot water should become one of your habitual cleaning tasks (best to bribe someone else to do this one though!)

Cut the clutter

The more clutter you have in your home, the more places there are for allergens to hide. The next time you tackle your cleaning, ask yourself, “Do I REALLY need this?”. If you’re not using it regularly, or if it’s not adding value to the look and feel of your home, either put it in storage or donate it.

Not only will this save time spent cleaning, you’ll experience less allergy issues and feel more at peace in your home environment.

Don’t skip the furniture

Soft fabric furniture is like a paradise island for dust mites. Population: Millions.

Your soft furnishings should be washed weekly in hot water. This step is a lot easier if you choose furniture with washable zip covers, or better yet, go with leather (or faux leather) that can be easily wiped down.

Hot, HOT water

When washing blankets, pillows, sheets and furniture covers, make sure you wash them in very hot water to kill dust mites (warm water is simply not enough to kill those dusty little critters!).

The same rule applies for mopping.

Watch the humidity

Dust mites, mildew and mould love a humid climate, so keep the moisture down when you can. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner that can regulate this automatically, always use the fan in your bathroom, and keep your home well ventilated. It's also a good idea to get rid of your shower curtain, as they can encourage mould growth

“Please leave your shoes at the door”

You might have seen these signs at the front door of pedantic homeowner who wants to protect their floors - but they might be onto something! Not only will this keep your floors clean, it reduces pollen being brought in from outside (a big cause of allergic reactions and hay fever inside the home).


If all else fails get your partner or housemate to do the dustier jobs. You might as well get some perks out of this sniffly situation!

If you decide to bring in the professionals, make sure they know that allergies are a concern and inquire about their process to reduce indoor allergens. You don’t want to be paying good money for a service that is simply going to release more dust into the air and introduce irritating fumes into your home.


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