Winter is finally behind us, but for many, the excitement of springs brings with it those dreaded allergies. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Anddid you know that the level of air pollution inside the average U.S. home is at least twice as high as it is outdoors? When allergy season hits, keeping the air quality clean inside your home will help reduce allergy symptoms, letting the whole family breathe a little easier. And if you have children, this is even more important because they inhale proportionately more air for their body size than adults, taking in more particles and contaminants than we do. Read on for the areas in your home you should probably be paying more attention to, and easy ways to add them to your spring-cleaning list.
Incorporate Area Rugs
It’s become a common misconception that opting for hard-surface floors instead of carpet results in a cleaner home.
However, dust and dirt particles actually settle on these bare surfaces and get swept back into the air, and carried deeper into the home, when there is activity in the room. Area rugs and doormats act like giant filters that absorb dirt, allergens and bacteria. These unhealthy particles are trapped when they settle and kept in place until it is time to vacuum.
Weekly vacuuming of carpets (and area rugs) maintains their life and appearance by picking up accumulated dust and dirt.A bag vacuum with a HEPA filter is recommended for best results, but bacteria, allergens and pet dander can still remain trapped within the carpet fibers.
For a deep clean, professional carpet cleaners should be utilized at least twice a year, during which you can request they include a sanitizer to remove the maximum amount of bacteria. They can also add a protectant coating to carpet fibers to make it easier for homeowners to keep them cleaner for longer on their own.
Vacuum Upholstered Furniture
Most people spend significant time on their chairs and couches, but few make a point to regularly clean them. Vacuuming the upholstery once every other week in high-traffic areas, like family rooms, will pick up the dirt, dust and allergens that settle on these surfaces. It is recommended, however, to have them professionally cleaned at least once a year to eliminate more of the deep-down dirt and allergens.
Wipe Down Countertops
Similar to hard-surface floors, kitchen countertops also collect particles of dust, bacteria and allergens as they waft through the air and settle. A mild cleaner will remove the grime, but counters made of granite or tile often contain a sealer that can degrade over time. For these surfaces, using cleaners with a sealer refresher will prevent bacteria from reaching into the porous areas of the stone.
Change Air Filters
Another important way to improve indoor air quality is to change the furnace filter at regular intervals, and especially after winter months. This will prevent dust and dirt from being distributed around the house. In addition, wiping down air ducts and air vents helps decrease exposure to airborne allergens.