It’s been called the “pollen vortex.” Tree pollen counts have been exasperated as a result of this winter’s polar vortex. That means an amped up spring cleaning session is in order.
Heightened pollen counts mean an uncomfortable allergy season. If you suffer from allergies, spring cleaning is a must. Healthy space designer Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home, also an ambassador to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, has tips for taking spring cleaning to the next level.
1. Replace your shower curtain.
According to Robin Wilson, you should replace your vinyl shower curtain with a nylon curtain. Not only do vinyl curtains off gas BPA, an endocrine disruptor and carcinogen, they also collect mold, which is a main cause of allergies. Additionally, use non-toxic cleaners like vinegar and water because bleach and ammonia can cause asthma.
2. Make sure your pillows are clean.
Wash your pillow case once a week and your pillow protector once a month. Replace your pillows every three years.
3. Use non-VOC paints.
You can hardly tell the difference when it’s on the wall, and non-VOC paints are also pretty easy to find. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, which can cause allergies as well as other short and long term health problems. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
4. Replace wall-to-wall carpeting.
Although this may seem like an investment, installing hardwood floors isn’t as expensive as you might think. This is especially true if you do it yourself. You can install hardwood bamboo floors, a sustainable material, for as little as $3 per foot. Carpeting gathers dust and causes allergies. Hardwoods are a much better choice but they still need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Each spring, remove all furniture and mop or steam clean the floor.
5. Eliminate dirt and mold.
Check for mold in dishwashers, under the fridge in the water pan, and throughout the bathroom.
6. Wash toys.
This is true of kid’s toys and pet toys. Wash and freeze the toys to get rid of dust mites. You never know what can gather on your child’s favorite teddy bear.
7. Consider slipcovers.
Slipcovers have gotten a bad wrap, but they’ve come a long way. Slipcovers can also be washed regularly, unlike upholstered furniture. While you’re at it, limit the use of drapes, better known as “dust catchers..
Related on EcoSalon
Image: Ann Gordon