Home & Garden

Home checklist: Fight sneezes while spring cleaning

Feeling sneezy? You’re not alone. As well as flowers, spring brings out the allergies.

This also is spring cleaning season. While sprucing up your home, you can combat some of the “wheezes and sneezes” by keeping an eye out for some of the culprits that prompt allergies.

Home expert and “healthy space” designer Robin Wilson, creator of a line of hypoallergenic bedding products at Bed, Bath & Beyond, came up with these spring cleaning tips while working with the The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:

• In the bathroom, get rid of the vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and also releases chemicals into the air. Use a nylon curtain instead. Use non-toxic cleaners. Always lower the toilet seat when flushing to ensure that spraying particles don’t land outside the toilet.

• For bedding, wash your pillow case once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and replace pillows every three years. Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover; wash every two months. Make sure that it is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.

• Use non-VOC paints. The start of spring is a great time to paint a room. Use non-VOC paints in your home that won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up asthma or allergies, Wilson said.

• Get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice for allergy sufferers, Wilson said, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each spring, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floor.

• Check for mold in dishwashers, under the fridge in the water pan and in sink and bath drains. Change water dispenser and ice-maker filters.

• Wash or freeze stuffed toys. That will kill dust mites in your child’s favorite playthings.

• Consider using slipcovers on upholstered sofas. Slipcovers can be washed regularly and have come a long way from slipcovers of 10 years ago, Wilson noted. Limit the use of drapes; they’re “dust catchers.”

For more ideas from Wilson including her allergy fighting eco-friendly tips, click on www.RobinWilsonHome.com.

– Debbie Arrington