Pardon the rhyme, it just hit me, and it sounded better than “don’t sneezy” or something else just as cheesy. On a more serious note, sneezing a lot is typically a sign of something else going on. Something respiratory. Something affecting breathing. And breathing is key to our health and well-being. Sneezing, congestion, difficulty breathing, and headaches may be coming from the stuff you are breathing in. Many of us experience these symptoms and just write them off to “allergies.” Or chemical sensitivities. Please get checked out by a medical professional. There may be something bigger going on.
It may also be your environment contributing to your symptoms. It’s a bummer to think that our own homes may be contributing to our sneezing and wheezing, yet it just may be. There are a few easy things you can do to improve your air quality and hopefully sneeze a bit less. How you clean your home is a great place to start. And not just the products you choose, but the actual process of cleaning.
Cleaning Your Home or Space
Properly vacuuming and keeping up with dust can go a long way toward controlling the harmful contaminates you are exposed to. It is also important to make sure to give pets baths on a regular basis to minimize exposure to dander. Most people don’t realize how difficult the microscopic dead skin cells that make up pet dander are to remove from upholstery and carpet.
Despite your best efforts, dust always seems to show back up. A big part of the dust in a home is dead skin cells from both humans and pets. (I know, it sounds gross, but its just a reality of life.) Dust tends to accumulate faster during the winter months, because we spend a lot more time in our homes. Add to this the fact that winter also means lower humidity that dries out our skin faster, and before you know it, you can write your name on any flat surface in no time.
The amount of dust in your home has a major impact on the quality of the air for you and your family. And if dusting is not done correctly, you may actually make it worse rather than better.
The Problems With Traditional Dusting Methods
Traditional methods of cleaning, such as dusting spray and feather dusters actually can lead to more dust and more work for you. Using aerosol dusting sprays that promise a shiny, protected surface often leave an oily film behind. While this may make the wood and other surfaces in your home appear to be clean, this film will attract dust. When this happens, guess what? You have to work harder to remove the dust next time and can also cause dirt to become trapped between layers of oily film. In addition, the film makes it easier for little (and big) hands to leave finger prints and smears.
Feather dusters are another traditional dusting method. While they are “dusting” they also cause the dust to become airborne. When dust goes into the air, it can take up to 8 hours for it to settle 6 feet to the ground or other surfaces. In the meanwhile, you and your family are breathing that suspended dust. Yuck! Additionally, when it does finally settle, you are right back where you started, with a dusty home.
The Correct Methods For Dusting Your Home
By far, the best methods for dusting your home focus on removing the dust.
Vacuum cleaners are the most effective method of removing dust from your home. Carpeting is the biggest air filter in your home, collecting all of the settling dust. But when it comes to above the floor dust, if your vacuum cleaner has an attachment wand, use it where ever possible to remove as much dust as you can. Just make sure you replace the vacuums filters as needed and keep it cleaned out. This keeps the vacuumed dust from being returned to the air.
When vacuuming isn’t an option, microfiber cleaning tools are very effective at grabbing dust and holding on to it. Microfiber works so well because of the way it is made. Constructed of synthetic fibers that contain little chambers that hold the dirt, rather than push it along, it makes it possible to control and remove the microscopic particles. Microfiber works really well dry but to make it even more effective, you can mist small amount of water directly onto the microfiber itself. By using a minimal amount of regular tap water, you will be surprised at how well it removes dust. The best part is that most microfiber cleaning tools are washable. This means you save waste and money!
Don’t Forget To Dust These
Light Fixtures and Bulbs – Light bulbs will last a lot longer when dusted regularly.
Vent Covers – both the supply and air intake HVAC vents collect a lot of dust. The exhaust fan vents in your bathrooms will benefit from a dusting too!
Furniture Structures and Supports – Reclining chairs and pull-out sofas have lots of hardware under them where dust settles. Every once in a while, ask someone to help flip them over and wipe down the supports and mechanisms.
Inside Cabinets and Closets– dust loves to hide inside cabinets and closets! Once or twice a year, take the extra time to take everything out of cabinets and closets and give them a thorough cleaning.
Blinds and Other Window Treatments – There are several microfiber cleaning tools on the market that make cleaning blinds much easier. My favorite is one that looks like a big fork covered in fluffy microfiber cloth. It works great on my blinds. Curtains and other window treatments may be able to be vacuumed or shaken out – check manufacturers’ recommendations.
Ceiling Fans – It is always surprising to me the amount of dust that ceiling fans collect even when they run regularly! (It seems crazy that they apparently can pull that dust right out of the air.) Climb up (carefully please) a ladder and wipe them down or use an extender handle with a microfiber duster head.
Improving the air quality in your home by controlling dust provides a much more comfortable and healthier environment for your family. Just a few simple steps to shake up your year-round dusting methods will help you enjoy your home that much more.To learn more about ways you can breathe better in your home, read more and listen to the podcast Breathe Well
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Thank you and have a great day.