Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are you Allergic to your Clutter?

Clutter can be much more than just piles of unmade decisions, it can also be a breeding ground for allergy irritants in your home. In fact you might be surprised to find out about all of the unwelcome germs and    irritating guests in each room of your home.  We are going to focus on the two most common today:  Dust Mites and Mold.

Dust Mites:  Dust mites are nasty little bugs that thrive on what else... our dust.  Despite their microscopic size... they can cause big time misery for those that are allergic to them.  Irritating nasal passages and leading to sneezing, runny nose, and constant congestion.  How can you banish them from your home?
  1. Dust regularly with an electrostatic duster on all flat surfaces.  (Move the piles and stacks to get under them.... better yet... declutter and remove the piles and stacks for good.)
  2. Vacuum on a regular basis! (In our home my oldest son was very allergic to dust mites so we tore old carpet out and put down hardwood floors.)
  3. Wrap your mattresses and pillows in a allergy resistant cover that will protect from Dust Mites.  
  4. Plan to regularly clean items in kids room like stuffed animals that are a haven for dust mites.  To kill them put all the stuffed animals in a large garbage sack, tie it closed, and then put it in the freezer for a few hours.  
  5. We spend 1/3 of our lives in bed... so change sheets regularly. 
  6. When organizing be careful of wicker... it can collect hard to clean dust and become a hot spot for dust mites.  Instead use furniture, cabinets, or plastic that closes. 
  7. Be aware of hard to clean fabrics that collect dust mites like curtains, blinds, upholstery covers, upholstered head boards, etc... find a way to replace them or clean them regularly. 

Mold: Responses to exposure to mold can mimic hay fever, asthma, and allergy like reactions in your home. Here are some steps to take to rid your home of the mold:
  1. Remember that bleach is your friend!  Use a chlorine bleach solution that is 1 oz of bleach per 1 qt of water to clean bathroom surfaces each week.  Make sure to clean mold prone areas like:  bathtub corners, shower curtains, and baseboards.
  2. Remove carpeting from your bathrooms... even rugs are a BREEDING ground for mold.  Replace flooring with tile, laminate, or similar products.  Decorative rugs should be replaced with washable bathmats... that are washed ONCE a week.
  3. Repair water leaks in your home ASAP.  Dripping water and leaking faucets can lead to mold and mildew quickly. 
  4. Wallpaper can hold moisture in the bathroom... consider removing it and going with a mold resistant paint instead. 
  5. Leave your shower curtain open or your shower door open after you shower to allow that area to dry out quicker. 
  6. Houseplants can be a fertile ground for mold... take plants outside.
  7. Make sure that you are wiping kitchen counters down OFTEN with a strong disinfectant that is designed to get rid of mildew.
  8. Get Rid of the Kitchen sponge!  It is a BREEDING ground for Mold... instead use paper towels or wash clothes that are washed daily. 
  9. The drip pan under your fridge can breed mold... clean it out often.  
  10. Be sure that damp basements are well ventilated.  If you use a space like this to store things, be sure the items are not in cardboard!  Use plastic containers that seal shut and resist mold and mildew. 

Some of these things may seem simple enough... but if these tasks are complicated by clutter being in the way... it allows these allergy irritants to build up in your home and make you and your family sick.   So ask yourself... are you allergic to your clutter or is your clutter covering up unwanted guests in your home???  If so... it is time to make a change!

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