Spring Cleaning – Living Areas

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Spring Cleaning

Have you started your Spring Cleaning yet?  Because we don’t have four seasons in South Florida only the calendar says it is Spring. We are about halfway through the dry season.  But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do that annual deep clean.

History of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning comes from a time when we relied more on wood, oil and coal burning sources for heat.  By the end of winter, after a home had been closed up for months in an effort to keep it warm the air was stuffy and most surfaces had accumulated ash and soot.  Warmer days meant a time to open the windows and doors and scrub away soot, ash, and dust.

You might not have a house full of ash and soot, but if you haven’t done a deep cleaning in awhile, there is no time like the present!  Don’t let the thought of a good Spring clean stop you before you get started.  While the idea is to clean every surface, that doesn’t mean you have to tackle the whole house at once.

For example, when I start a big cleaning job I break it down into rooms and tell myself I only need to do a few rooms at a time.  I generally start with the formal living and dining room and toss in a hallway or half-bath because these rooms are not filled with loads of “stuff” and I can finish them with minimal effort and get a feeling of accomplishment.

Develop a Spring Cleaning Strategy

It helps to have a plan of attack and assemble your cleaning supplies in advance.  I started last weekend and was able to accomplish quite a bit in just a few hours.  I always start at the top and work to the bottom.  This means first knocking down any cobwebs in those corners where the walls and ceilings meet before I clean the walls. Yes, that is right…I clean my walls at least once a year if not more often.

Because I have a Miele vacuum cleaner with an adjustable wand I have no problem reaching up the length of the wall to the 10′ ceiling.  I just put the smooth floor brush on the wand, fully extend it then start at the top and vacuum down.  If you have washable curtains of slip covers, this is a great time to get them in the wash.  I washed mine last week with a little De-Mite laundry additive to get rid of any dust mites that might have collected there.

Next tackle the woodwork. If you have crown molding, start there then work down to any chair rail and lastly baseboards.  Give all the furniture a good dusting and if knickknacks are washable, take them to the kitchen sink and give them a good washing.  Otherwise, dust with a damp cloth.  This is a great time to treat your upholstered furniture with a denaturing agent like ADMS Dust Mite Spray. After you vacuum the cushions and give them a flip, just spray lightly.

Finally clean the floors.  I used my Vapamore steam cleaner to clean my tile floors.  It does such a fantastic job of cleaning and brings out the natural shine in the tile.  I do confess that I covet the new Primo model.  I have the old style MR100 and I have to keep a towel handy to purge and it doesn’t have the nifty retractable cord.  I would say that when mine is ready for replacement I will get the Primo, but unfortunately I know that my steam cleaner is like my Miele vacuum cleaner and is so well made it won’t need replacing for many years to come.  If you have sealed wood or laminate floors, you can steam clean them as well.

If you have carpet, vacuum thoroughly, including the little cracks by the baseboard and then treat with X-Mite Powder or ADMS Dust Mite Spray.  If you use the X-Mite Powder, be sure to sweep it in thoroughly and then go on to cleaning the next room.  X-Mite needs to sit on the carpet for 3 hours to work properly.  If you are using the ADMS Spray, just lightly spray after you vacuum and call the room done.

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about the windows.  That is because I don’t try to Spring Clean inside and outside at the same time.  I used to clean windows when I cleaned a room, but I found that gathering the extra supplies and running in and out just seemed to make the process last longer.  Now I clean all the windows in one fell swoop.  That is usually after I have the majority of the home deep cleaned or I can sweet talk my dear husband into doing it for me.

I also find it helps to set a time limit.  For example, I will tell myself I am going to deep clean “insert name of room/rooms” and I am going to have it done in “x hours”.

Otherwise I will make myself crazy and a 2 to 3 hour project will consume 6 or 7 hours.

If you have Spring cleaning tips, I’d love to hear them….just post your comments.
Til Next Time!

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Cockroach Allergy is for Real

We’re wrapping up this month’s discussion of annoying pests with the venerable cockroach. Have you ever heard of cockroach allergy? cockroach by japanachaiJust like dust mites, people can be allergic to cockroaches and they are a main source of allergens in densely populated areas. Twenty-three to sixty percent of urban residents with asthma test as sensitive to the cockroach allergen.

Cockroach allergy was first reported in 1943. Skin rashes appeared immediately after the insects crawled over patients’ skin. How gross is that? The first allergy skin challenge test to confirm cockroach allergy in a patient was in 1959.

How do Cockroaches Cause Allergy?

roach crawling downJust like dust mites, cockroaches contain proteins in their bodies that are easily misidentified by the immune system as an enemy invader. When you inhale this protein, your body thinks it is a germ and kicks your immune system into high gear.

The bad news is that when cockroaches die, they create in the environment even more of the allergy causing protein. That’s because the protein is released as their wicked cockroach bodies break down and crumble.

Cockroach Allergy Symptomsroach crawling up

Cockroach allergy symptoms can be similar to dust mite allergy symptoms, except they don’t only occur and night and in the morning. Coughing, wheezing, skin rash, and a runny nose can all be symptoms of cockroach allergy. As stated earlier, cockroach allergy frequently contributes to asthma.

Control the Cockroaches!

roach crawling downThe best way to control your cockroach allergy is to control the cockroaches. Integrated pest management practices will reduce cockroach populations with the least amount of poison. In addition, The American College of Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology suggests that you:

  • Keep food and garbage in containers with tight lids. Never leave food out anywhere.
  • Clean up food crumbs and spilled liquids immediately.
  • Wash dirty dishes right away, never leave them out.
  • Don’t leave out pet food, except when the pet is eating.
  • Keep counters, sinks, stove, tables, and floors clean and clear of clutter.
  • Clean the kitchen floor after meals. Mop the floor at least once a week.
  • Repair leaky faucets, drain pipes, and other moisture problems.
  • Get rid of cardboard boxes and newspapers, where cockroaches may hide.
  • Plug up small spaces around the house, such as cracks between the wall and floor, where cockroaches can enter.

Control the Allergens

allergen wash removes cockroach allergyIf you find that cockroaches have invaded, once you get the invasion under control you can attack the allergens they left behind. Almost every product that we sell that controls dust mite allergen will work on cockroach allergen as well. This means that if you find cockroaches in a box of stored clothing, you can wash the clothing with Allergen Wash and the cockroach allergen will be washed away.

If you have had cockroaches crawling on your floors or furniture, you ADMS Anti Allergen Spray removes cockroach allergycan lightly spray with ADMS Anti Allergen Spray. It will safely denature the cockroach protein and is safe for your furniture and fabric surfaces. All it takes is a light mist. If you have had a serious cockroach invasion, you might need to make two treatments.

Unfortunately cockroaches are probably here to stay. In the end, it will probably just be sharks, cockroaches, and dust mites roaming the planet and seas. Until then, if you think you are allergic to cockroaches, talk to your doctor about it. They can perform skin or blood tests and suggest medications to get symptoms under control until you can control the little buggers.

Til Next Time!

Cheryl

cockroaches courtesy japanachai@freedigitalphotos

 

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Have You Heard the News About Sick Bed Syndrome?

The Allergy Store has been telling people for years about the health problems associated with dust mites.  Turns out there might be more to worry about in your mattress, pillows, and bed linens than just dust mites.

What is Sick Bed Syndrome?

Dr. Lisa Ackerly, home health hygienist, described Sick Bed Syndrome to the Daily Mail  as a condition where the bed becomes a breeding

sick bed syndrome attacks while you sleep
Dust Mites in Your Bed?

ground not only for dust mites, but disease causing bacteria and viruses.

She explains  because people spend a lot of time in their beds, with many choosing to sleep naked, mattresses can become a breeding ground for micro-organisms, that trigger a range of nasty illnesses.   You can read the entire article about Sick Bed Syndrome here.

Raw Facts on Sleeping in the Nude

bacteria, viruses, mold, dust mites contribute to sick bed syndromeEven though it is common, sleeping in the nude can spread disease.  Dr. Ackerly explains that if you are carrying norovirus with no symptoms and sleeping in the nude, you are contaminating your linens with a virus that will survive regular washing.   That means you can continue to contaminate you and loved ones again and again and again.

Salmonella (food poisoning) can also be shed onto the bed sheets if you sleep in the nude.

As it is, we shed skin cells constantly in our bed, by sleeping in the nude more of those cells make to our sheets, mattresses and pillows than if they were captured by nightclothes.

Combating Sick Bed Syndrome

Hopefully you are not reading about this in bed at 3 am. If you are, we’ve probably ruined any chance you had of getting a good night’s sleep.  Sorry.  But there are some practical things you can do to combat sick bed syndrome.

Lower Humidity.  Lower the humidity and lower the molds and dust mites in your bedroom.

Vacuum Frequently.  Dr. Ackerly recommends frequent “hoovering” (you have to love those British terms) of the bedroom.  To those of us in the US, that means to vacuum often.  She also recommends that you have a hard surface floor in the bedroom.

Disinfect Linens.  Frequent hot water washing is recommended. combat sick bed syndrome with vital oxideSheets, pillow cases, and blankets should be removed from the bed and laundered in 140°F water.  To combat bacteria and viruses, add Vital Oxide disinfecting agent to the wash.  If you are allergic to dust mites, De-Mite Laundry Additive will get rid of the little buggers in cold or warm water.

Do a Separate Load.  Wash bed linens separately to prevent transfer of any contamination from linens to clothing.  she recommends that if you send your linens out to a commercial laundry, that you inquire about the use of disinfecting agents and the temperature of the water they use for washing. Some companies wash with cooler water to reduce risk of damaging fabrics.

Protect your Bed.  Use zippered mattress covers to zip up your get your allergy zippered mattress covers protect against sick bed syndromemattress and keep out dust mites, molds, and pollen.  Zippered pillow covers are also available to protect your pillows.

Expose Duvets.  Dr. Ackerly also recommends that you “air” out your duvets on a regular basis.  By exposing them to sunlight, you reduce moisture (see step 1) making them much healthier for sleeping.  If you don’t have the “alpine” air she mentions, you can still hang outside on a sunny day.

Sick bed syndrome can be avoided and the bonus is that many of the same steps that you take to prevent sick bed syndrome will also help you relieve your allergy symptoms.  Now there is some allergy news to cheer about.

Til Next Time

Cheryl

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