If you've been anywhere near Grand Rapids this week, you've probably noticed that the cottonwood trees are putting on quite a show for us. Pollen, dust, and other sinus-inducing allergens are filling the air and our homes. Nobody wants to deal with a runny nose or itchy eyes, so more often than not we tend to hide away indoors, not thinking about the fact that the state of our house may not leave us off any better than romping around in the sunshine.
While it's great to clean your house and your floors often during the sinus season, you might be overlooking a few things. Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Clean your vacuum, not just your floor.
First of all, we applaud those of you who have made vacuuming your floor a regular part of your daily/weekly routine. That is exactly the kind of diligence that will keep your floors in great condition. But even if you're the world's best vacuum-wielding homeowner, you can't expect any kind of sinus relief if you don't also thoroughly clean the vacuum filter. We suggest you rinse off the filter and clean the bag every other time you vacuum to avoid making your dust problems worse.
2. Vacuum, don't sweep.
At the risk of stating the obvious, we suggest avoiding brooms while cleaning if you can. You will never get all of the dust and pollen off your floors if you're just using a broom. Beyond that, you have to put your face near the very dust that you're trying to avoid in order to clean up the pile you've collected, so it's really counter-productive. Always opt for a vacuum if you can.
3. Go deeper
All floors will collect anything that has been tracked in from outside or that is hanging in the air, but carpets are especially guilty for clinging to those pesky allergens. Pet hair, dust, pollen, and just about anything else you can imagine can and will grab on to your beautiful carpets. We suggest that you make it a rule to not allow people to walk on the carpet with shoes and that you keep pets off as much as possible. Most importantly, be sure to have your carpets professionally deep cleaned at least once this season.
4. Check for mold
We know you don't want to hear it, but if you've done everything in your power to get rid of your sinuses and clean your house, you might have to go looking for mold. The tricky fungus is able to grow in the most inconspicuous places, even in the bottom of your carpet or under your vinyl flooring. If you suspect anything, call a flooring expert immediately to take care of the problem safely.
5. Take a second look at all labels
Some of the store-bought floor cleaners you can pick up from your local grocery store are phenomenal, but not every product is a winner. Some harsher products can make your allergies flare up, so it's a good idea to try a few gentler cleaners on your floor before picking a favorite.
With these tips you'll be on your way to a sinus season filled with as few sneezes as possible. Your home can once again be the safe haven from air-borne allergens that you always needed it to be.