Cleaning for Allergies

Many of the things which prompt or sustain an allergy attack can be hidden in plain sight: particles from dust, cockroaches, mold, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander. They can also be triggered by vapors from cleaning products, paint, cooking oil, second-hand smoke, and fireplaces.

The truth is, your home is where you hope to have a respite from the glorious golden pollen which seems to be falling from every tree and bush in the Metro Phoenix area right now. But, the comforts of home could actually be exacerbating an allergy sufferer’s problem.

 This dust wants to visit you in your home.

This dust wants to visit you in your home.

Because if this, people with allergies oftentimes need a housecleaner. Allergens can be kicked up into the air during the cleaning process, since cleaning stirs up the very dust, dander, mold, or other particulate matter which is removed during the elimination process. In addition, cleaning products, themselves are often the culprits: even cleaning with non-toxic products could exacerbate an allergy condition due to their misting properties and perfumes.

There are so many places a house can hide allergens that entire professions are dedicated to finding and eradicating them, but here are some of the more common allergens and where they hide:

Mold and mildew

Early detection and prevention is the key to eliminating mold and mildew in the bath. While most people find mold unsightly, for an allergy sufferer, mold can be a biohazard.

Pet dander

Pet dander not only collects in places where pets play and sleep, but it also collects ubiquitously throughout the home because it clings to fabrics and it floats. 

Dust and pollen

The only thing which will get allergens out of the air is a high-quality air purifier. Whether the allergy sufferer chooses to sleep with one in the room or try a whole-house model is an individual preference.
 
Hiding places:

In addition to mold in bathrooms, there are other places where allergens make their home. Not only does dust collect on surfaces, but it finds it’s way into every niche and crevice of the home.

 Superbloom. By Cdallen915 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57335138

Superbloom. By Cdallen915 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57335138

‘Dust bunnies’ can often be found in hidden places such as under the bed, behind sofas and chairs, and other large furniture items. This is the reason deep cleaning is such an important part of the process in dealing with the causes of an allergy sufferer's symptoms. 

Carpets

Carpets can be vacuumed with a unit which has a HEPA filter to prevent dust from going airborne during the cleaning process. Carpets need to be periodically shampooed but it should be done with 

Linens

As we said earlier, pet dander clings to fabric. But, allergens in general collect in sheets, towels, and area rugs. These can be washed and dried, but drying should be done in the dryer to prevent more pollen and dust to collect on them. Scented soaps and dryer sheets should be avoided.

Sometimes, families don't have the extra funds to have a housecleaning service come every week or two. Realistically, having a professional visit periodically for a deep cleaning will help an allergy situation enormously, even if it isn't a regularly scheduled event. A deep cleaning might alleviate many allergies symptoms. So, if you suffer from allergies, give us a call or schedule a visit. You'll be glad you did!

Refrigerator Romance--Just Add Wine

Looming large in the kitchen, at the very heart of our home, is the refrigerator. No single appliance gets more of our attention than the fridge. But in the course of being constantly filled and emptied, opened and closed, and home to all forms of food, a refrigerator can get, well, nasty.

Relationships are about give and take. Your refrigerator gives a lot to you and your family. To keep it happy, sometimes you have to give back. If you don't have the time or inclination, many cleaning services offer refrigerator cleaning as an additional project during the cleaning process. 

 If you don't want to clean your own refrigerator, click  here . 

If you don't want to clean your own refrigerator, click here

How old is too old?

A decent refrigerator should last about ten years. Want to get more out of it? We have some tips that might keep your fridge at optimum health:

  • Keep the top cleared so it doesn’t heat up
  • Clean the coils about twice a year (or more if you have pets) with a coil brush and a vacuum or an air compressor. Make sure the fridge is turned off when you do this.
  • Don’t allow it to live in a warm place, such as the back porch or garage.
  • If you empty it for any reason, such as a family vacation, leave several gallon sized water bottles in it to keep it from having to ‘cool air’.

How cold is too cold?

A refrigerator should be between 32-40 degrees F. A freezer must be below 32 degrees. Freezer burn is not your friend, but it won’t ruin food’s safety, only its quality.

Cleaning is also important, so give your fridge a little love scrub now and then:

Cleaning the Freezer

You don’t have to let food sit in the freezer until you don’t want it anymore or until it gets freezer burn. Be brave! Throw it out. Then wipe out the sides and bottom with a gentle cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and hot water from a spray bottle. Use a sponge or an old rag to wipe it out, and clean the gasket all the way around and check it for spots that are going bad (the corners especially).

 If the power goes out, don't open the refrigerator or freezer doors.

If the power goes out, don't open the refrigerator or freezer doors.

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Don’t forget to start eating food in the week or so leading up to the cleaning so you’ll be low on food before you clean it. All of the bins, shelves, etc. can be removed and washed with hot soapy water and then dried. It might be easier to take them out to do this. Then use a wet rag to wipe down the door, inside and out. A toothbrush can help clean the gasket seal and small crevices.

A word on moldy food

A few more words on dealing with a moldy seal (fridge or freezer)


If you don’t have an automatic ice dispenser, feel free to buy an ice scoop so everyone in the home doesn’t have their questionably clean hands on the ice while trying to refill their glass. 

 Celebrate a job well done!

Celebrate a job well done!

During a power outage, keep the doors to the refrigerator and freezer closed. Remember those seals you maintained so diligently? This is when they pay off! The food in your refrigerator will stay cool for up to four hours. If the temperature reads below 40 degrees when the power is restored, the food is safe. If it’s been at or above 40 degrees for more than two hours, throw it out.

The food in the freezer will keep for up to 48 hours. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it’s safe to eat.

We know that sometimes families get busy and the refrigerator gets a little neglected. This is normal. But a little bit of attention now and then will give you a long and happy union with your refrigerator.

Don't forget the wine.