Saturday, July 17, 2010

healthy bedroom: 6 tips to reduce allergens in your bedroom

We spend close to 8 hours in our bedrooms. It is supposed to be a soothing and rejuvenating place for our hardworking minds and bodies. Yet many bedrooms are the causes of our allergies and some serious health problems. Here are 6 ways to minimize the causes of allergies in your bedroom:

1. Reduce dust: One of the easiest and least expensive way you can minimize allergies is by de-cluttering. Clutter traps dust and makes cleaning an unpleasant chore.
Get rid of piles of paper (they are also a fire hazard!), reduce the number of furnishings and accessories  in your bedroom. Make sure your vacuum can reach under all furniture.
Hard flooring surfaces are ideal. Good bamboo or linoleum (not vinyl) are easily mopped.
Cotton washable rugs are preferred to other rugs. But if you must have carpet, pick one with tightly woven pile and vacuum often. Avoid detailed architectural moulding and wall art that can trap dust.
(if removing architectural moulding is not an option you can build a box around them. Otherwise, make sure your weekly cleaning includes these.)
Clean air and ventilation filters or replace them frequently. Opt for higher quality filters.

2. Reduce chemical off-gasing: VOCs (Volatie Organic Compunds) are found in many home improvement products including paint and stains. Manufacturers have recently produced great quality paints and stains with zero or low VOC. You could paint your walls using 0 or low VOC paint to seal the old paint. Minimize items with stain or make sure the stain is zero VOC with new furniture or hard wood flooring.

3. Avoid synthetic fibers on your bed: Use cotton sheets. If natural latex mattress is not an option, get dust-mite covers for all your bedding.

4. Increase Ventilation:  It is very important to have fresh air in any room.  If you are not allergic to pollen open your windows early in the morning and early evening. Otherwise, mechanical ventilation should be utilized daily to prevent moisture buildup. Moisture buildup will cause mold.

5. Black mold hunt: If you get condensation on your windows, you may be at risk for having mold.  Look for black mold behind drapes, closet interior walls, and around the window sills. It may look like round penny size spots or black dust. If you find mold do not blow it in the air. Do not use a spary cleaner as it will blow the mold in the air. Make a simple solution of water, vinegar and a drop of soap. Protect your nose and mouth. Wear rubber gloves. Wipe the mold clean with a sponge soaked in the solution.

6. Cleaning agents: Most household cleaners contain irritants and chemicals. Use natural cleaning products free of chemicals. There are many safe and multi-purpose cleaners such as Nature’s Source,  Seventh Generation or Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Oil soap, on the market. Remember to read the label. Just because it says "Green" or "Natural" it may not be safe.

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