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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Tips for Alleviating Allergies Indoors

Mar 29, 2013 07:48PM ● By Randy Atkinson

Cleaning carpets, upholstery, mattresses and pillows more often can help prevent, alleviate and possible eliminate a number of conditions.

Consider this information from these leading sources. The American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that most people spend 60 to 90 percent of their time indoors. The average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dust each year, according to Discover magazine. The American College of Allergists has determined that 20 percent of all illnesses are either caused by or aggravated by polluted indoor air. The EPA also warns that the level of some hazardous pollutants in indoor air has been found to be up to 70 times greater than in outdoor air.

In our homes the carpet does a good job of acting as a filter, trapping damaging air pollutants such as pollen, fungi, chemicals, bacteria, cigarette smoke, tars and residues. Once the carpet gets “full,” however, it no longer traps or holds these air pollutants, and they can be released into the air, and those that are trapped deep down can only be removed with regular professional carpet cleaning.

Here are a few simple things that make a big difference.

A good air purifier. Indoor air can be kept much healthier with a good air purifier. Just keep in mind that they are not all the same, and you get what you pay for.

Hepa filters. Hepa filters in vacuum cleaners are a step above many vacuum cleaners, and they can be expensive, but they also make a big difference in air and fabric cleanliness.

Laundry and other cleaning products. Pay attention to what you wash with. Many people are allergic to their laundry detergent, carpet shampoos, fabric softeners and dryer tissues, especially if they have perfumes or dyes.

Body care products. The same is true for hair shampoos; they should be natural and gentle, with no perfumes, dyes or other harmful additives. Read the labels. Regular shampooing, with non-allergic shampoo, will also help with pollens that get caught in the hair and transfer to the pillow cases. Changing pillow cases more often can be a bit tedious but it can also help. But putting a fresh cover over your pillow is not as good as having a pillow that can be washed.

Pillows. A good pillow that can be washed in hot water is important. Dust mites live in a single pillow by the millions, eating dead skin and hair. Dust mites are a major cause of asthma and allergies, especially in vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly.

Clean well. Vacuuming mattresses, upholstery and drapes will help some, but a deep cleaning, disinfectant and hot water are needed to kill mites.

Implementing even one of these strategies can help tremendously.

Randy Atkinson is owner of CleanTastic Solutions, 2935 Polk St. NE, Minneapolis. He specializes in cleaning carpets, upholstery and ducts using safe and environmentally friendly methods. For more information, call 952-486-0432, email [email protected] or visit

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