Having allergies can be very unpleasant and difficult. But having a child with allergies can be heartbreaking. Knowing that your most precious creature is in pain and you can’t do anything to make it stop, is the greatest challenge for most parents. Commercial cleaning detergents we often use in our homes can make things even worse, because they can irritate allergies or cause allergy-like symptoms in some children. This is why we must be very careful and cautious when we take care of the hygiene inside the house. Even though cleaning is considered to reduce the allergens in the home, it’s also very important how you do it. Here are some cleaning and maintenance tips, which will be of help to parents of allergic children.
Symptoms of allergy irritation: The sad truth is, that it’s difficult to foresee if your child will get an allergic reaction from the cleaning detergents you buy. So, you need to monitor the situation very closely after each home cleaning, and if you notice any negative changes in the health of your child, you must throw away the cleaning product immediately. Some symptoms to look out for are: skin rashes, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, congestion, asthma attacks and other similar reactions.
Cleaning products to avoid: This list includes almost everything sold commonly in stores, unfortunately. Even products which advertise being made from natural ingredients, still contain lots of added chemicals, which can cause irritation in your allergic child. Some of the chemical ingredients you need to avoid are: ammonia, formaldehyde, sodium sulphate, sodium hypochlorite and D-limonene. These harmful chemicals are found in many cleaning products, including various disinfectants, dish soaps, laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, oven and glass cleaners, and more. Always read the labels of the products you buy, it will save you lots of trouble.
Natural products for home cleaning: Non-toxic cleaning products are the best alternative when you have kids with allergies at home. The “green” cleaning products sold in stores might do the trick, but you should read the labels carefully, because they can still contain irritating substances, like ammonia for instance, which is considered a natural product, but can still cause allergic reactions. Making your own cleaning products is the safest option. Basically, baking soda and white vinegar in the right proportions can clean almost everything around the house. The mixture is colourless, odourless, and strong enough to remove even old, dried stains. Adding things like lemon juice, salt, cornstarch, olive oil and water will help you disinfect the entire house without any danger to your kids.
How to reduce allergens at home: There is no way to fully remove the allergens from your home, but there are a few things you can try to limit them. The regular cleaning is one of them, because it helps reduce allergens like mould, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, cockroach droppings, and many other. Some cleaning tasks you’ll need to incorporate in your regular schedule include:
Regular washing of rugs and blankets – at least once a month;
Washing the bed linen in hot water at least once a week;
Keeping all the counters and surfaces clean and dry on a daily basis;
Reducing all cluttered spaces, because they collect a lot of dust;
Storing food in sealed hypoallergenic containers and never leaving food to lay around;
Vacuuming carpeted surfaces daily, preferably using a HEPA filter vacuum.
If you decide to make your own cleaning products, which won’t cause kids allergies, here are some examples you can try:
All-purpose cleaner: Mix 2 cups of warm water with 2 cups of white vinegar. The solution is perfect for most kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Just don’t use it on marble or hardwood, because the vinegar can eat through them. If you’re not certain the cleaner will be safe for the surface, you can test it on some invisible corner.
Floor cleaner: Add around half a cup of vinegar to a bucket of water – it’s perfect for cleaning tile floors. For wooden floors you can try adding a cup of olive oil and half a cup of lemon juice to a bucket of hot water. The lemon juice has great disinfecting properties.
Mould cleaner: The only thing you need is plain white vinegar and a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar on the affected area, wait for at least 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly and let dry. Scrub a little and repeat the process if needed.
Oven cleaner: Baking soda and steel wool are perfect for removing stubborn spills. Just spread the baking soda and scrub off the dirt. Another allergy-free and easy option, is to spread baking soda inside the oven, spray it with white vinegar, and leave it overnight. In the morning just wipe the oven clean.
Laundry detergent: Get 6 cups of washing or baking soda, 3 bars of hypoallergenic soap and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Grate the soap bars and mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend the ingredients until you get a fine powder and pour it into a clean container. Use 2-3 tablespoons for each load.
Dishwasher detergent: Mix 1 ½ cups of washing soda, 1 ½ cups of citric acid, ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of sea salt. Use 1 tablespoon per load.
Enjoy your allergy-free home!
Jane Wilson is a mother, a blogger and a business manager from Melbourne. She manages the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners, which is a cleaning company, that provides all kinds of cleaning services to homes and businesses in the area. She also has her own personal blog called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of nifty tips on home improvement, gardening, and a lot more.