It’s a pleasant Saturday morning. The weather’s tolerable. It’s the warmest day we’ve seen in weeks and most people have jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house for a few hours. But Amber* is not most people.
Instead of having a good time like many other Londoners, she’s reaching for her inhaler for the second time today. Like an estimated 8,3% of the UK population, Amber suffers from asthma. And Saturday is her cleaning day.
Cleaning is always a chore, but asthma takes it to a whole new level. Using the wrong cleaning supplies or even the wrong tools can trigger an attack. At the same time, you need to keep your home as clean as possible so you can avoid severe symptoms.
In a way, cleaning with asthma is a balancing act that’s hard to pull off. But we’re here to help.
In this article:
Cleaning can worsen indoor air quality. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, depending on the tools and techniques you use, you can actually exacerbate your asthma by cleaning.
Feather dusters are one of the icons of domestic cleaning. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more useless contraption. When you use a feather duster, all you do is shuffle dust (and allergens) around. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, you should avoid feather dusters like you’re allergic to them (because you are).
“Okay,” I hear you say. “But sure vacuum cleaners are safe, right?” Au contraire, my dear reader. Many vacuum cleaners don’t properly filter out dust particles so there’s a non-trivial amount of dust that gets spit out every time you vacuum. Unless your vacuum cleaner is specifically equipped with a dust filter, perhaps it’s a good idea to leave the vacuuming to someone else.
Finally, we have cleaning products. Most cleaning products can cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Strong scents and chemicals invite irritation and shortness of breath. Even products that remove allergens and asthma triggers can still cause you to have a reaction.
In case you’re having trouble with any of this, it’s best to leave the cleaning to someone else. Afterward, your home should be well-aired. If you find yourself experiencing asthma symptoms after cleaning, then something in the cleaning routine needs to change.
Here are some cleaning tips that can help alleviate your cleaning-related asthma symptoms (or those of a family member).
There are a ton of benefits to decluttering your home. Less clutter means fewer places where dust and allergens can gather. Do not underestimate how much clutter is contributing to your asthma symptoms.
Excessive moisture usually results in mould. And mould is hazardous in more than one way, even if you don’t have asthma. Lucky for you, there are several ways you can deal with mould and even address unpleasant damp smells.
There are many natural cleaning products that can rival fancy chemicals without breaking a sweat. In fact, some of these cleaning products are so potent, you need to dilute them. And then best part? Odds are you already have them in your kitchen.
Note: Many people don’t like the smell of vinegar which is why they avoid using it as a cleaner. But you can make your own natural scented vinegar at home (skip the part about essential oils).
There’s more than one way a carpet can take your breath away. Your beloved floor coverings trap all sorts of dust, dirt, germs, and allergens that irritate your lungs all the time.
Vacuuming, as we’ve already established, is not enough to address this issue. However, hot water extraction has been shown to reduce allergen levels in carpets. Having your carpet professionally cleaned a few times a year will help you reach for the inhaler less.
If you’re going to stick with chemicals, then at least stay away from sprays. Most spray cleaners will irritate your asthma. Switching to gels or liquids will limit your exposure to aerosols which will, in turn, reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Note: This doesn’t mean just any old gel or liquid will do. These are still chemicals we’re talking about, so make sure you look for hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaners. Preferably with no scent. You may need to do a bit of research to find cleaning products that trigger your symptoms less.
If you suffer from asthma (like Amber), then cleaning is more than a chore for you. However, there are ways you can reduce the severity of your cleaning triggers, if not remove them completely.
Using natural cleaning products instead of store-bought chemicals is a great way to keep your asthma in check. Decluttering your home and reducing excess moisture is a must if you want to create a more healthy environment at home.
Finally, there’s no shame in getting help. Amber uses our one-off deep cleaning service from time to time. You can easily follow her example. Take care.
Disclaimer: Samyx Cleaning is a cleaning company and this is a cleaning blog. None of the advice above should be interpreted as medical advice. If you have any medical problems, make an appointment with your general physician or another health specialist.
*Name changed for the sake of anonymity
Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.