I actually haven't tried out Filtrete Air Filters before, but it's been on my list of things to-try. In my home with a munchkin, and a mini-petting zoo, dust and clutter are our enemy. It doesn't help that we are in the middle of prime time pollen season here, and if you leave something sitting out on on the deck for just a day, it's covered in pollen. Ick! I'm almost afraid to leave the windows open when the weather is nicer for fear of what's coming inside, but I really need to air the house out. It's catch 22, unfortunately.
Here are some of the things I've learned to do to cope with allergies and asthma:
Wear a mask when dusting and cleaning whenever possible - you don't want to inhale what you're trying to get rid of! On top of dusting several times each week (I have to tell you, I am amazed at how much dust we get here. I thought it was bad growing up on a dirt road, I see far more here!), you need to make sure you are removing the dust effectively, not merely pushing it around. And don't forget to clean on top of lights and ceiling fans - I know, they are a pain to dust, but they harbor a lot of dust. :( The other place many forget? The top of the fridge!
If you have carpeting, and you are stuck with that carpeting, you need a good quality vacuum, and you need to vacuum on a daily basis. Make sure you change or clean the filter on your vacuum as directed in your user manual! It really makes a difference as to how much dirt it will pick off the ground. Use the hose attachment if you have one to vacuum on any upholstered furniture you may have on at least a monthly basis - I try to do it weekly over here.
Your bedroom is usually your worst offender, and most of us spend most of our time in there! When you are asleep, you're breathing in ick. It's of course recommended that pets stay out of your bedroom - but I'm typing this with 4 pets on the bed right now. lol We keep an extra blanket on top of our comforter to keep the pet hair off it as much as possible. This is washed every other day. (Any pet bedding really needs to be washed on a regular basis. Never purchase a pet bed that doesn't have a removable cover if you can help it!)
-Have a dust mite/allergy cover for all pillows, and wash pillow cases several times a week. Changing it out every day is actually the best, but I know most of us Moms feel like we run a laundry mat as it is. (Once you see what's on the pillowcases under a microscope though, you'll want to wash it every day. Ick!) You should wash all bedding in HOT water at least once a week - it's not kind on your electric bill, I know, but it is the only thing that kills the dust mites, which are rampant in bedding. Make sure your comforter is washed in hot water as well on a regular basis.
-Ditto your towels. They need to be washed in hot water due to everything that you are washing off your body.
We don't have curtains in our bedrooms (our windows are covered in film that doesn't allow folks to see in), but if you do, you need to make sure they are washed as well. And if you have kids with allergies, and they have a large stuff animal collection, try to keep them as far away from the bed as you can.
If you live in an area that is known for being very damp - like us here in Washington state, remember that mold can grow in areas you aren't looking. Check under sinks and along inside walls for signs of mold, and wipe down with cleaners - some use bleach, I stick to vinegar and water on our walls.
Here are some other tips that Laura Dellutri, author of The Overworked Mom’s Stress Free Home Keeping has as well:
Start at the Top: Ceiling fans, tall mantles and bookshelves, and the tops of door frames tend to subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” motto. These areas often harbor dust, so it’s important to wipe them down regularly to help remove dust buildup. Start at the top and work your way down, collecting all of the dust and dirt that falls to the floor while you’re cleaning.
Wipe Down Windows and Walls: Don't clean windows the old fashioned way – newspaper can cause ink residue and paper towels leave lint behind. Your best bet is to use microfiber cleaning cloths and a professional window squeegee to get a streak-free, spotless shine. To prevent streaks on shower doors and walls, apply lemon oil to the door twice a month. This will help repel soap scum and shampoo, while also adding a nice shine.
Think Horizontally: Dust mites are nearly everywhere. In fact, the American Lung Association estimates that roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed. Reduce dust mites by encasing your mattress and pillows, and wash your bedding in hot water about once a week. Also, since dust mites are microscopic, place strips of duct tape on the mattress case to prevent the dust mites from sneaking through.
Clean the In-between: While cleaning what you can see, don’t forget to clean what you can’t see – the air you breathe. Use a high performance air filter in the home, such as the Filtrete 1” Ultimate Allergen Reduction filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season, or every three months.
Freeze the Fur: Stuffed animals can harbor dust mites so it’s important to pay special attention to them. Place stuffed animals in a large plastic bag and freeze them for four to five hours. Remove them from the freezer and plastic bag, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove any leftover dust particles.
Finish With Floors: To keep floors in tip-top shape, vacuum and clean them weekly. You can easily make your own floor cleaner by adding a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent to a gallon of water. Hot water can break down floor finishes after time so use water that is barely warm. Finally, don’t forget to clean the floor under large pieces of furniture, which may require you to temporarily move them elsewhere. Corners of rooms and the back of closets often are overlooked, so be sure to clean these areas as well.
Do you have any tips for having a healthy home? Do you use an air filter, and are you happy with the one you have? If you're interested in learning more about Filtrete products, you can check out their Clean Air Club and register to receive e-newsletters and better home living tips. I just signed up.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Filtrete and received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.