13 Best Cleaning Products for People with Allergies
If you suffer from allergies, here are the products you should be using to protect yourself from an outbreak in the near future.
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Vacuum with a HEPA filter
A good vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is very important for a patient with indoor allergen sensitivities such as dust mite or pet dander, explains Sima Mithani, MD, allergist and immunologist at ENT and Allergy Associates LLP in Hackensack, New Jersey. “The HEPA filter traps incoming particles so they don’t disperse back into the air.” Her favorite brands are Dyson and Shark, specifically the Dyson Multifloor 2 Upright Vacuum. “It works great for picking up dust mites and pet allergens and has an effective dirt-bin emptying system that allows avoidance of contact with the debris,” she adds. Check out 11 ways you can stop allergies in their tracks.
Unscented all-purpose cleaners
Sara Axelrod, MD, an allergist with ENT & Allergy Associates in East Brunswick, New Jersey, warns that anything with a strong odor should be avoided for allergy sufferers, as they may serve as triggers. Instead, she recommends making your own cleaning solution using vinegar and hot water with mild soap or purchasing fragrance-free all-purpose cleaners or anything that’s labeled as “free and clear.”
Unscented laundry detergent
Most scented laundry detergent can cause allergy sufferers and those with sensitive skin a great deal of irritation. For this reason, allergists recommend steering clear of laundry detergents that have these added fragrances and opting for fragrance-free or “free and clear” laundry detergents that are safer and less irritating. “Although we may equate a scent with better cleaning, this is often not the case,” says Dr. Mithani. “‘Free and clear’ laundry detergents are just as effective in cleaning and tend not to cause the added adverse effects that fragrance products may cause.” Here are 30 things allergists wish you knew.
Air purifier with a HEPA filter
Especially for individuals suffering from pet allergies, an air purifier with a HEPA filter is a must. “These small and portable units are excellent at trapping allergens, such as dust and pet dander, as well as other irritants, such a tobacco smoke and strong odors,” says Dr. Mithani. She recommends Rabbit Air Purifier with HEPA filter for many of his patients, noting its ease of use, sleek look, and effectiveness in trapping allergens. These are the best pets for people with allergies.
Vanicream moisturizing cream
For patients who have skin conditions related to their allergen sensitivities such as eczema, hives, or generalized itchiness, Dr. Mithani recommends Vanicream products. “Vanicream has a wide range of products such as lotions, sunscreens, bar soaps, facial cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners, all of which are great for sensitive skin,” she says. “They are moisturizing while also being free of dyes, fragrances, and parabens that can aggravate allergies even more.”
Microfiber cleaning cloths
If you suffer from a dust mite allergy, it’s best to clean your home more often—ideally twice a week. When doing so, Dr. Mithani recommends using a damp or moist microfiber cloth and wearing a mask, gloves, and long clothing, all which form a barrier between your nose, mouth and skin and allergens in the environment. “Purchase microfiber cleaning cloths, which are soft, non-abrasive, and extra absorbent for retaining water, which works great when collecting dust,” she says. “They’re also better for the environment since they are machine washable and therefore can be reused.”
According to Tania Elliott, MD, allergist and spokesperson for Flonase, a 5 percent bleach solution is best when it comes to disinfecting surfaces and removing mold and food remnants that are attractors for allergens such as cockroaches and mice. “It also can break down stubborn food allergens; remember, alcohol-based products will not get rid of food allergens,” she says. “If you are sensitive to cleaning products, also purchase a mask or nasal filters and latex-free gloves.”
N95 medical mask
As unsightly as it might seem, wearing a mask is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from an allergic reaction when you clean your home. “Make sure it’s an N95 mask, which protects against most inhaled particles that can be given off from cleaning products as well as airborne allergens, dust, VOCs, and mold,” adds Dr. Elliott. Try these other smart strategies to keep your house dust-free.
Since many people are allergic to—or develop rashes to—latex, it’s best to purchase latex-free gloves to prevent skin allergies and irritation when cleaning. It’s also a great way to protect your hands from interacting with cleaning chemicals of any kind and will keep them hydrated and looking their best.
Fido might not be a fan of bathtime, but for your own sake, you should bathe him at least every other week with a pet shampoo that’s formulated to prevent allergy-causing dander. In addition to toning down the amount of dander your pet will create in-between washes, most anti-allergen shampoos will also help protect your pet from fleas and ticks—and, of course, keep him smelling nice!
Dish soap for sensitive skin
“Keeping dishes out of the sink will help prevent indoor allergen such as mold and cockroach build-up, as well as help break down food allergens,” notes Dr. Elliott. But instead of choosing just any dish soap available to you at your local market, she recommends buying one that’s fragrance-free and ideally plant-based so that it’s non-irritation and non-allergenic.
Since mold doesn’t discriminate when it comes to its ability to thrive in moist environments, growing in plants, basements, bathrooms, air conditioners, refrigerator coils, and even stuffed furniture, Steven Davis, MD, ENT, an allergy and sinus specialist and founder and director of Breathe Clear Institute, recommends using a dehumidifiers, which can help make high-risk areas less appealing to mold. “Install humidity gauges to help keep track of how dry you are keeping the rooms in your home, and keep small, unvented spaces lit because molds prefer dark areas,” he says.
It’s not difficult for outdoor pollens to enter your home through open windows, so if you or someone in your family is allergic to pollen, Dr. Davis recommends keeping your windows and doors closed and well sealed. “If possible, create a sealable entryway where you can hang your jackets and keep your shoes,” he says. “For other areas of your home, he suggests using a 3 percent tannic acid spray to help neutralize pollens that may be stuck to carpets, doormats, or even drapes. Try these tricks to keep your summer sneeze-free.
Hypoallergenic wool dryer balls
Dryer sheets are often scented with chemicals that can be irritating to the airway, skin, and eyes, explains Lindsey Elmore, PharmD, pharmacist, author and wellness expert. Instead, she recommends opting for wool dryer balls, which do the same thing, naturally softening your clothing and cutting down on wrinkles and static. “Dryer balls can also be used to help collect pet hair off clothing, and that reduces the allergenic dander that can be left on some clothes even after a wash,” she says.
Dry sweeper cloths
Instead of the wet version, Dr. Elmore recommends choosing dry sweeper cloths, which are made without harsh chemicals. “The dry clothes use static electricity to trap dirt, dust, hair, and allergens such as cat and dog danger and dust mites,” she says. You can use the dry sweeper wipes to replace your broom, which also may harbor allergens.
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