by Hannah Maynor

Spring cleaning” is a household phrase that looms over every doorway and dust bunny. When the cold retreats and the warm air creeps into those early months of the year, guards go up against allergens. Between the demands of life and rest, it’s challenging to find time to invest in purifying one’s home. However, when a person prioritizes maintaining their home, it becomes a place to recharge, reset and unwind. Luckily, there are easy ways to freshen up a home and takeback the solace that pollen, ragweed and other allergens take away.

Ditch the Dust:

When it comes to cleaning out the cobwebs, mainstream dusters aren’t up to the task. The goal should be to remove all allergens, but dry dusting tends to stir up tiny particles instead. Using a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water is significantly more effective at removing dust. Waking up with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose indicates there is dust on furniture, fans and even bedding. To remove allergens on sheets and pillowcases, wash them with hot water. Further, using scent-free and dye-free detergents on bedding is an easy, extra modification to alleviate allergies. Additionally, allergy covers for pillows and mattresses adda layer of protection for the immune system.

Clear the Air:

Is it safe to assume that almost everyone forgets to change their air filter on time? One look at the gray film makes one wonder how they could even breathe. While the rule of thumb may be to replace air filters every few months, there is a simple way to purify the air in the meantime that doesn’t break the bank. It is common knowledge that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, but often knowledge ends there. Instead of leaving everything green outside, bringing certain types of plants indoors not only livens the space up with color but also purifies the air. The Golden Pothos plant can withstand almost anything, including low light and sporadic watering. It works for free to cleanse your air well. Other helpful, quasi-indestructible plants include ferns, ivy, spider plants, and snake plants.

Heal YOU:

Reducing allergens in the home is helpful for those who aren’t suffering from allergies already. Allergy sufferers wish they had appreciated being able to breathe out of their nose when they still could. Taking allergy medication is a viable solution to treat the discomfort.

In addition to pharmaceuticals, natural remedies can also alleviate allergies. A daily spoonful of locally-sourced honey is a remedy that is specifically curated to the allergens in that geographic area  and strengthens the person’s immune system over time. Herbal teas and aromatherapy also help relieve allergies. Mullein leaf, chamomile, thyme, sage and elderflower are excellent add-ins for tea. Opening up any tea bag and adding these herbs before steeping will have the same effect as a tea infuser. Peppermint and ginger tea are also a safe bet.

For those who don’t enjoy tea, making a simmer pot for the stove may be viable to treat allergies. Boil any combination of cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, rosemary, orange slices, thyme, eucalyptus, lemon slices or rooibos, and then turn the heat down to simmer. Leaving these ingredients on the stove allows the medicinal properties of the herbs to evaporate into the air and alleviate congestion. Add more to keep the ingredients from scorching when the water gets low. Otherwise, you can leave it all day for a beneficial, aromatic solution to allergies.

Cleaning out allergens is a daunting task. However, with small steps and a combination of practical and natural solutions, it is by no means an impossible one.