More than 50 million people in the US struggle with allergies and the coughing, sneezing, pain, and misery that goes with them. For some it's seasonal, for others it sticks around all year. Allergies are the 6thleading cause of chronic illness and cause hundreds of missed days off work and school. About 25 million Americans have asthma, a chronic lung disease that often goes hand in hand with allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably already taken precautions like removing all carpet in your home and replacing with throw rugs, but cleaning can still make you miserable. Here are some ways you can clean your home safely.

Clean Shouldn’t Have a Scent

Decades of advertising have convinced us that for our homes to be truly clean they have to smell clean. Now it's true we don't want any foul odors in our home, but that doesn't mean it has to smell pine fresh, like an orchard breeze or like fresh laundry. One of the biggest allergy triggers is the scents put into soaps, cleaning products, and air fresheners. The heavy chemicals in them can irritate sinuses, throats, and lungs and trigger headaches. Steer clear and use scent free products instead.

You should also get rid of any and all air fresheners. They do more harm than good and can produce a strong allergy or asthma attack. If you really want to freshen the air, open your windows (but not on windy days!) or simmer lemon slices, cinnamon and vanilla on your stove top for a natural and pleasant scent.

Tools of the Trade

When cleaning never use more of a cleaning product than you absolutely need and look for “green” or eco-friendly ones, or use natural ones like vinegar and baking soda. Use a mask and gloves to avoid breathing in dust and fumes, and make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. These filters are also available for your furnace and should be changed regularly. They’ll help prevent dust from your heating system from filling your home.

When you’re cleaning your home, always have proper ventilation, such as an open window, or if the weather or location don’t permit, a fan.

Cleaning your house is never fun, and it can be downright miserable when you have allergies, but with our tips, it doesn't have to be. Wear protective clothing and a mask, stick to scent free and natural cleaning products, and use them sparingly. You'll soon see your allergies no longer get in the way of your housework.