In the UK, products with the ‘Seal of Approval’ from the British Allergy Foundation indicate, “they have been scientifically tested to prove it is efficient at reducing/removing allergens from the environment of allergy and asthma sufferers or the products have significantly reduced allergen/chemical content.” According to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, an estimated 150 million Europeans suffer with at least one allergy. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation Of America, believe nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States.
Conventional household cleaning products often contain irritants. Particularly if you suffer from allergies or are sensitive to ingredients in household cleaning products, using harsh chemicals known to cause irritation or be allergenic can exacerbate symptoms. To see which products may contain potentially harmful ingredients, check out the Environmental Working Groups Guide to Home Cleaning.
Allergies hinder many of us and having recently been diagnosed with dust mite allergy myself, I wanted to get into a more effective cleaning routine. There is a logical order in which to clean and lifestyle writer Marie Nieves shared her tips with us. She suggests starting your cleaning routine with dusting. She says, “the best effects are achieved by regular dusting with electrostatic, microfibre cloths or damp rag, which help collect dust more effectively than feather dusters, which can leave the dust hanging in the air.”
After dusting, Marie recommends attacking the floors and surfaces. “You’ll sometimes need to use chemical cleaning aids when it comes to floor and surface cleaning but an efficient, eco-friendly and non-allergenic way to do this is to use a homemade floor and surface cleaner; a mixture of hot water and vinegar, with drop of baby oil for polishing effects.” At The Green Machine, we try to veer away from using personal care products that contain parfum, so by using baby oil, which is made of mineral oil and parfum, this is is great way to use up that old bottle, should you choose not to put it on your skin anymore.
Next, onto dish washing. Maries preferred method is, “using hot water, 1-2 tbsp of baking soda and a squeeze of lemon juice to make your cutlery and dishes shine.”
For floors, she says “steam cleaning is a perfect solution to chemical free floor cleaners as it provides exceptional results and efficiently cleans grubby patches, no chemicals needed.”
Household floor steamers cost from around £25. Marie was inspired by a “creative exchange of ideas with the professionals from Steam Australia company and suggests hiring a steam cleaner every now and again if you do not have enough room in the house to store one.
Marie stresses the importance of experimenting with changes to your laundry routine if you notice symptoms such as itchy eyes, rashes, blocked/runny nose or skin irritation. You could try a batch of homemade laundry detergent or use soap nuts, a berry containing saponin, a naturally occurring soap, these can be bought online. As always, the Environmental Working Group has a list of laundry products that are generally suitable for sensitive skin if you don’t fancy making your own cleaning products.