Many people aren’t aware that dust at home can cause health issues. The cause is a microscopically small creature called the dust mite which feeds from the skin of humans and then thrives in warm and humid atmospheres. The mite then produces droppings which are associated with causing asthma symptoms and attacks, eczema and allergic rhinitis. For a housekeeper, London homes can gather a great deal of dust because of the air pollution and the population of a busy city.
There are a number of ways to greatly reduce the amounts of dust mites with preventative measures and cleaning routines. It’s impossible to completely eradicate but taking action means that the family can breathe much more easily.
In the bedroom
Because we spend a third of our lives in bed, the bedroom is the place in every house where there will be the highest number of dust and mites. Beds have high concentrations of dust mites so the mattress, pillows and duvets should all have an anti-allergen cover. Bedding should be washed at 60c or above as this will kill the problematic creatures. Lower temperatures mean that whilst the dust will be washed away, the mites will survive to produce further allergens.
A hard floor is preferable to carpet because they can’t thrive as easily and the vacuum cleaner should be fitted with a suitable anti-allergen filter.
Curtains and soft furnishings
A housekeeper in London will need to have a regular cleaning schedule for the curtains and soft furnishings around the home. To keep on top of the issue of allergies, this should include frequent washing of curtains as well as the vacuuming of upholstered areas of furniture twice a week.
Soft toys must be washed monthly as the fabrics and stuffing can harbour the mites and will increase allergy sensitivities. Again, the temperature should be 60c or above. If the toy cannot be washed, popping it in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for 12 hours will cure the problem temporarily.
As well as keeping the home clean and tidy on a day to day basis, housekeepers will also have other jobs which they carry out once a week. When it comes to reducing allergens, one of the tasks should be to damp-wipe all surfaces which can quickly catch dust and in turn mean the presence of mites. These surfaces are internal window sills, the tops of cupboards and wardrobes as well as pelmets.
There are products available which can be used on carpeted areas to kill mites but they need to be used with care and in conjunction with any medical conditions of the family. This is because they can also cause respiratory issues, in particular where there are small children.
An allergy to the dust mite is very common so many housekeepers will find that they need to take this into consideration when they decide where to clean and how often. All measures should be investigated to reduce the problem as much as possible and with continued monitoring of hotspot areas in the house as well as the health of those affected, a focused attack on the mites will quickly mean a much more relaxing living environment.