The more common triggers for allergies and asthma are animal dander, mold, air pollution, dust, pollen, stress, smoke and food. However, an often overlooked trigger can be cleaning products.
The purpose of a cleaning product is to remove unwanted soil or pollutants from your living area, not cause an allergic reaction or asthma attack. If you think about the process in which the majority of cleaning products are applied, they are often sprayed onto a smooth surface to be cleaned and then wiped or rinsed off along with the offending dirt.
Not all of the cleaner makes it onto the surface. Some becomes an air borne mist, only to be inhaled by the user or building occupants potentially causing a problem for the allergy or asthma sufferer.
This also holds true for carpet or hard floor cleaning. Even though a carpet cleaning product is applied to the floor and away from the face during the cleaning process, some of the product becomes air borne.
It's not just the air borne mist that's a concern. It's also what's in the cleaning product residue left behind. Almost all cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
VOC's should be a concern for everyone, not just those with asthma or allergy sensitivities. Since many of the cleaning products don't adversely affect the user or building occupants in the short term there is not an outcry to ban these harmful chemical cleaners. Prolonged or long term use can actually create a trigger for allergies or allergy induced asthma to certain cleaning products.
To compound the problem, formulators of cleaning products often add fragrances to their products. Unless derived from natural sources, artificial fragrances emit volatile organic compounds which can be a allergy nightmare.
While some cleaning products may trigger allergies and asthma, regular cleaning is essential to limit the amount of allergens and other asthma triggers in the home or workplace. Many of the triggers we desire to remove are found in carpeting and upholstery.
Cleaning the carpet and upholstery can rid your indoor environment of many of the pollutants which trigger allergies and asthma like animal dander, dust, pollen, air pollution and mold.
The carpet cleaning process should start with a thorough vacuuming using a HEPA vacuum cleaner. A good quality vacuum that includes a HEPA filter is one of the best asthma products you can buy.
The HEPA filter traps microscopic particles, preventing allergens from returning to the surroundings. A HEPA vacuum can be a great help as vacuuming kicks up dust and other allergens.
This critical step should be followed by a carpet cleaning method such as hot water extraction which can remove dander, dust, and pollen. When properly performed, the hot water extraction or "steam cleaning" method is the most beneficial because it rinses away the offending pollutants that can trigger asthma and allergies. Its important to select a carpet cleaning product, or any cleaning product for that matter that contains no VOC's, is odor free and detergent residue free.
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