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Tips For An Allergy-Free Home: Steam Cleaning And More

Updated on July 17, 2011

Don't feel alone if you suffer from allergies. Because more than 50 million people in America have allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergy products are everywhere. Retailers know how desperately people want to get rid of these annoying issues, which is why they claim to have numerous remedies to help individuals breathe easier, sniffle less, and stop itching. While many products ease symptoms or eliminate the source of the allergies, it's important to understand key factors when trying to live in an allergy-free home.

An Eco-friendly Floor Cleaner Is Valuable For Allergy Sufferers

Those plagued with allergies struggle with the reasoning that they must constantly clean their home because often times, the cleaning itself is what triggers their ailments. This stems from the fact that most traditional cleaners contain harsh chemicals that actually stimulate allergy symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, blowing a nose and having trouble breathing. Studies have shown that homeowners who used chemical solutions to get rid of dust and dirt at least four times a week were two times more likely to develop asthma. As for those who already had been diagnosed with asthma, the household cleaners with chemicals increased their symptoms 50% more compared to those asthma victims who stayed away from the harmful toxins. Water being a natural, chemical free resource provides a great alternative for allergy stricken individuals. Used in steam cleaning, water produces hot vapors that thoroughly disinfect a home and rid it of particles, pollutants and grime without any strong chemicals. Not leaving any residues behind, this method is totally safe for children and pets. Only the smell of clean is the product of an eco-friendly floor cleaner, making it the number one choice for people with allergies and asthma. Steam cleaning doesn't emit any toxins into the air, which allows it to actually increase a home's air quality instead of decreasing the state of the air.

Allergies Can Be Severely Aggravated By Dust Mites

Steam cleaning can greatly lessen allergy symptoms, especially when attempting to remove dust mite allergies. Found in almost any fibrous material, dust mites feed off of any moist spot where they bury deep down and start to feed, reproduce, and die. Typically, these microscopic organisms are discovered in mattresses and bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and rugs. Because these parasites survive on moisture and dead skin cells, they can find plenty of sustenance anywhere in a home. When they eat and produce waste, they multiply very quickly and can overtake a house before an owner even realizes their existence.

The dust mite feces is so small that it, along with the mites themselves, trigger allergy symptoms just by being pushed up into the air when someone walks, moves by or sweeps.  An individual then immediately begins to experience sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing as a result of inhaling the dust mite secretions. This poses a great problem for allergy sufferers since they have to sweep their home to get rid of dirt and dust, but the motion actually stirs up another one of the main sources of their ailment. Dust mites can make even the cleanest of houses a breeding ground if they aren't eliminated. Since they are so tiny that they are hidden from the naked eye, this microscopic protein continues to reproduce by feeding on common particles in a home.

Steam cleaning can penetrate deep into the fibers of mattresses, drapes, and furniture, removing all pollutants, dust mites and particles. By cleaning completely, an eco-friendly floor cleaner sucks up all extra water and wetness, leaving no moisture behind. Frequent steam cleaning will prevent new mite colonies from establishing since they would not be able to exist without moisture. The hot water vapors of an eco-friendly floor cleaner kill the excretions, which keeps eggs from forming and hatching. Tackling dust mite allergies is vital to alleviating symptoms since dust mites rank as one of the major sources of allergy attacks in the home. Going to war with these pests using steam cleaning will ensure victory and a comfortable, clean home, even for those plagued with allergies.

On the other hand, waging the battle against dust mites armed with harsh chemicals will not result in a good outcome. It actually worsens the allergies. Chemical cleaners intensify the respiratory system and heighten allergy systems. Because toxic solutions release harmful chemicals into the air, atmosphere quality in a home decreases and makes it hard for a person with allergies to inhale. Also, cleaners with strong toxins leave a chemical residue on the floor that stimulates coughing, sneezing and other respiratory problems.

Steam Cleaning Gets Rid Of Dander

Along with dust mites, steam cleaning does away with other allergens and pollutants in a home since it works so well for hard surfaces. Those systems that simply convert to a hand held steamer allow an individual to sanitize virtually any surface in a home. With the attachments that come with an eco-friendly floor cleaner that operates as a hand held unit, even mattresses, curtains, couches and other fabrics can be dander free. Although these tiny particles that fall off of hair, skin or feathers feed from warm places, steam cleaning removes them and keeps them from coming back. Dander can be sucked up before people even have the opportunity to inhale it by using an eco-friendly floor cleaner. Safe for pets, this product also is great for pet owners since animals are a main source of dander.

While steam cleaning remains the top choice for addressing dander, air purifiers can be a helpful tool because they take pollutants from the air before it can be breathed in. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can eliminate 99.9% of the pollen, animal dander, and even bacteria from the air. Air filters won't do much for people who are allergic only to dust mites since it's a heavy particle that doesn’t stay in the air. However, dander is lighter and stays in the air for a longer time period with smaller, invisible particles floating around a home. Therefore, those who suffer from dander allergies can greatly benefit from an air purifier as an addition to steam cleaning often.

Bacteria, Mildew, and Mold Effect Allergies

Allergist experts reveal that bacteria, mildew and mold love to thrive on moisture. Air that's run through a dehumidifier in the home limits dust mite and fungal growth. If humidity is reduced to 40%, it’s impossible for dust mites to feed and survive. However, these experts also share that this extremely low humidity can be hard to achieve with a freestanding de-humidifier. Thus, they recommend steam cleaning as the best option since quality machines are available throughout the country at a reasonable cost. Also, many of these eco-friendly floor cleaners also serve a dual purpose so their value is even higher. Many of these units will remove wrinkles from clothes, de- grease ovens, remove grime from a refrigerator, sanitize an outdoor barbecue grill, rejuvenate golf clubs and more.

Steam cleaning machines that provide these additional services come in 2-in-1 units that clean hard surface floors as well as function as a hand held steamer. These products greatly result in a healthier atmosphere and present less problems for people who have allergies compared to utilizing harsh chemicals.

Bacteria, mold and mildew show up all over a home, but thrive particularly in bathrooms and kitchens where wetness often appears. Using water that transforms into hot vapors, steam cleaning disinfects these areas and gets rid of the grime. Because chemical solutions aren't needed, respiratory distress isn't present. Bacteria, mildew and mold vanish without reverting to the old fashioned days of dousing bleach onto mildew tiles or shower floors just to make it feel clean. Fortunately, allergy patients don't have to inhale these potent scents anymore that only brought on constant coughing and wheezing.

A hand held steamer that includes a direct jet nozzle removes mildew from tile grout as it blasts steam directly onto the germ filled area. This attachment also works well behind sinks to get rid of the black mildew that appears every time dishes are washed or hands are rinsed. The grime that forms around the bottom of a toilet is no match for the direct jet nozzle, either, as it penetrates right through the mildew with a blast of the hot vapor. This attachment also offers a hassle free method of sanitizing granite countertops that become bacteria holders. Hard to reach spots, corners and crevices can easily be attached with many of the attachments that are incorporated with the eco-friendly floor cleaner. The squeegee attachment kills mildew and hard water stains on shower doors with only water, keeping the bathroom air fresh and clean.

One piece of equipment can be a lifesaver for allergy sufferers since it rids every part of a home of the pollutants and particles that intensify symptoms. Steam cleaning is an effective way to make a home a safe place for those who deal with allergies.


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      Amanda 6 years ago

      These are great tips! I suffer from allergies and my husband has asthma. We're always struggling with allergens! A steam cleaner would be a wise investment for us.

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      Kristen 6 years ago

      I want one of these sooo bad.... I just feel like my kitchen floor is progressively getting "grosser" and I can't seem to get it clean enough. I hadn't really thought about the mold/mildew/allergy part of the equation - gross!

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      Kathleen F.  6 years ago

      I am so glad I found this tonight! My son suffers from a dust mite allergy and I am always looking for other things that I can do to help him out. Obviously, I'm vacuuming a lot more -- and we covered his mattress and pillows with special coverings. Most of my downstairs is carpet-free, however. I will definitely have to look into a steam cleaner after reading this!

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      Kristin 6 years ago

      Thanks for this info! I didn't realize what a big impact steam cleaning can have on dust mites. We recently found out my son has allergies, so we're looking into some different ways to help alleviate symptoms. It looks like steam cleaning is a great start!

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      Susan 6 years ago

      Reading this has me convinced I need to get a steam cleaner to help my allergies. I've been thinking about it for months now and this was the push I needed. It's nice to know I can find a steam cleaner that can remove clothing wrinkles too - goodbye iron!

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      Susan 6 years ago

      Very informative Hub! My family suffers from various allergies and it's good to know that a steam cleaner can help them while being eco-friendly.