Tip 1: Leave pollen outside
That sounds banal, but it is of course the most important tip for self-protection for pollen allergy sufferers: you should avoid flour-fine pollen flying into your room through open doors and windows, especially during the peak season in spring.
A vestibule in front of the front door and special pollen protection grilles on the window help to protect the interior. “Air purifiers can also reduce pollen,” says Sonja Lämmel from the German Allergy and Asthma Association. Modern devices also reduce the proportion of mites and fine dust in the air.
Tip 2: Wipe the entrance area against pollen every day
But pollen also sticks to our clothes and shoes, cats and dogs – so it inevitably gets into the house. “The entrance area and hallway are therefore particularly contaminated with pollen,” says Heike Behrbohm from the German Skin and Allergy Aid. To prevent pollen from accumulating here, the expert recommends cleaning the floors daily.
Tip 3: Clean windows according to the pollen count forecast
“Window cleaning should be postponed to days when pollen counts are low,” advises Heike Behrbohm. Weather forecasts that take pollen counts into account help with this, for example the “Pollen Count Danger Index” from the German Weather Service. The time also plays a role: “In the city, pollen counts tend to be higher in the evening, in the countryside early in the morning.” By the way, you can find out why this is the case here.
Tip 4: First vacuum to remove house dust, then wipe
House dust accumulates where people spend a lot of time and for a long time: in the bedroom, living room and children’s room. Behrbohm from the German Skin and Allergy Aid recommends: “First vacuum, then wipe.” This prevents dust from being kicked up again and again as you walk through the room, which then settles straight back onto the freshly cleaned floors.
Tip 5: Vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter or water
A lot of dust can accumulate, especially in carpets. That’s why Sonja Lämmel from the German Allergy and Asthma Association says: “Short-pile carpets need to be vacuumed regularly.” People with allergies should avoid long-haired carpets if possible because they collect too much dust.
“Allergy sufferers should use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and the greatest possible retention capacity,” advises the expert. This means that you do not immediately blow out a large proportion of the allergens you have sucked in with the exhaust air from the device. Class 11 filters retain 95 percent of dust particles, mites and pollen, while class 13 filters retain 99.95 percent.
However, the suction pipe, hose and housing remain weak points. “The biggest danger comes from changing the vacuum cleaner bag,” says Behrbohm. Allergy sufferers should therefore best leave this to someone else.
A vacuum cleaner with a water filter is even safer. “The dust is bound in water and disposed of with the dirty water without being stirred up,” explains Behrbohm. The alternative are models with a spray suction system. They clean floors and upholstery with a damp cloth and vacuum up the remaining moisture in the same operation.
Tip 6: Anti-dust cloths
Smooth surfaces are best dusted with anti-dust cloths. “They pull the dust instead of stirring it up,” explains Behrbohm. Although the disposable wipes are practical for throwing away, they create a lot of waste. “It is more sustainable to wipe with a damp cloth using a microfiber cloth or a well-wrung out rag,” says the expert.
Lämmel advises people with mite allergies to ventilate during and after cleaning work. But regular ventilation is also useful for people with house dust allergies. This increases the humidity in the room, which binds dust better.
Tip 7: Wear the good old household smock
If you are an allergy sufferer and have to use a vacuum cleaner and mop yourself, you should wear protective clothing. Lämmel recommends “wearing a smock like in grandma’s time.” It can then be taken off and washed straight away – and the pollen does not spread through everyday clothing.
“A mask can also be beneficial,” says the expert. It prevents very small, light particles in the air from being inhaled. Safety glasses also help. “Sensitive skin should also be protected with cotton gloves and good basic care.”
Tip 8: Don’t overdo it
Despite allergies, “cleaning should not be overdone,” says Sonja Lämmel. A hygienically cleaned apartment is not necessary. It can even be a cause of an increased tendency to allergies, says the expert. People with allergies should also use disinfectants sparingly.