Myths abound when it comes to allergies, and there are also many mistaken beliefs about allergen cleaning.
Keeping your environment clean is an important part of controlling allergies and the symptoms of allergies, but do you really understand allergen cleaning and how it’s done? Below are five things you might not have known about allergen cleaning – let’s separate the truth from the myths.
1. It’s a myth that allergies are on the rise because we are ‘too clean’
— Diana Keough (@dikeough) May 24, 2016
The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI) has responded to the widespread belief that many different types of allergies are on the rise because we are ‘too clean’, to assure us that this is absolutely not the case.
Central to this long-held myth, often referred to as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, is that we need to encounter bugs and allergens to keep our immune systems in tune, and that this is no longer happening as we are now too hygienic – the UKCPI says that there is no evidence to support this. Therefore, practising good hygiene habits and carrying out thorough allergen cleaning should be considered to be as important as ever.
2. ‘Synthetic’ chemicals are not more likely to cause allergic reactions
— Bunzl Cleaning (@BunzlCleaning) April 4, 2016
As most the most common allergens are naturally occurring, such as foods like eggs and nuts, or airborne allergens such as pet dander or pollen, it’s a myth that synthetic or ‘man-made’ chemicals in cleaning products are more likely to cause allergic reactions.
Some years ago there was also a belief that biological cleaning products were more likely to cause allergic reactions.
This has been disproved, so there’s no reason to avoid biological cleaning products – read our article about what is biological cleaning and biotechnology for all of the great benefits about these products.
3. Dust mite droppings are the cause of allergies, not dust itself
— AAFRE (@LowAllergenHome) May 31, 2016
A photo posted by Clean Care (@cleancare.indonesia) on
Keeping your environment as free of dust as possible is important, but when people claim that they are allergic to dust, that’s actually something of a mistake. The symptoms of a ‘dust allergy’ are actually caused by the droppings of dust mites (yuck!); it’s impossible to completely remove dust mites from your environment, especially as they thrive in damp conditions and live in soft furnishings, but you can take steps to reduce their presence.
Allergy UK has lots of helpful information on how to control dust mites, including regularly cleaning soft furnishings, vacuuming carpets, and wiping surfaces with a damp cloth, as well as reducing humidity by increasing ventilation in your rooms. It’s especially important to consider dust mites if your premises may be very prone to having a large amount of them, such as hotels.
4. Allergen cleaning doesn’t have to be time-consuming
— Bunzl Cleaning (@BunzlCleaning) May 16, 2016
As we covered in our recent post on dust mopping to reduce allergies in the workplace, your airborne allergen prevention cleaning routine doesn’t need to be time-consuming to be effective.
Regularly dust mopping your floors or surfaces can help to pick up and remove allergens from the environment in just a sweep, and you can also carry out easy spot cleaning with disposable dust wiping cloths on hand at all times. When the pollen count is high, keeping airborne allergens at bay is especially important – and your staff will thank you too.
5. Using colour-coded cleaning products can make allergen cleaning easy
— Bunzl Cleaning (@BunzlCleaning) March 26, 2016
Cross-contamination is a particular concern with allergens, especially in foodservice settings where many different types of foods may be being prepared. Many kitchens already have designated food preparation tools for foods containing allergens that prevent cross-contamination, but did you know that cross-contamination in kitchens can also be caused by your cleaning products?
Using colour-coded cleaning products such as catering cleaning cloths for wiping will make it easy to understand which ones should be used in different areas of the kitchen. This can help to prevent not only cross-contamination between meat products and fruits and vegetables, but also contamination by common allergens such as dairy products and gluten. As it’s more important than ever for restaurants and cafes to pay attention to allergen prevention, colour-coded cleaning wipes are a very easy way to begin.
What other myths about allergen cleaning have we missed? Leave us a comment below to let us know, or share your top cleaning tips for keeping allergens under control.