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Homes

To combat allergens, clean means dust, filter and purify

Healthy Home Inc. offers products and services to ferret out and trap tiny dust mites and mop up mildew.

By ELIZABETH BETTENDORF
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 10, 2003


Ever tried to fight off a nagging little cold, only to discover it cleared up when you left the house?

Florida's hot, dripping climate rolls out the welcome mat for obnoxious house guests such as mold and fungi spores. Allergens are often to blame for symptoms that can include itchy, dry skin, watery eyes, congestion and chest tightness.

Healthy Home Inc. sells products and services to help rid homes of culprits that cause major health concerns. Step inside the retail store at 4211 E Busch Blvd. and it's tempting to linger and just breathe.

Air purifiers lend the shop that glorious just-cleaned-the-house smell.

Tile floors sparkle, thanks to non-chlorine-based cleaners.

Shelves are stocked with soft, feather-free pillows that don't attract dust mites.

An assortment of airtight, zippered mattress pads can be washed regularly.

Other products include a selection of soot-free candles, washable stuffed animals and rattles, vacuum cleaners that filter filth, and pet dander products that help protect owners from allergies.

The store stocks a number of healthful cleaning products as well, including special laundry detergents and anti-mildew products.

The biggest household allergen problems, according to Kirby Smith, the store's indoor air consultant, include carpeting, air duct and ventilation systems. All can trap irritants caused by animal dander, dust, pollen, bacteria, smoke and mites.

Typically, Healthy Home draws customers who struggle with allergies and asthma or are "chemically sensitive and can't use a lot of household products," Smith said. He attributes a recent surge in interest in allergen-free household environments to "better-built homes over the last 10 years that trap in airborne problems."

Healthy Home will clean all of the ductwork in a home or business as well as deep clean carpets. Residential cleaning prices begin at $179, according to Smith.

For more information about Healthy Home's services, call the store at 988-7701.

* * *

Procter & Gamble offers these tips for fighting allergens in your home:

Choose wooden furniture if possible, with washable pads. Dust mites live in every home, but they are especially hard to control in upholstered furniture, bedding and carpeting.

If possible, choose hardwood, tile or linoleum floors. All carpets suck up allergens and dust. Vacuuming actually increases airborne particles, unless you use special bags and filters on your vacuum.

Regularly replace filters on your central air-conditioner or forced air furnace.

Dust hard surfaces like ceiling fans, blinds, windowsills, furniture and mirrors regularly with a cloth designed to trap allergens.

Clean television and computer screens often to remove dust that can aggravate allergy symptoms.

Keep drawers and closet doors closed.

Wash all bed linens regularly. Choose washable, synthetic fiber pillows and replace them every one to two years. Avoid down feathers when choosing bedding.

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