Do allergens affect indoor air quality?
With the rise in pollen and fungal spores in the summer months, many people with allergies are seeking refuge indoors. There is, however, the issue of allergen particles being carried in the air and settling onto furniture, carpet and floor surfaces. These particles vary in size and are measured in microns. The larger the particles, the faster they settle. Pollen and dust mite debris are larger and settle more quickly than moulds.
Given this, there may be more allergens on surfaces in an office than in the air. Surface allergens can become airborne easily when workers sit down in their chairs or move around the office.
With aggressive cleaning, indoor air quality can be improved and allergy symptoms reduced. The following five tactics will help remove the source of as many allergens as possible.
1. Vacuum regularly
Vacuuming helps to keep allergens to a minimum. However, it is important that proper equipment is used. A vacuum with a HEPA filter and canister that can trap soil and allergens for safe removal from the premises is best.
2. Dust hard surfaces
It is important to use equipment that will trap dust and allergens from hard surface areas. Traditional dusting disturbs dust and pollen and moves it around rather than removing it. Microfibre cloths and other specialized dusting equipment will trap these particles and dramatically decrease airborne particles, allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bacteria.
3. Clean carpets
Carpet fibres act as a filter and trap dust, pollen and other allergens out of the breathing zone. Regular carpet cleaning will remove these contaminants and undesired substances such as allergens.
4. Remove dust from prime accumulation points
Dust and particles accumulate rapidly in ductwork, air vents and around electronic equipment. Periodic cleaning of these areas throughout the year is important for removing contaminants and allergens from the premises.
5. Use green cleaning products
It is important to use green cleaning products instead of harsh chemicals, which may ultimately aggravate and cause more allergy problems. This is essential during times when workers are more sensitive to allergens.
Gavin Bajin is director of business services at ServiceMaster Canada. He and his team support 70 franchises, delivering janitorial and specialty cleaning services from coast to coast. Gavin can be reached at [email protected].