Eco-friendly designer Robin Wilson, president of Robin Wilson Home in New York City, who is one of the pioneers of eco-friendly design and is an ambassador for The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, offers these tips for taking spring cleaning to another level:
1. In the bathroom, get rid of your vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and off gases. Use a nylon curtain instead. It’s also less expensive. Use non-toxic cleansers, always lower the toilet seat when flushing and fix a leaky faucet (which will also save you money!)
2. For bedding, use synthetic pillows over feathered ones if you suffer from allergies or asthma, wash your pillow case once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and replace pillows every three years. Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash every two months and make sure that it is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.
3. Use non-VOC paints in your home which won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up asthma or allergies. You can’t even tell the difference in how it looks on the wall.
4. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each Spring, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floor.
5. Check for mold in dishwashers, under the fridge in the water pan, and regularly change water dispenser and icemaker filters.
6. One of the biggest trends today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains. Consider frameless cabinets which won’t collect as much dust.
7. Wash or freeze your child’s stuffed animals to kill dust mites.
8. Consider using slipcovers, which can be washed regularly on your upholstered sofas and make sure to limit the use of drapes as they are “dust catchers.”