Cleaning involves several scents, chemicals, dust, and dirt. What happens when you are allergic to one or more of these things? It may sound like an excuse that a teenager would use to avoid cleaning his/her room, but being allergic to cleaning is a real thing for many people. If you are someone who gets stuffed up, sniffly, or itchy when you clean, you probably have an allergy to cleaning. It is not so much an allergy to the act of cleaning as it is to the products or dust and dirt. Here is what you can do to manage this funny, but serious, allergy:
First, See an Allergy Specialist
If you do not already have an allergy specialist like The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC, schedule an appointment to see one. Take with you the bucket of cleaners you typically use with you. Your specialist can take small samples of each of these to see if there are any potential allergens in the cleaners that trigger a reaction. Then he or she can suggest some cleaning substitutes for the chemicals that affect you. The specialist will also test for allergies to dust and the common dirt compounds in your area. If you are allergic to these, the specialist may prescribe a medication for you to take.
Second, Consider Wearing a Respirator Mask
If you have allergies triggered by dusting and cleaning, you could wear a respirator mask. These masks are worn by painters and construction contractors so that they can breathe while they work without breathing in any chemicals or particles. You can buy one from any hardware store. Store the respirator mask in a clean, resealable bag and keep the bag closed when you are not using the mask so that it does not collect dust.
Third, Wear Vinyl Gloves to Keep Hands Free of Allergens
It is always a good idea to protect your hands and skin from cleaning chemicals in the first place. Having a "cleaning allergy" just gives you an extra reason to put on gloves. The gloves will keep any and all allergens from coming into contact with the skin on your hands. It also prevents allergens from being transferred to your face and nose, which would produce an immediate allergic reaction if you were not wearing gloves and could not peel off the gloves and dispose of them. After each chore that is either germ-laden (e.g., toilet cleaning) or allergen-laden (e.g., dusting), pull off the gloves, dispose of them, wash and dry your hands, and re-glove for the next chore.