According to the World Health Organisation, we spend 90 per cent of our time indoors. For most of us right now, this feels like 99 per cent - and all in the one place - as we navigate New Zealand's lockdown period.
If you're done with your Netflix binge and have turned to being productive while stuck at home, bringing your "spring clean" forward to April could be the perfect boredom-buster - and a well-timed chance to ensure your home is as healthy as it can be.
While spring has long been regarded as the season for rampant allergies to take hold, in New Zealand dust mite numbers - the most common allergen, according to the Allergy Clinic - peak in March and April.
Advanced research scientist in microbiology at Dyson, Gem McLuckie, says: "Household dust can be a concern, as it may contain allergens such as dust mite faeces and pollen. Mattresses, bedding, upholstery including curtains and carpets can all accumulate unseen dust."
"All of our research has shown that the best way to deal with bacteria, pollen and dust mite allergens is to remove them from your home completely," McLuckie advises .
According to a recent Dyson survey of 1500 New Zealanders, 38 per cent of New Zealanders suffer from hay fever and 22 per cent from asthma.
In the current climate, maintaining good health is paramount. When it comes to cleaning your home to make it a healthier place to be, these are some key things you can do:
1. Vacuum mattresses to remove dust mite allergen and skin flakes which dust mites feed on. Vacuum both sides of the mattress with a vacuum cleaner with an advanced filtration to prevent the allergen being placed back into the room by exhaust air.
2. Wash bedding on a hot wash to destroy allergens. Washing the bedding on a 60C or 90C wash will help to break down allergens (proteins) and reduce the amount causing allergies.
3. Wash or replace duvets and pillows to reduce the amount of dust mite allergen and skin flakes present in your bed.
4. Remove dust from kitchen cupboard tops. This is an often-overlooked place that dust collects and can be displaced into the kitchen air. Either remove with a vacuum or by dusting with a clean damp cloth or cleaning wipes.
5. When dusting, either use a clean, damp cloth or cleaning wipes to trap the dust more easily.
6. Vacuum your home after dusting so any dust that has been disturbed and placed onto the floor is removed rather than redistributed as you move about your home.
7. If you can move furniture and get a vacuum underneath and behind it, it's a good idea to do so. While you're at it, vacuum sofas and chairs regularly; these can harbour not only large debris but also dust mites, skin flakes and other allergens such as pollen and food allergens. Wash any coverings and cushions to reduce dust that can be trapped in them.
9. A lot of dust can also gather in curtains and blinds. Make sure to vacuum them regularly or launder them if possible and practical.
10. Remove dust from walls by dusting with a damp cloth or cleaning wipes. Dust on certain wall types can contribute toward the growth of mould; if the room is humid and not well ventilated, the dust can act as the nutrient source for growing mould.
11. Clear kitchen cupboards to deep clean. Use a vacuum with advanced filtration to remove dust and debris then wash with warm water and detergent – make sure you follow up by drying all surfaces.
12. Dust lights and light fittings. A lot of dust can gather in lampshades and light fittings which can burn on hot bulbs.
13. Empty the fridge and freezer and clean all surfaces with warm water and detergent or cleaning product. Vacuum around the back and under the fridge and freezer without forgetting to run the nozzle over the cooler element on the back - this will improve the performance of your appliance.
14. Deep clean cupboards, wardrobes, and drawers in the bedroom. This is a place rarely emptied and cleaned but dust and fibres can accumulate in the very place you keep your clean clothes. Dust mites can live anywhere there is a source of food; so, wherever there is dust there is the possibility of dust mites.