Load up on tips for a healthier laundry
Doing the laundry might not be your favourite job, but for most of us, it’s a never-ending one. That’s why I’m sharing ideas for making your laundry a healthier space.
Who should think about creating healthy indoor spaces?
At Sensitive Choice, our focus is on living better with asthma and allergies. About one in nine people have asthma in Australia and allergies are even more common. Even if it doesn’t affect your household, you may know someone it does.
We tend to spend a lot of time at home, so anyone who is interested in breathing cleaner, fresher air might like to find out about ways to make their space healthier.
Where is a good place to start?
The first step is working out whether certain triggers affect you. If you think you might have an allergy, speak with your doctor to identify what is causing the reaction and how you can manage this. While triggers are different for everyone, there are some common household sources, like dust mites, mould and certain chemicals.
Once you know what to focus on, you can take steps to avoid those triggers or reduce their impact, if possible.
What steps can you take in the laundry?
There are three main things to look out for: choosing cleaning products that suit you, reducing allergy triggers in the wash, and keeping mould at bay.
If you’re sensitive to chemicals in cleaning and laundry products, look out for options that have fewer harsh chemicals and no fragrances.
When you’re doing the laundry, consider your family’s allergy triggers. If dust mites or pet dander are an issue, a regular hot wash in water warmer than 55 degrees can help. For pollen, try to avoid hanging the washing outside to dry on high pollen days.
Laundries can be warm and humid – mould thrives in them. Good ventilation can help tackle this, either by using an extractor fan or opening a door or window. You can also leave the washing machine open after its cycle finishes to prevent mould growing on the seals.
What else should people with asthma and allergies think about at this time of year?
It’s the start of spring, which means pollen season is around the corner (if you’re in south-east Australia, October to December is generally the peak time). If you get hayfever – and three in four people with asthma do – pollen floating in the air can trigger your symptoms.
Now is a good time to speak with your doctor about how your asthma and hay fever management is going, update your written asthma action plan, and check whether you’re using your inhaler or nasal spray correctly.
Adele Taylor is the Program Manager at Sensitive Choice, an initiative by the National Asthma Council Australia. The Sensitive Choice blue butterfly symbol helps you identify household and building products and services that are asthma and allergy aware.