Hidden Allergens at Home

It’s a common misconception that the outdoors, with its pollen-rich grass and flowers, is an allergy-sufferer’s natural enemy. The reality is there are numerous places where allergens can hide inside your home. Identify and maintain these areas to help manage your environment and reduce your exposure to allergens.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are essential to controlling allergen levels at home. Depending on the vacuum cleaner, though, it could actually be releasing allergens back into the air. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is good for people with allergies as it provides more effective air filtration. When you vacuum, make sure to vacuum with slower passes so you’re not sending dust airborne with sudden movements.

Air Conditioners

Using an air conditioner is beneficial if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Closing windows and doors prevents pollen from entering your home and the unit can recirculate filtered air on the right setting. However, this is only true so long as your air-conditioner’s filter is clean. A dirty filter will offer poor filtration and and reduced air quality, so clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Similarly, wipe down the blades and cages of any fans you use so dust isn’t recirculated back into the air.

Furniture & Upholstery

Upholstered furniture and fabric curtains and blinds add style to the home, but should be cleaned to remove dust build-up. Be careful of over-saturating your upholstery when cleaning it to avoid encouraging mold growth. If you would like easy-to-clean furnishings, opt for leather furniture and choose shutters or timber, aluminium, or PVC blinds for your window coverings.

Pets

Four-legged friends bring a lot of joy to our lives, but they could also be bringing allergens into your home. Pets that are allowed outdoors get allergen particles on their feet and fur, and track them back into the house. If it’s not possible for you to keep your pets as inside-only pets, make sure you follow a regular bathing schedule for them. You can make life with allergies and pets more manageable with some pet-friendly flooring solutions.

Humidity Level

Too damp, too dry – neither is ideal when it comes to the air in your home. An overly humid environment breeds mold and dust mites. Air that is too dry dries up your sinuses and prevents them from being able to properly filter out allergens. A hygrometer can be used to accurately gauge humidity levels in your home. Alternatively, look out for mold on your walls or ceiling as a sign of high humidity and cracked paint as an indicator of low humidity. Alleviate overly dry environments by using a humidifier, air-drying laundry indoors, or setting out some decorative vessels filled with water so it can evaporate into the air. If your home is too humid, open windows for ventilation, especially when cooking, or try using a dehumidifier.

Why You Should Get Carpet Professionally Installed

A savvy home renovator knows when to spend and when to save. In the case of carpet installation, we believe it’s best to call in the pros, and we’re not just saying that because flooring is our business! The following are some of the reasons why we think investing in professionally-installed carpet is worthwhile.

Time

Doing the job day in and day out allows our installers to virtually install carpet with their eyes closed. A novice may struggle to achieve the same high quality installation without the knowledge that lets professionals anticipate problem areas and how to work around them. This may not be an issue if you have time to spare, but any little errors will definitely pile onto the hours you spend on this task.

Cost

Estimating the right amount of carpet is a challenge in itself, with consideration needing to be paid to minimising seams for the smoothest outcome and how to reduce waste. Professionals will also be able to identify traffic patterns and light direction which affect carpet’s appearance. If an installer makes an error, any extra carpet and labour needed will be absorbed into the cost of the installation. If you make an error, you foot the bill for the cost of any additional carpet.

Equipment

One thing that enables professional installers to achieve the right tension and tautness when installing carpet is the use of specialist equipment like a power stretcher or knee kicker. These tools are available for hire, but without training in using this equipment, you could be unknowingly using them incorrectly, resulting in a poorly-installed carpet. Poorly-installed carpet will ripple and slacken, which means further work for you down the road. Inexperience using the equipment could also increase your risk of injury, especially if you have a bad back or knees.

Warranty

Manufacturers’ warranties usually only cover faults caused during the manufacturing process. If you install carpet yourself, you could be left out of luck and out of pocket if any issues arise. Andersens, on the other hand, offers a Life of your Carpet Installation Guarantee*. This guarantees the workmanship and installation materials for the lifetime of your carpet, so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your flooring will last.

If you would like Andersens to install carpet in your home, give us a call on 1800 016 016, or visit your nearest store.

*Terms and conditions apply. See in-store for details.

Carpet vs Timber Flooring for Allergies

It’s a frequently asked question: is carpet or timber flooring better for people with allergies? If you’re an allergy-sufferer looking to update your flooring, you should know that there are pros and cons for both timber and carpeted floors.

Carpet is perceived by some people as an unsuitable option for allergy sufferers because of two reasons: concerns about the chemicals used in its production and the way carpet traps dirt and allergens. However, modern carpet manufacturing methods ensure the majority of volatile chemicals used in the process are eliminated, leaving only a low level of VOC (volatile organic compound) content. VOCs are found in countless consumer products, but for carpet, approximately 90% of VOCs dissipate within a few days of installation. Simply allowing for the recommended air times for the product before use will get rid of most VOCs.

Another common misconception is that carpet harbours dust and particulates which trigger allergies. Although some people view trapping these particulates as a bad thing, there is no evidence that having carpet in the home actually increases exposure to these allergens. Trapping these particulates prevents them from becoming airborne until it comes time to vacuum them up from your floors altogether.

Hardwood or timber flooring is often touted as being easier to clean than carpet, and allergen-causing particulates are not trapped in the flooring. Unfortunately, the dust and dirt have to go somewhere, and in the case of hard flooring, it stays on the surface and if left for too long, collects into dust bunnies, allowing the particles to become airborne and you to be exposed to allergy triggers.

The decision, when it comes down to it, really depends on your personal preference in style and underfoot feel, since the most important aspect of getting allergy-friendly flooring is maintaining a good cleaning regimen. For carpets and hardwood flooring, invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to contain these allergy-triggering particulates and stop them from becoming airborne. For carpets in particular, you need a vacuum with strong suction power and a beater bar to loosen and pull trapped dust and dirt. As long as you regularly clean your floors, there’s no reason why you can’t have either flooring type.

Get flooring that suits your lifestyle by talking to the experts at Andersens. See us in-store or give us a call on 1800 016 016.

How to Clean Your Window Coverings

Cleaning your window coverings regularly is important for maintaining a healthy home and also maximising the life of your blinds or shutters. This task can often seem overwhelming because of the intricate parts contained in some styles of window furnishings but following our step-by-step instructions can make your job less daunting. Find your type of window covering below to see how you can easily clean your way to a healthier, newer-looking home.

Timber Shutters or Blinds

You’ll need:

A vacuum with a brush attachment
Soft cleaning cloths (try to use a lint-free option)
Duster
Water

  1. For blinds, extend to full length
  2. Angle your shutters or blinds until almost closed to expose the slats
  3. Attach the brush/upholstery attachment to your vacuum
  4. Run the attachment along the slats to vacuum up the dust using a low suction setting. Angle your blinds in the opposite direction until almost closed and repeat.
  5. Use the cloth or duster to pick up any remaining dust. Reverse blind or shutter direction and repeat.
  6. For any stains or marks, wet a new cleaning cloth and wring until just damp and gently rub over the area until clean. Reverse blind or shutter direction and repeat.
  7. Use a fresh cloth to dry off residual dampness. Reverse blind or shutter direction and repeat.
  8. Open your shutters or blinds and allow to dry

Vertical Blinds

You’ll need:

A vacuum with a brush attachment
Soft cleaning cloths (try to use a lint-free option) or sponge
Water
Dishwashing detergent

  1. Angle your blinds until almost closed but with each slat still exposed
  2. Attach the brush/upholstery attachment to your vacuum
  3. Run the attachment along each slat to vacuum up the dust using a low suction setting. Reverse blind direction and repeat.
  4. Mix a small amount of dishwashing detergent with water
  5. Dip a soft cleaning cloth or sponge into the solution and wring
  6. Gently scrub the sponge or cloth along the longest axis of the blind to wipe away dirt and stains. Scrub blinds from bottom to top to avoid dislodging them. Reverse blind direction and repeat.
  7. Dip a fresh cloth in clean water and wring
  8. Wipe the suds and grime off the blinds. Reverse blind direction and repeat.
  9. Open blinds and allow to dry

Aluminium Blinds

You’ll need:

A vacuum with a brush attachment
Soft cleaning cloths
Water

  1. Angle your blinds until almost closed but with each slat still exposed
  2. Attach the brush/upholstery attachment to your vacuum
  3. Run the attachment along each slat to vacuum up the dust using a low suction setting. Reverse blind direction and repeat.
  4. Dip a soft cleaning cloth into water and wring
  5. Wipe cloth along the slats to clean away dust. Angle your blinds in the opposite direction until almost closed and repeat.
  6. Open blinds and allow to dry

Roller Blinds

You’ll need:

A vacuum with a brush attachment
Sponge
Water
Laundry detergent

  1. Remove the roller blind from the roller and lay it flat on the floor
  2. Attach the brush/upholstery attachment to your vacuum
  3. Run the attachment over the blind to vacuum up the dust using a low suction setting
  4. Check that your roller blind is washable*
  5. Fill a bathtub or sink with a solution of warm water and a little laundry detergent
  6. Submerge the blind in the water and allow to soak until dirt and grime is loosened
  7. Scrub with a sponge to remove stubborn dirt and stains
  8. Rinse off the soap and grime
  9. Hang blind on clothesline to dry
  10. Once dry, reattach blind to roller

*If your blind is not washable, dilute a small amount of laundry detergent with water and spot clean stains using a cloth or sponge then wipe off with a clean damp cloth.

Roman or Panel Blinds

You’ll need:

A vacuum with a brush attachment
Soft cleaning cloths (try to use a lint-free option) or sponge
Water
Dishwashing detergent

  1. Attach the brush/upholstery attachment to your vacuum
  2. Run the attachment over the blind to vacuum up the dust using a low suction setting
  3. To spot clean, mix a small amount of dishwashing detergent with water
  4. Dip a soft cleaning cloth or sponge into the solution and wring
  5. Gently rub the sponge or cloth over the affected area to clean away dirt or stains
  6. Dip a fresh cloth in clean water and wring
  7. Wipe with cloth until clean
  8. Open blind and allow to dry

Still not sure how to clean your window coverings? Talk to the experts at an Andersens store near you. We’re always happy to help.

Removing Furniture Dents from Carpet

If you’ve ever moved furniture from carpeted floors, you’ll be familiar with the indentations it can leave on the carpet over time. When furniture is not regularly moved, the weight and pressure of it compress the carpet fibres, leaving a depression in the carpet’s surface. Luckily, these marks are usually reversible. Try using the methods below to restore your carpet.

Ice Cube

  1. Fill the dent with ice cubes.
  2. Allow the ice cubes to melt.
  3. Leave the water to absorb overnight.
  4. Blot dry residual dampness with a clean cloth.
  5. Fluff the fibres using your fingers, wire brush, spoon, or similar to match the original pile direction of the carpet.

Steam Iron

  1. Cover the dented area with a clean, colourfast cloth for protection.
  2. Apply steamed heat with an iron.
  3. Fluff the fibres using your fingers, wire brush, spoon, or similar to match the original pile direction of the carpet.

*For deeper dents, you can dampen the cloth prior to ironing.

Blow Dryer

  1. Spritz water onto the affected area with a spray bottle.
  2. Using a hair dryer, blow dry the dent while running your fingers through the fibres until they match the original pile direction of the carpet.

After you have successfully removed the mark using any of these methods, vacuum the affected area to create a uniform finish with the rest of your dent-free carpet!

Visit an  Andersens store near you for more help with maintaining your floor coverings.