Cat dander, the flakes of dead skin that you cat sheds, contain allergens. For those with allergies, 15 to 30 per cent of them have allergic reactions to cats or dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Cat dander in the home can cause symptoms ranging from sneezing or itchy eyes to chronic asthma. By thoroughly cleaning your home of dander, you can alleviate your allergies. Take steps to not only clean the dander, but also to prevent dander from building up in your home.
Vacuum your carpets using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Using a vacuum without a HEPA filter may make the dander airborne (in the vacuum's blow back), worsening your allergies. Vacuum furniture, bedding and bed mattresses, to remove traces of cat dander. Repeat this process weekly to keep dander levels at a minimum.
Steam clean your carpets using an anti-allergen solution to neutralise the cat dander. These products will not only remove the allergens by washing them away, but also negate the harmful effects on those allergic to them. You can also use a natural, enzymatic pet solution in your carpet steamer that targets organic material, stains and odours. Use the steam cleaner on your upholstered furniture and any other surfaces you cannot remove and wash. For those who own cats, you will want to do this at least once a month.
Wash curtains, drapes, slipcovers, table coverings and bedding items in hot water with a mild detergent or an anti-allergen washing powder. Do the same with pet bedding, blankets and any other items your cat regularly sits on. For pet bedding, use either a mild detergent or enzymatic pet cleaner. Clean all washable items once a week.
Dust all surfaces, including furniture, in your home with electrostatic cloths to pick up the cat dander. Dampen the cloth slightly with a spray bottle filled with one cup of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Use a dime-sized amount of olive oil on a cloth to shine wooden surfaces after removing dander.
Wipe down walls and baseboards with a solution of two parts water and one part anti-allergen cleaner or one part vinegar to two parts water. Airborne cat dander can stick to any surface in your home, including the walls.
Mop floors with a mixture of water and an anti-allergen floor cleaner or one part vinegar to two parts water. For wood floors, use a slightly damp mop so you do not saturate the wood, and use a wood floor cleaner.
Clean mirrors and windows with a glass cleaner or with one part vinegar and three parts water. Use the vinegar solution on kitchen surfaces and granite.
Change your air conditioning or furnace filter with one specially designed for those with allergies, such as an electrostatic filter. You can use permanent or disposable filters, but remember to change disposable filters every two to three months.
Line air vents with cheesecloth to prevent the build-up and dispersion of cat dander in your home. Change or wash the cheesecloth monthly to remove dander build-up.
Wash your cat with a mild pet shampoo and brush its fur daily to keep dander at a minimum. Confine your cat to a bathroom or in a kitchen sink to prevent it from running away while bathing.
Wear a dust mask while you clean to ensure you do not breathe in any dander. Run a HEPA air filter in your home to help reduce airborne cat dander. If possible, remove carpeting from your home to prevent the sticky dander from building up in the carpet fibres. Spray an anti-allergen spray around your home daily to neutralise any remaining airborne cat dander. Put mattresses and pillows in special allergy-proof material covers. Clean cat litter boxes daily and wash them weekly. When you come into your home, remove your shoes so you do not track dander into your home.
Tips and warnings
- Wear a dust mask while you clean to ensure you do not breathe in any dander.
- Run a HEPA air filter in your home to help reduce airborne cat dander.
- If possible, remove carpeting from your home to prevent the sticky dander from building up in the carpet fibres.
- Spray an anti-allergen spray around your home daily to neutralise any remaining airborne cat dander.
- Put mattresses and pillows in special allergy-proof material covers.
- Clean cat litter boxes daily and wash them weekly.
- When you come into your home, remove your shoes so you do not track dander into your home.