Posts tagged with "Hypoallergenic"

Design and cleanliness story illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 magazine

COVID GUIDANCE: The importance of TOP-DOWN CLEANING

Robin Wilson launched Robin Wilson Home in 2000 and created a conglomerate that covers eco-design, licensed products, interior design, and real estate development. Her brand has generated over $82 million in wholesale revenue from sales of cabinetry and textiles. She became the first Black woman with a line of hypoallergenic textiles sold nationwide at Bed Bath & Beyond (now in Wal-Mart), among other retailers. Her book, CLEAN DESIGN: Wellness for your Lifestyle was #1 on Amazon and focused on eco-friendly designs and hypoallergenic products for consumers.

Recently, the lifestyle expert introduced the practical aspect of Top-Down Cleaning. In this era of quarantines and lock downs, the last thing anyone wants to do is add to our work load – and a few simple tips will help you maintain a clean and healthier living space!

The Statistics

Sixty million Americans – that is one in five of us – have asthma and allergies. We sneeze, sniffle, and itch. Expose us to a whiff of dust, a gust of pollen, a sniff of perfume, or an encounter with an inquisitive dog or cat, and before we know it, our airways start to close up, and we begin to cough, wheeze or struggle to breathe.

With COVID in the air, the last thing we need is an inflammatory response. So cleaning your space has never been more important. Remember that asthma and allergies cannot be cured, but they can be managed. We can reduce symptoms by avoiding the allergens that trigger them. Unfortunately, the average home is full of allergy and asthma triggers, which means the place that should be your sanctuary can be a major source of allergenic triggers.

What is Top-Down Cleaning?

Most people create twice the cleaning work by first cleaning the floor, softa, tabletop or countertop and then cleaning the lights, ceiling fan or cabinets – only to see dust drift downward.

Solution: Clean from the top-to-bottom. In fact, if you have a second level, start upstairs and then work your way downstairs. Start at the highest point and make sure you have the following tools: paper towels, microstatic dust mitt/cloth, microstatic duster/floor sweeper, HEPA vacuum and a non-toxic cleaning solution. Cleaning solutions should include: baking soda, vinegar, toothpaste and Coca Cola.

Starting at the Top

We forget that walls are one of the largest surfaces in our spaces. Use a microstatic duster cloth/mitt to rub gently along the walls starting at the ceiling line and let the dust fall. As well, make sure to swipe over light receptables, ceiling fans or chandeliers.

Surfaces

Then clean the surfaces, starting with the highest-level lamp, bookcase, window treatments, cabinet or closet shelf. Allow dust/dirt to fall. As you work you way down, you will find that you need to vacuum or wipe down surfaces.

As mentioned earlier, there are a few tricks that involve cleaning solutions that are non-toxic.

1.       Toilet Ring Solution: Pour Coca Cola into your toilet overnight, and use toilet brush in the morning and the stubborn ring will disappear (may have to be repeated dependent on the level of stain) by morning.

2.       Crayon Marks: Use toothpaste. Smear on the mark and let sit for about 20 minutes. Using light brush strokes, and the crayon should be removed, or at least diminished.

3.       Stained Baking Sheets: to make them look new, use vinegar and baking soda. Coat pan with baking soda. Pour a layer of white vinegar on top. You may see slight bubbling. Let sit for 4 hours. Use gloves and a brush in circular motion. Watch the surface start to look new.

Finish at the Floor

The last thing that you need to do in your space is clean the floor.

1.       Make sure to invest in a HEPA filter vacuum as the dust and dirt is stored in a chamber (unlike older vacuum units that sometimes-added dust back into the space), and the canister can be emptied outside.

2.       Before you clean, you might want to make sure that you remove rugs and shake them outside.

3.       Run a microstatic dust cloth over the floor before you vacuum so that you can ensure that minimal dust flies around.

One tech solution that many working from home families are investing is an electronic robot vacuum that can be programmed to work during the day in various rooms. Some floor robot vacuums have HEPA filters, and can be a great option if you have a pet and want to make sure to limit buildup of dander and hair on your floor.

[SIDE BAR] For a space that follows CLEAN DESIGN protocols, it is important to replace a few items:

1.       Change your older model vacuum to a HEPA vacuum to effectively limit dust in the space. Especially important if your home is near any location that had recent fires.

2.       Change your vinyl shower liner to a nylon shower liner to minimize mold.

3.       Review the window treatments and find options that can be laundered and are not ‘dust catchers’ or which can be easily vacuumed.

4.       Replace your pillow after 3 years if it has not been washed frequently or covered with a zippered liner.

5.       Think about using your window screens so that you can open your windows for 5 minutes daily.

SIDEBAR

Leading triggers include:

  • Dust mites in beds and pillows
  • Dander from pets
  • Mold growth in walls, bathrooms and basements
  • Pollen from outdoor trees and grasses in your hair that infiltrates your sleep space or living room sofa
  • Fumes from cooking and chemical cleaners
  • Toxic or environmentally unfriendly building materials that permeate indoor air

Remember, you can change that by using the strategies in the book, Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle (Greenleaf, 2015). Create a healthy home environment that manages indoor air quality and protect your family from dust, mold, pollen, fumes, odors, airborne toxins, chemicals and other substances. Create a home environment that nurtures good health.

According to the American Lung Association, “poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer…headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue” in anyone, not just those who suffer from asthma and allergies. We can all benefit from living in a more pure home environment.

More physicians are convinced that there is a link between environmental toxins, indoor air quality and allergies. Chemicals we are exposed to in our homes and offices have the power to make us sick, and we can improve our health and wellness using Clean Design principles.

Shopping for Hypoallergenic Options

The pandemic made both me and my clients realize that the CLEAN DESIGN HOME which sells our retail products is more important than ever – and that we should find non-toxic cleaning options and information for day-to-day living, especially since so many of us are working from home. I have pivoted to focus on building out the product line, and have just licensed our brand. So much information involves simple non-toxic options– the ideas are rooted in my bestselling book, Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle.

About Robin Wilson

Her design projects including the White House Fellows office, a part of President Clinton’s Harlem office, and the rustic beach cottage of Robert DeNiro – each project had a very quick turnaround and exacting standards. She was named to the Top 100 Female Founders List in 2020 by INC magazine. Her eponymous licensed brands of textiles is sold at retail and hospitality. She is also in the process of creating Design+Build projects. She is author of two award-winning books: Clean Design She is the first woman with a branded line of custom cabinetry that was sold by over 400 independent kitchen dealers nationwide (2009-2018). First featured in Oprah’s magazines and extensive media coverage since 2005. In May 2013, her furniture line, Nest Home by Robin Wilson, premiered at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. In 2014, she partnered with consumer products giant Panasonic to promote their latest line of cutting edge products for the home.She is an ambassador to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, and previously served on the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

COVID Mask Care illustration by Mina Tocalini

Mask Care

Board-Certified Dermatologist Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., from Uptown Dermatology in Houston, TX discusses the best ways to adapt your skincare routine when wearing a mask, ways to avoid ‘mask-ne’ and her top tips to help avoid skin irritation caused by masks.

How can a mask potentially cause irritation on the skin? Masks trap sweat and moisture which along with friction from the fabric can disrupt the skin’s protective barrier. This can result in irritation of the skin. Residue from laundry detergent can also become embedded in the fabric and cause further irritation. It is best to use a hypoallergenic detergent such as Arm and Hammer Free and Clear Sensitive Skin.

What kind of masks is best to wear right now? The best masks will contain several layers of fabric. Cotton is the best fabric on the inner lining touching the skin because it is less irritating than synthetic materials. Masks should be washed every day in hot water with laundry detergent and white vinegar (has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties) and dried on higher heat settings in the dryer. Detergents with fragrances can leave residue in the fabric, which can also cause a rash in people with sensitive skin.

What skincare routines should one pick up in order to keep their skin healthy? Wearing too many products under the mask, which can cause build up on the skin. Make sure to keep a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid gel to spot treat pimples and also try to cut down on carbohydrate and sugar intake which can also cause breakouts. Wash face twice a day, before and after wearing the mask. Acne prone individuals may benefit from cleansers that contain salicylic acid. Avoid heavy moisturizers and makeup in the areas covered by the mask. Assuming skin is not too sensitive, if not already using one, this is a good time to start a retinol cream or gel – start several nights a week with a pea sized amount, and gradually increase the frequency.

Scandic Hotels introduces standard for allergy-friendly rooms

Scandic is the world’s first hotel to introduce a standard for allergy-friendly rooms. This means guests booking the rooms can expect careful attention including wooden floors, and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic toiletries by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association. Rooms are also prepared according to strict cleaning procedures and aren’t near the pet-friendly rooms. This new standard will be a part of Scandic’s unique 159-point accessibility standard.

More than 150 million people in Europe* have some type of allergy. Most of them probably do not need specific allergy-friendly hotel rooms. But the fact is that more people are asking for more allergy-friendly options at hotels.

Scandic launched its accessibility standard in 2005. Since then, the standard has attracted attention and been used the world over. The standard has now been broadened from 135 to 159 points to include a new category with strict guidelines to meet the needs of travelers with allergies.

There’s a clear demand for the accessibility solutions we offer and we get many requests to make guests’ stays more allergy-friendly. We’ve also already seen how successful our allergy-friendly “breakfast for all” has been. Our goal now is for all Scandic hotels to offer at least two allergy-friendly rooms within a year, says Magnus Berglund, Director of Accessibility at Scandic.

During the spring, Scandic will also release an updated version of its award-winning online accessibility course. The online accessibility course was originally developed for Scandic’s 18,000 team members as an integral part of Scandic’s accessibility initiatives, since interacting with and serving guests is the most important consideration, regardless of their needs. The course is available on Scandic’s website so everyone can learn more about how to provide high-quality service to people with accessibility needs.

We’re always working to find solutions to make our hotels more accessible. While we’ve offered allergy-friendly rooms at Scandic for some time, we’re particularly proud that they’re now part of our accessibility standard. And the fact that our online course is widely used by others in the hospitality industry to improve service also gives us high marks.

Accessibility at Scandic

Since 2003, Scandic has been focusing on making its hotels accessible so they can welcome all guests regardless of their needs. Today, Scandic is the only hotel company in the world that provides information on how accessible each hotel is on their particular hotel sites at scandichotels.com. Scandic is also the only hotel company to have formulated an accessibility standard that currently covers 159 points, 105 of which are mandatory at all hotels. At newly built Scandic hotels, all 159 points apply.

Scandic also applies a “design for all” concept. Design for all means that an accessible room should be designed just as well as any other room, with smart solutions that are barely noticeable except to the people who need them