After discovering my child developed itchy hives all over his body, who would have thought that slow vacuuming would help with minimizing his allergies!?

About two and a half years ago, my son, who was four years old at the time, developed itchy hives all over his body. He was covered every where that his clothes weren’t. It was baffling. He had a clear, hive-free body where his shirt and shorts had been on his skin. But the rest of him was red! Then, over a few days, it spread. It covered every inch of him and he was miserable. Nothing had changed in our home or in his diet. We had all the detergents and soaps and he ate all the same foods. So what was happening?! We finally made a trip to the allergist and had a bunch of testing done. What we found out dramatically changed how we lived.

After many scratch tests and blood testing and diet elimination and food tracking, we found out the my sweet boy was allergic to cats (whew, we didn’t have one of those) and dust mites. DUST MITES. Let me tell you something about dust mites. They are everywhere. They are in your carpet, on your curtains, digging around in your bedding. They are almost unavoidable. But I still tried really hard to avoid them. I cleaned and vacuumed and wiped and dusted. My little guy was too young to start allergy shots, so he was using mild soaps, steroid oils, calming lotions, and daily allergy medication. He was miserable. If we went almost anywhere, he had a crazy outbreak of hives because a lot of people carry dust mites and/or cat dander. It was heartbreaking.

Art of Slow Vacuuming
Empty – Before Slow Vacuuming (but after regular vacuuming)

In an effort to find new ways to clean the house, I got new dusters, a HEPA filter vacuum, and the boys got brand new mattresses. Apparently dust mites love dwelling in mattresses. I topped those mattresses in allergen-proof covers. They are tightly woven slip-on covers that make it hard for dust mites to penetrate.  I also joined a few very large cleaning groups on Facebook. I wanted to be sure I was doing everything I could. That’s when I came across Slow Vacuuming. I didn’t get it at first, but once I tried it, I was hooked. It’s easy to do, though it’s time consuming. But I promise, if you try this, you will be AMAZED.

Art of Slow Vacuuming

Vacuuming our living room

First of all, go ahead and vacuum your carpeted floor as you normally would. It takes just a few minutes to do my living room. It’s not a large space. Now that you’ve completed that chore, empty the canister and do it again. Only this time, sloooooooow waaaaayyyy down. It takes me maybe three or four times as long to slow vacuum. Just proceed in straight, but slightly diagonal lines so you make a series of V’s or W’s. Push your vacuum as slow as you can, so slow that you have no need to move your feet for the first several seconds. You want as much suction on the carpet as possible. Allow your vacuum to sit on your carpet as long as you can.

In that thirty minutes that it took me to slow vacuum my living room that first time, I filled the canister. This was a room that I vacuumed almost daily. A floor that I let my kids play on. It filled the canister with dust and dirt. I was shocked and disgusted. No wonder my son was breaking out into hives all the time!

Every time I vacuumed, I did it slowly. I was obsessed. I wanted a dust-free home. I wanted relief for my itchy little boy. I felt that this method would help achieve that goal. There are lots of other ways to reduce allergies in the home too. Implementing some of these are proven to help too.

Slow Vacuuming and Minimizing Allergies

Now that he is nearly seven and has been getting regular allergy shots, he has almost no outbreaks. His skin is clear and his “itchy spots” have vanished. He can sleep well at night and we don’t have to explain that the red spots that probably resembled the plague or some kind of pox that covered his skin weren’t contagious. I don’t slow vacuum every day like I used to, but I still try to do it every once in a while so I can have the satisfaction of seeing extra dust and dirt in the canister. I want to keep my kids as safe and healthy as possible, so if that means it takes me an hour to vacuum my relatively small house, I’ll do it!


What do you think about slow vacuuming? Are you going to try it? Is it a waste of time? Let me know if you did it and what you thought!

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