If you have allergies, you probably already know that pollen and mold aren’t the only allergies that can have you sniffling, sneezing, or gasping for breath. Staying inside while mold and pollen counts are high can protect you from those irritants, but it can’t protect you from what’s lurking in your home – pet dander, dust mites, and chemicals.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your home, and your indoor air, clean and as free of allergens as possible. Installing HEPA filters on your home’s HVAC system is one crucial step you can take towards ridding your home of allergens, but there’s a lot more you can do.
In fact, ridding your home of the sources of allergens is the best way to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
1) Vacuum at Least Once a Week
Vacuuming your floors with a high-quality, certified asthma and allergy friendly vacuum removes dust, mold and mildew spores, pet hair and dander, and dust mites from your floors and carpeting. Vacuum carpet and bare floors – it’s much more effective than sweeping.
Don’t forget to vacuum your upholstered furniture.
If you can, have a family member who isn’t allergic or asthmatic do the vacuuming – vacuums can kick up dust that will aggravate allergies and asthma. The affected person should leave the home while the cleaning is taking place, and for a few hours afterward.
If there’s no choice but for the affected person to do the vacuuming – if, for example, you’re the affected person, you live alone, and you can’t afford a cleaning lady – wear long sleeves, and a mask or clean bandana over your face. Use a damp cloth for dusting, or a microfiber dusting cloth that traps dirt.
2) Use Hypoallergenic Bedding and Bedding Covers
You spend one-third of your life in your bed, and your mattress and bedclothes can quickly accumulate pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens.
If you sleep with that stuff all night, you won’t feel great in the morning. You won’t be sleeping well, and your symptoms will be flaring up.
Invest in a hypoallergenic mattress, and a hypoallergenic mattress cover to keep dust mites out.
An organic mattress is a naturally hypoallergenic option – they’re made without chemicals, so that’s one less thing to trigger your allergies. An organic mattress may also be naturally hypoallergenic – look for one made with natural latex, which has antimicrobial properties.
3) Keep Windows Closed
It seems like a no-brainer, but open windows will let pollen into your home.
Keep them closed, especially when pollen and mold counts are high. Use your air conditioning in the summer to keep humidity levels in your home low – that will prevent the growth of mold and keep dust mites in check, too.
4) Reduce Indoor Mold
Mold will grow anywhere in your home where there is moisture, such as in the bathroom or kitchen, or even in a dank basement.
As previously mentioned, controlling humidity in your home will help control mold. Dehumidifiers are good for reducing mold and dust mites, and humidity monitors can help you keep track of your indoor humidity.
To find the dehumidifier, check out a selection guide from the unclutterer that will help you to choose the perfect one for your home.
Reduce moisture in your bathroom by avoiding running the shower unless you’re in it.
Wipe up spilled water in the bathroom and kitchen immediately.
Fix leaks right away, and clean up mold as soon as you see it, using a bleach solution. Take it easy on the house plants – they can be a source of humidity in the home, too, if you have a lot of them, and they can also produce allergens, just like plants outdoors.
5) Prevent or Reduce Pet Dander
If you’re allergic to pet dander, the best solution is to simply not keep a pet – no pets with feathers or fur is the rule of thumb most doctors subscribe to. But for some people, a life without pets is just too joyless.
Control pet dander by replacing your wall-to-wall carpeting with low-pile carpet or, best of all, bare floors – that way you can mop up all pet dander instead of living with some of it forever embedded in your carpet.
Keep your pets out of your bedroom, as pet dander in your bed can cause flare-ups.
Change your bedding once a week to keep it as dander-free as possible. Wash your pet’s bedding and toys often, and regularly wash curtains, blankets, stuffed animals, furniture upholstery, and anything else that might collect dander.
Allergies can be difficult to live with, but with diligence and care, you can minimize their impact on your life by keeping your home allergy-friendly. Regular cleaning, hypoallergenic bedding, and a pet-free lifestyle could keep your allergy symptoms completely at bay – or, if nothing else, at least manageable.