Having allergies can be pretty miserable, especially if you can’t relax and get away from allergens even when you’re in your own home. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to reduce the presence of irritants in the air you breathe at home. Implement changes in your current home or as soon as you move into a new house to make your home an allergen-free zone.
Here are eight tips to get you started.
1. Clean up clutter: Dust and other allergens often hide under all of your clutter, so clear away those piles of magazines, books or tackle that spare room that’s become a haven for out-of-place things. Reducing or eliminating clutter is the first step of giving yourself a clean slate. Once you have the clutter taken care of, it’s easier to clean your home on a regular basis to get rid of any allergens that have made their way in. Additionally, you’ll be able to come home to a neat home instead of a place you might not want friends or family to see.
2. Change filters regularly: Air conditioner filters remove allergens from the air as it circulates throughout your home. Change these filters once a month during the summer and winter and every two or three months the rest of the year.
3. Vacuum weekly: Make a point to vacuum carpet and rugs at least once each week, ideally using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap allergens you just removed from the air. If your allergies are especially bad, pulling up carpet in favor of hardwood floors may be a better long-term choice because they don’t hold onto allergens as tightly. If so, damp mop floors once a week to keep dust and pet dander in control.
4. Keep humidity low: Moist conditions invite mold, which is a major allergen. If you have any noticeable mold problems, address them right away. A bleach solution of one cup of bleach per gallon of water should take care of any growth. Afterwards, keep mold at bay by running a de-humidifier, especially in your basement, laundry room, and other areas of your home susceptible to moisture.
5. Keep bedding clean: Use allergen-proof pillow covers and mattress covers to keep your allergies at bay. Allergens like dust mites make their way into your bedding. To get rid of them, wash your sheets every week in hot water (at least 130 degrees).
6. Contain crumbs and food waste: Critters that get into your food waste, including cockroaches and mice, can aggravate your allergies. Use a garbage can with a lid and sweep or wipe up food particles on floors and counters regularly to discourage critters from making your home their home as well.
7. Keep windows closed: Although a spring breeze has a sweet smell and feels great after a cold winter, it also brings pollen and all sorts of environmental allergens into your home. Resist the urge and keep your windows closed during pollen season. If you must open them, do so in the early morning and close them before the allergens hit their peak midday.
8. Dust regularly: Wipe all surfaces in your home with a damp cloth or treated dust rag at least once each week. Resist the temptation to just swipe dust off with a dry rag or feather duster. Dry cloths will just distribute dust particles back into the air rather than removing them from your home. Make your own dusting solution from household products you likely already have on hand, including olive oil and lemon juice.
While you complete these tasks, keep in mind that cleaning often stirs up allergens. Consider wearing a dust mask while you clean and changing your clothes right away when you’re done. The battle against household allergens is ongoing, so it’s important to set up patterns and stick to them. Your home will be cleaner and you’ll be happier.