It’s a well-known fact that allergens in the home can trigger allergy symptoms. You know the ones we’re talking about: dust mites, pet dander, cockroach droppings, mold. Carried through the air, allergens can be found on many surfaces in the home. So, let’s work together to help keep your home allergen-free. Check out the following tips! [photo via flickr]
Getting rid of dust is one of the best ways to control indoor allergens. Dust mites thrive in dust and are a common trigger of asthma and allergy symptoms. Dust with a damp or treated cloth to avoid scattering dust. (And, for a fun activity, count the number of times we use the word ‘dust’.)
- Avoid down pillows and comforters since they attract dust mites. If you prefer down, encase mattresses, box springs, comforters, and pillows in allergen-proof covers.
- Use your washer and dryer
- Washing sheets, pillow cases, and blankets once a week in hot water (temperatures lower than 130°F will not kill dust mites) and dry them in a hot dryer. Line drying bedding attracts allergens to the wet material. Wash your pillows once every three months.
- Every month, launder your shower curtain in the washer and dryer. Close the shower curtain after each use to allow it to dry thoroughly and prevent mold and mildew.
- Vacuuming carpeting and furniture with a HEPA vacuum cleaner once or twice weekly can help control allergens. The HEPA filter will trap small particles and prevent them from spreading in the air.
Mold and Mildew
Damp areas like bathrooms and basements are areas where mold and mildew thrive, warns CFMoldInspect.com. Mold spores can also float in the air.
- Run an exhaust fan while bathing and towel-dry the tub or shower after use.
- Scrub tiles and other bathroom surfaces once a week to remove any mold or mildew.
- Run a dehumidifier in the basement to reduce moisture. Humidity levels should be below 50 percent.
- Vacuum frequently (using a vacuum with a HEPA filter)
- Wash your pet at least once a week.
- Keep your pet out of your bedroom and off furniture to limit the spread of the dander.
- Limit pollen from entering your home by keeping windows and doors closed.
- Bathe before bed to wash the pollen of your skin and hair to prevent contaminating your bedding.
- Avoid line drying your clothes.
Cockroach droppings can trigger allergy symptoms, so the best way to prevent the droppings is to, well, prevent the cockroaches.
- Store food in tightly sealed containers and dispose of food scraps, including spills and crumbs, immediately.
- Eliminate cockroaches using traps or baits.
- Regularly clean your home, especially the kitchen, to reduce cockroach droppings.
Green Cleaning Products
Many household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can trigger allergy symptoms.
- Switch to cleaners that are plant-based or have other natural ingredients.
- Homemade cleaning solutions with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon are natural, less expensive replacements for harsh chemicals.