If someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, you will want to take steps to eliminate the triggers in your home environment that make them miserable.
- If you’re short on time, the most important room to target for improving your home’s allergy environment is the bedroom. It’s where you spend a large part of your time, and sleep is a good recovery time for allergy sufferers.
- Microscopic dust mites are a strong allergen and they feed on dead skin flakes. This is why it is so important to encase and regularly clean your bedding to protect against dust mite allergens.
- Use breathable allergen and mite-proof covers for your mattresses, box-springs, pillows, and comforters, and you should wash these regularly (see types, costs, and reviews of mattress covers).
- Vacuum your mattresses regularly with a HEPA equipped filter to remove microscopic dust mites and other allergens.
- At least once a week, wash pillowcases, sheets, and blankets in very hot water (at least 130 degrees F) and dry them in a hot dryer to kill dust mites.
- If you have fur-bearing pets, you should keep them out of your bedrooms, and consider either getting a whole-house or a portable HEPA air filtration system to help reduce the increased dander and allergens that are circulated by these pets.
- Remove carpeting and rugs from your bedrooms. Or if this is not practical, then vacuum them once or twice a week.
- Carpeting and rugs are a haven for dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander. Carpeting also absorbs fumes from household cleaning products, kitchen grease, insecticides, and cigarette smoke. This is why it is so important to routinely vacuum and clean carpets and rugs throughout your home.
- Have your carpets professionally cleaned every six months, either by vapor steam cleaning (not hot water steam cleaning) or by dry cleaning.
- Regularly vacuum your upholstered furniture to remove dust and allergens, and the remnants of dust mites.
- Both mold and dust mites spread rapidly if your home is above 50% relative humidity. Running your AC will lower your home’s humidity. But if areas of your home are still above 50%, you should consider getting a dehumidifier (see types, costs, and reviews of dehumidifiers).
- Use a humidity gauge (a “hygrometer”) to monitor the relative humidity in areas throughout your house to ensure that they all stay below 50% to reduce dust mites and mold growth (see types, costs, and reviews of hygrometers).
- Immediately fix water leaks and improve ventilation to eliminate any damp areas around your home. Damp areas will become a breeding ground for molds, pests, and allergens.
- Air purifiers, while very helpful, are alone not enough to remove allergens from your home. They need to be combined with a rigorous routine cleaning and vacuuming regime.
- Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter. Allergists recommend HEPA-filter vacuums because they can trap microscopic dust mites and other small allergen particles (see types, costs, and reviews of HEPA filters).
- Use filters with the highest MERV rating that is recommended for your AC and heating system. The higher the MERV rating the smaller the allergen that it can filter out. But do not use filters with MERV ratings lower than “8” if someone in your home has allergies.
- When dusting, use only microfiber dusting cloths that capture dust and allergens, rather than allowing them to be kicked back up into the air (see types, costs, and reviews of microfiber dusters).
- Wear a respirator mask when cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, or painting is being done around your home (see types, costs, and reviews of respirator masks).
- Don’t store clothing or cardboard items in the basement, as they attract moisture which can lead to mold and pest infestations.
- Avoid keeping magazines or other reading materials in your bathroom, as they can attract mold in the humid bathroom environment. If you do keep reading materials in a bathroom, then try to at least change them out frequently. And finally,
- Keep the floorboards of your car clean and dry, otherwise, these areas can begin building mold and allergens, which you’ll breathe when driving, and can track into your home when you walk in.
We hope these 21 tips have given you some helpful ideas for how to allergy-proof your home.