Allergies can be a constant nuisance, especially when it seems there's no way to escape those pesky allergens. Fortunately, there are a number of precautions that can help mitigate the problem. Bedding covers, washable blinds, and air filters are a few products that may help defend you against allergens. It can also be helpful to avoid materials that carry allergens, such as upholstery and carpet. Simple habits like bathing before bed and keeping the windows closed can do wonders to protect your home during allergy season. Read on for insightful tips and tricks to help allergy-proof your home.
Wash Your Curtains And Blinds
The windows can be an easy area to overlook when cleaning the home. While it seems obvious to wash your bedding frequently, it may be less apparent that your curtains are in need of a clean.
Blinds and curtains collect all sorts of allergens from both inside and outside the home. To help assuage allergies, be sure to wash these items regularly. There are even special blinds that you can throw into the washing machine to simplify the process.
Switch Out Carpeting For Hard Floors
Though carpeting was all the rage a few decades ago, that preference changed for many people on account of hygiene. Carpets are masterful at trapping allergens. It can be a challenge to thoroughly clean carpets, and the process of vacuuming can aggravate allergies as pesky particles infiltrate the air.
The most fool-proof solution is to rip out that carpet and replace it with hardwood, tile, linoleum, or any other hard surface floors that are easier to clean. Additionally, be sure to wash your area rugs frequently.
Avoid Upholstered Furniture
When it comes to furniture, upholstered materials are a popular choice for their comfort, but they may be aggravating your allergies. That's because the material can easily trap dust mites, pet dander, and other irritants.
Instead, opt for furniture that is made out of wood, leather, metal, or plastic. If sticking with upholstered items is the only option, be sure to vacuum it every time you dust. It would also be wise to get the furniture professionally cleaned every so often. Reupholstering is an option, as well.
Wash And Cover Your Bedding
When it comes to allergies, it's vital to ensure that the place where you sleep isn't riddled with pesky allergens. Try using dust-mite-proof covers on pillows and mattresses to mitigate allergic reactions.
It is also a good idea to wash your bedding weekly. Not only can allergens collect in your bed, but they can end up being carried there by your clothing. When cleaning comforters and sheets, be sure that the temperature is as hot as possible so the allergens don't survive the wash.
Get A High-Quality Air Filter
When it comes to air filters, not all are created equally. That's why it's important to opt for one that is sure to collect the allergens that are causing trouble. HEPA filters are very thorough, as they claim to collect 99.97% of air particles.
The filter collects particles like dust and pet dander and it also effectively sanitizes the air. With fewer particles floating around, your surfaces won't need a thorough cleaning quite as often.
Keep The Windows Closed
Allergy season tends to happen just when the weather is starting to warm up, so it can be tempting to prop open all the windows. While fresh air is wonderful, it can also be loaded with allergens like pollen.
Instead, keep the windows closed and take advantage of your air conditioner. Fans and air filters can be a great combo to help circulate the air and collect lingering allergens. Additionally, be sure that you clean the windows frequently to keep them free of mold which can also irritate allergies.
Be Wary Of Houseplants
While food and pet allergens are often at the forefront of concern, plant allergies are also commonplace. The Flonase Allergy Relief website warns that ferns, yucca, ivy, palm tree, and weeping fig are amongst the most common plant allergens.
They add that the peace lily, marginata, and Chinese evergreen tend to be some of the best plants for allergy sufferers. If you do find yourself reacting to a house plant, it may be worthwhile to move it somewhere outside.
Clean And Replace Items In The Bathroom
The bathroom seems like an obvious place to keep clean, but it can be easy to forget that tubs need a scrubbing, too. The bottom of a shower curtain and a bathroom window sill are a couple of examples of easily-overlooked areas that can become plagued with allergens.
From the back corners underneath the sink to the bottom of bathroom mats, allergens can hide in tricky places. Be sure to scour away mold with bleach and replace items as soon as it becomes necessary.
Declutter Your Home
The more items that are left out around the house, the more places there are for allergens to cling to or hide under. Since hygiene is an important factor in allergy prevention, having a home full of knick-knacks and clutter means having to spend far more time cleaning.
Spring cleaning is a perfect opportunity to get rid of some unnecessary items just in time for allergy season. As far as the things you can't part with, try to keep them tucked away in drawers or storage containers.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
As much as we've harped on a hygienic home as the key to allergy relief, it's worth mentioning that cleaning products might be a culprit. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology warns that the harsh chemicals found in some products may increase allergic irritations.
Disinfecting with natural items like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon may be worth trying if stubborn allergy symptoms aren't going away. Utilizing these alternatives can also help reduce the number of chemicals you breathe in while cleaning.
Wash Off Before Laying In Bed
Throughout the day, you may not realize that allergens have collected in your hair and on your skin. Even after changing your clothes before bed, there still could be a plethora of allergens that end up in your sheets.
Another benefit of bathing before bed is that the steam can do wonders for your allergies. Additionally, a shower can help loosen up any congestion and leave you feeling renewed and ready to slumber.
Don't Let The Dishes Stack Up
After preparing a meal at the end of a long day, it can be tempting to leave the dishes stacked in the sink. While putting them off for a day or two might not do much harm, the sooner you clean them, the less likely they'll cause an allergic reaction.
Dishes that are left in the sink for too long are susceptible to growing mold and attracting insects, two things that could trigger an allergic reaction.
Keep The Cabinets Clean
One area of the kitchen that you may not think to clean is the cabinets. Like anywhere in the house, they can collect dust and other allergens. Additionally, be sure that dishes are thoroughly dry before putting them away as a precaution against mold.
While countertops often receive a lot of attention, be sure that you remove the appliances and give them a thorough wipe-down every so often. Mold, crumbs, and other particles can be hidden in nooks and crannies and go unnoticed.
Keep Your Fridge Mold-Free
Depending on how full your refrigerator remains, it may be easy to miss that it's time to give it a clean. By the time you remove all of the items from the fridge and empty out the drawers, you may be shocked at how much spilled liquid and crumbs went unnoticed.
Moisture and old food can promote the growth of mold, which may cause an allergic reaction every time you go to grab something to eat.
Avoid Wood-Burning Fireplaces
Like harsh chemicals in cleaning products, the smoke from wood-burning fireplaces can aggravate allergies. Natural gas fireplaces don't have this problem and are cheaper and less maintenance.
One thing that you don't get from a natural gas fireplace is the crackling sound of burning wood. But considering that they are easier to handle and don't have the potential to irritate allergies, it's worth the small sacrifice. Additionally, natural gas creates fewer pollutants than burning wood does.
Opt For A Ducted Range Hood
Range hoods are a necessary part of any kitchen, but the ducted ones are especially helpful when it comes to allergies. The primary difference between a ducted and a ductless range hood is where the air goes after it is filtered through the hood.
A ducted range hood connects to pipes that transport the air outside. But since they are limited in where they can be placed, some homes have a ductless range hood instead. This variation recycles air back into the room, along with allergens and smoke.
Moderate Your Home's Temperature
Allergens like dust mites and mold do best in warm, moist areas. So, controlling the environment inside your home can be a helpful way to reduce allergies. Keep the AC or heat set to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
It's also vital to change the filters in your cooling and heating systems regularly to ensure there aren't any trapped allergens being blown through the house. Additionally, it may be worth getting a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air, especially in homes that have a basement.
Keep Your Bathroom Well Ventilated
We've already mentioned keeping the bathroom clean in all of its nooks and crannies. But another important practice for allergy sufferers is to ensure that the bathroom is well ventilated.
Since the bathroom is full of moisture after a shower or bath, it can be a breeding ground for mold and other allergens. Ensure that the bathrooms have a properly functioning exhaust fan. In addition, or alternatively, you can give the bathroom a good wipe down after bathing.
Some of the allergy symptoms you're experiencing may not even be from allergens. WebMD reports that fungus hidden in wallpaper can lead to airborne toxins. When inhaled, these toxins can cause something called "sick building syndrome."
Like the name implies, the syndrome occurs when someone becomes sick for an unidentifiable reason after living in a building. The symptoms can sometimes look like allergies, so it may be worth having wallpaper inspecting or removed if the illness persists.
Empty And Clean The Trash Regularly
Trash cans are likely the most-avoided thing in the house for obvious reasons. While garbage can be a pain to deal with, the more often you can take out the trash, the better.
It's easy for trash bags to tear or slip down, allowing moisture and bacteria to buildup at the bottom of the container. Taking out the trash frequently can help mitigate mold growth. It can also help prevent the attraction of insects that are common allergens.