10 Easy Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home
Reducing allergens in your home can help you breathe easier and keep your allergies under control. Fortunately, there are several simple and inexpensive ways to do so; all you need to do is take the first step toward reducing allergens in your home today! Follow these 10 easy ways to reduce allergens in your home, and say goodbye to congestion, coughing, runny noses, and itchy eyes forever!
Dust can cause allergic reactions, especially among those with sensitive skin. If you’re one of them, and sneezing after dusting is a problem, use a damp cloth instead of a broom or vacuum. The water will eliminate allergens while leaving little mess behind.
Filters help keep allergens and irritants out of your home. You can replace air filters once every month or two and vacuum filters at least once a year. Filters trap dust, dander, dirt, hair and other small particles that can cause allergic reactions and rashes. Vacuum cleaner bags should be replaced regularly; they are specially designed to trap as much dust as possible. But if you have allergies or skin sensitivity problems, you’ll want to make sure that you frequently check your filter for any indication of dust buildup—even if it’s not time for a replacement—to prevent triggering an allergic reaction or rash.
Vacuum cleaners are only as effective as their vacuum bags. This is especially true if you have pets or children since pet dander and dust mites love to nestle themselves into vacuum bags. If you have sensitive skin, sneezing often, or an itchy throat at night, empty your vacuum bag every time you use it. That’s easier said than done when you’re short on time and patience—but trust us: It’s worth it! It can be a lot of work, but vacuuming with a clean bag will remove up to 80 percent of pet dander from your home.
Check your vacuum cleaner’s bags regularly
This seems like a no-brainer, but many vacuum owners don’t realize they should be changing their bags or filters regularly. And forget about dust bunnies; if you have allergies, it’s likely you are sensitive to a larger number of allergens than non-allergic people, so even a small amount of dust and debris can cause sneezing fits and rashes. Vacuum bags usually need replacing every 3–6 months; filters, depending on your model, should be replaced after 2–3 months of use. Ensure your vacuum is empty before removing either—keep that dust from blowing around!
Wash pillows, sheets, duvets, and duvet covers
Many people are allergic to house dust mites and their waste. One way to reduce your exposure is by washing all of your bedding once a week—you can do it more often if you have allergies or asthma. Make sure you use water hot enough (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill any dust mites living on your sheets. Pillows, duvets, and duvet covers should be washed at least once every three months. Also, consider taking pillows outside and beating them with a stick as they are naturally full of dust, dust mites, dander, and other allergens (smoke detector batteries).
Keep pets out of bedrooms
Pets can often be seen as cute and cuddly companions, but they can also cause problems when they’re allowed into your bedroom. Dust mites and other allergens are common problem-makers when it comes to allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin. For an easy solution, keep pets out of your bedroom—and give them a warm place to sleep that doesn’t cause you trouble. You might also want to wash your sheets and blankets regularly (at least every couple of weeks) for even more protection against dust mites and other potential allergens.
Keep windows closed when vacuuming
Vacuuming stirs up lots of dust and particles, so if you’re trying to reduce allergens in your home, you should leave windows closed when vacuuming. This can help reduce dust from circulating around your home and prevent allergens from floating into other rooms while you clean. Open windows again after vacuuming; letting a breeze into your home can help ventilate dust that settles on furniture and floors.
Wash frequently touched surfaces
Germs are like dust; they stick to everything and anything. We touch so many things throughout our day that it’s nearly impossible not to pick up a few germs. However, those germs don’t just live on our hands but on the surfaces, we touch too. And if you think about how many surfaces you touch every day – from doorknobs to kitchen counters – that means your home has more germs than you can possibly imagine. To reduce allergens at home, clean frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, and faucets with a disinfectant spray or wipes daily.
Ventilate the room with a dehumidifier or air purifier when vacuuming
When you vacuum, it’s important to open a window and use an exhaust fan. Otherwise, you could be recirculating allergens throughout your home. Some air purifiers even have a HEPA filter—an acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air—which filters out airborne particles from cleaning and dusting products. If you use one of these, make sure it’s placed near where you clean so that you aren’t recirculating all those particles into other parts of your home.
Wash toys, stuffed animals, and books often
A pet may spend much of its time outdoors, but that doesn’t mean all its fur will fall off just because it went for a walk. When your pet spends most of its time indoors, as is common with cats and dogs, it can easily bring allergens into your home. Cats shed hair constantly, even if they aren’t quite so affectionate about sitting on your lap (like Dusty). Dogs also shed hair—and even dander—all year long and are particularly prone to shedding during springtime when their undercoats grow. Both Fido and Fluffy love a good game of fetch outside, but they will also be tracking dirt inside on their paws.