10 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home
- 10 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your HomeYour home should be your sanctuary. But if you have allergies, health dangers lurk around every corner. Dust mites, mold, roach droppings, and animal dander can trigger overreactions from your immune system, leaving you itching, swelling, and sniffling. Here's how to banish allergens at home so you can be sneeze-free.
- 1. Dry Out Your Dwelling.Dust mites and mold thrive in moisture. Keep humidity in your home lower than 50% with a dehumidifier, air conditioner, or heating system. Look for filters with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating between 8 and 12; filters with higher ratings remove more particles from the air. And change them every three months.
- 2. Check Your Curtains.Allergens collect in places like carpet, curtains, blinds, and upholstered couches and chairs. When you can, choose furnishings that are washable or made from materials such as wood or leather. Otherwise, look for cleaning products that say they'll denature or deactivate dust mites and animal dander.
- 3. Go Carpet-Free.Choose hardwood floors, vinyl, or linoleum instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. If you can't shake your shag, clean it regularly with a vacuum using microfilter bags or a HEPA filter. Steam clean carpets every few months; a study showed that when followed by vacuuming, such cleaning reduced dust mites for eight weeks.
- 4. Tips for Laundry Day.Launder all your bedding—including blankets, sheets, and pillowcases—once a week. First, soak them for four hours in warm water, detergent, and bleach. Then, wash with detergent in water that's at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 5. Create Your Own Cleaning Solution.Odors and fumes from commercial cleaning products can worsen allergies. Make your own solution instead. Mix 2 cups very hot water, 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups borax, and ½ cup salt. Let it sit on bathroom or kitchen surfaces for a half-hour, then reapply, scrub off with a soft brush, and rinse with water.
- 6. Disrupt Dust.Clean your home frequently. Vacuum, dust, and wipe down flat surfaces with a damp cloth or mop. If you have trouble breathing easy while cleaning, wear a dust mask (look for one rated N95 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).
- 7. Know Your Bedding.Mattresses harbor more dust mites than any other spot in your entire house. Choose a spring mattress instead of foam, which the critters seem to prefer. Cover the mattress, box spring, and pillows in airtight, removable covers. For good measure, avoid bedding stuffed with feathers, down, or foam rubber. Vacuum the mattress every time you change bed linens.
- 8. Clear the Air Naturally.You may think plug-in air fresheners or electronic air cleaners clear the air. But they actually may emit harmful pollutants known as volatile organic compounds. It's better to use natural ventilation: Open windows or turn on exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors.
- 9. Pet With Care.If you're allergic to animal dander, try not to get a new pet. But if Fido or Fluffy is already a part of your life, keep him or her out of the bedroom. Bathe pets once a week, and always wash your hands after touching them.
- 10. Get Rid of Roaches.Cockroaches can be frightening—and leave behind droppings that trigger allergy symptoms. To get rid of them, keep your kitchen clean and store food in closed containers. Empty garbage and recycling bins regularly. Set roach traps, and, when needed, call an exterminator.
10 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home