There are many medications out there designed to help you feel better once you start experiencing allergy symptoms, but why not just prevent the symptoms altogether with a comprehensive allergen control plan? To avoid allergy triggers while at home, follow these tips for banishing dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smoke, mold, and other household allergens.
In the Living Room
The key to allergy-proofing your home is to think like an allergen, and then extensively clean all the places where allergens tend to linger. Examples include carpeting, upholstery, curtains, blinds, wall hangings, shelves, and knickknacks. Twice weekly carpet cleaning sessions with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter are essential, along with regular dusting and biweekly vacuuming of any upholstery. Additionally, keep windows closed during allergy season and watch out for signs of mold and moisture near windows.
In the Bedroom
You most likely spend more time in your bedroom than any other room in your home, so this room is not to be missed. Cover your pillows, box spring, and mattresses with dust mite-proof covers, and wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week. Window coverings are a favorite place of allergens, so wash them weekly as well. Try to eliminate as much clutter as possible in the bedroom, and keep pets out as well. You can also remove any stray allergens from the air by running a HEPA filter while you're sleeping.
In the Bathroom
Mold is an allergen that thrives on moisture, so take steps to reduce moisture in the bathroom. Use an exhaust fan during and after showers and baths to quickly move steam out of the room, and avoid moisture-trapping wallpaper. You should also avoid rugs, window coverings, and fabrics when possible, or at least clean them regularly. Another trick is to dry the shower or tub after each use, and to clean the tub, tiles, sink, toilet, and floor with a five-percent chlorine bleach solution once a week to further prevent mold.
In the Kitchen
Much like the bathroom, the main goal in the kitchen is to control moisture. Use an exhaust fan to remove steam from cooking, and always keep the sink empty and dry. Check your refrigerator weekly for moldy food, and empty garbage containers daily.
Additional Best Practices
Don't allow smoking in your home and keep pets (and their allergy-inducing dander) outside if possible or at least off of furniture. Have your carpet professionally cleaned twice a year (or more if you suffer from particularly bad allergies). To keep insects and other pests at bay make sure to keep all countertops, cabinets, appliances, floors, and other hard surfaces clean. Should any insect or pest problems arise, take action at the first signs of invasion. Fix any plumbing leaks promptly. If after all of these steps moisture remains a problem in the home, use a dehumidifier.
Taking these steps to eliminate or reduce allergens around your home may seem overwhelming at first, but the comfort you'll enjoy as a result will be worth it. Stop treating allergy symptoms by getting rid of the triggers - follow these best practices for allergy-proofing your home today!