Having allergies can be difficult, but you can stay on top of them by taking care of your home. Here are some tips to keep your house allergen-free without breaking the bank or exposing yourself to too much harsh cleaning products.
1. Improve Your Home’s Ventilation
Stagnant air and poor ventilation is a common cause of allergies. During the winter months, heaters run constantly in most homes to keep temperatures warm enough for family members. Unfortunately, running the heater this way creates dry air that makes it easier for allergens such as dust mites and mold spores to collect and thrive.
Houses with poor ventilation often have a musty smell as well. The combination of poor air quality, lack of fresh air and poor circulation causes the growth of allergens and bacteria to spread quickly within homes.
Improve your home’s ventilation by allowing for more fresh air to circulate throughout the house. Keep all doors and windows open whenever possible. If this is not feasible during cold months, run a constantly-operating fan to allow for at least some amount of fresh air while maintaining a warmer temperature.
2. Use a High-Quality Air Filter
One of the best ways to improve a home’s air quality is by investing in a high-quality air filter. A good air filter drastically reduces allergens from indoors and outdoors from entering your home, which lessens allergic reactions for family members who suffer from allergies.
When choosing an air filter, look for one that has an efficiency rating of at least MERV 11, which means it can trap 95 percent of the pollutants. If you can’t find information on the filter’s efficiency, ask a professional to recommend a good filter for your home and budget.
3. Clean Rugs and Carpets Regularly
Carpets and rugs provide a safe haven for dust mites, pollen and other allergens. Unfortunately, vacuuming does not remove all of these problems from the fibers of your carpets and rugs. In fact, most vacuum cleaners will actually redistribute particles into the air as you clean.
Instead of spending time vacuuming your carpets, which does very little to clean the fibers of allergens, invest in cleaning them once or twice a month with a wet cloth. You can also hire professional cleaners that specialize in rug cleaning. They have the tools and skills to thoroughly clean your carpets while keeping them as fresh as possible.
4. Maintain Your Air Conditioners and Heaters
Many people forget to clean and properly maintain their air conditioners and heaters, which can lead to problems, including an increased risk of allergen exposure. This is because filters, coils, and other components in these machines can become clogged with dust and debris.
If you own a furnace or heat pump, change the filter at least six months if you are living in a multi-family household or your home has pets. Change the AC filters and wash the outdoor units.
5. Wash All Bedding in Hot Water
Another way to keep your home free of allergens is by washing bedding once per week in hot water with detergent. The heat from the water will kill dust mites and other microscopic bugs that live within bedding, pillows and carpets.
These microscopic bugs are commonly the cause of allergies, especially in people who suffer from asthma. They can also trigger different types of reactions depending on the person.
6. Use Allergy-Proof Mattress and Pillow Covers
Mattress and pillow covers are another great way to keep your home free of allergens. They are comfortable for people who suffer from allergies, but also ensure an allergen-free environment for you and your family.
You can purchase these covers online or at your local bedding store. Some even come with zip-off tops, so you can easily wash them weekly.
You might also want to invest in bamboo or silk sheets. Bamboo, for one, is naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
7. Use Natural Cleaning Products
While some cleaning products are great at getting rid of germs and dust, they often contain harmful chemicals that can aggravate allergies.
To help eliminate allergens in your home, consider using natural cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils. These substances are capable of killing dangerous germs while posing less risk to you or your family.
8. Use Vacuum Filters That Capture Allergens
There are some great residential vacuum filters on the market that can remove allergens from your home’s air. These filters contain special carbon material that captures allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mites.
When shopping for a new vacuum, look for one with HEPA or “High-Efficiency Particulate Air” technology, which will help remove up to 99 percent of allergens from your home.
Keeping your home free of allergens is really all about taking the necessary steps to keep small particles out of the air you breathe. While it may take a little more effort than simply walking around with a feather duster, it will be worth the results in terms of health and well-being.