Contributing Author: Gentle Heron
Allergies are your body’s reactions to allergens, specific items in your environment. To avoid having to deal with symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes, keeping your house allergen-free is the best solution.
Bedroom and Living Room
The main sources of allergens in these two rooms are animals- your pets, and dust mites.
Pet dander from many types of animal pets can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you are one of them, keep the pets away from where you spend most of your time in the home. To sleep allergy-free, keep your bedroom door closed with the pets on the other side.
Dust mites are tiny pests that live deep inside carpets, furniture cushions, mattresses and pillows. Wall-to-wall carpet will harbor more dust mites than will smaller throw rugs. Bare floors will have the least number of dust mites. Remove dust from the floors regularly with a HEPA vacuum.
Enclose your bed and pillows in dust-proof zippered covers. Launder bedding and washable carpets in hot water weekly.
Consider getting a free-standing HEPA filter for these two rooms where you spend so much time.
And don’t forget to change the filter in your furnace/air conditioner monthly.
Bathroom, Laundry, Basement
These three rooms are usually the dampest in the house. Dampness allows mold and mildew, a very common allergen, to thrive. Check for plumbing leaks regularly in these rooms, and get them repaired immediately.
Mold likes to hide, so don’t use wallpaper in these areas; instead, paint the walls. Mold lives on soap and body oil scum, so scrub the sink, tug, tiles and grout at least monthly to get rid of it. Launder washable shower curtains with bleach or replace them regularly. Always turn on the exhaust fan when showering to remove excess moisture.
Keep the floor and all hard surfaces in the laundry clean and dry. Be sure all laundry is completely dry before folding it and putting it away. Damp fabric can promote mold growth.
If your basement is humid, consider using a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Seal stored items in plastic containers to keep out moisture.
Although some people have allergic reactions to various foodstuffs, scented cleaning products, and even to smoke or particles emitted by cooking food, the most common allergen in kitchens is cockroaches.
Keep your kitchen spic and span to deny the roaches a food source. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wipe down appliances and counter tops with unscented natural cleaning products daily, and sweep the floor. Mop the kitchen floor weekly to remove all roach attractants. Never leave food or garbage uncovered. Check the refrigerator for “expired” food weekly and throw it out.
Following the above housekeeping strategies will cut down on the number of allergens in your home and make for a safer and healthier life.