For anyone suffering from any type of allergies — whether they are indoor, outdoor, seasonal or year round — there is a simple solution to help lessen your symptoms: clean your house. Having a clean home can reduce the amount of irritants you come into contact with. Not cleaning your home allows allergens to settle and linger in untouched pockets. They can also be drawn into the home’s air system, circulating through the air you breathe.
Here are some ways to make your home less allergen-friendly and hopefully help you reach for those tissues less frequently:
The proverbial “spring cleaning” can go a long way towards reducing the amount of pollen that can remain in your home, and doing minor cleaning projects like sweeping and mopping throughout spring can also help manage symptoms.
Your most important task is to get rid of the dust accumulating under beds, furniture and in hidden corners of rooms and stairwells. Allowing dust to build up in these areas makes allergens settle closer to living spaces, while also creating “launching pads” for dust bunnies to send up puffs of pollen and dander with any strong breeze.
Pull out furniture like dressers, shelves, couches and beds to get underneath them thoroughly. Try not to store anything under your bed, either, since it gives more places for dust to get trapped and hide.
Closets are also a common hiding place for irritants since air is usually stagnant in them. Avoid storing your outdoor coat along with your regular clothes to keep any pollen from spreading to your whole wardrobe.
Another area pollen and other allergens like to “hang out” is within window sills. Vacuum around windows and dust off the entire sill with a wet rag to get rid of pollen.
Even just doing the laundry can help. Bedsheets and curtains tend to gather allergens over time, which can be rinsed away in the wash. Also make sure that your pillows are not too old — pillows over five years old should be replaced to eliminate dust mites and other irritants.
A clean living space does not always equate to a clean home. Your ducts and AC system can be a problem spot for hiding dust and allergens. Replace your air filter once a month to trap floating allergens, and have your ducts blown out every year or two to spare your lungs from hidden caches of dust.
A high efficiency filter with a MERV rating of 8-12 can further improve air quality. Just be sure that the filter does not reduce airflow to your system, which can cause damage. You can consult your furnace or AC instructions for filter recommendations. Check higher efficiency air filters more often since the tighter weaves tend to get clogged quickly.
A HEPA certified filter on your bag vacuum can reduce the amount of allergens stirred up during cleaning. Remember to change your bags often and dispose of them in a way that quickly gets dust out of the home.
Finally, avoid the cheaper vinyl shower curtain liners. Not only can they offgas unpleasant chemicals when new, but they allow mold and other allergens to grow on them. Nylon curtain liners are better and last longer, too.
We hope these tips have inspired you to not only have a cleaner home, but a less sneezy and itchy-eyed home as well. Visit our clinic to get an evaluation and a treatment plan for your allergies. We can help you manage and reduce your symptoms. Go to our allergy services page and learn more.