Published August 22, 2013
With hay fever season just around the corner, many allergy sufferers are going to be looking for relief. If you’d like to avoid the itchy eyes and runny noses, here are eight tips to keep allergens out of your house this fall.
Pull Up the Carpets
Allergens like pollen are heavier than air, so they sink pretty quickly once they get into your home. Carpets can become a trap for these allergens, which get released back into the air when you walk by or vacuum. To cut back on itchy eyes and runny noses, it’s a good idea to replace carpets with hardwood floors or linoleum, which will allow you to scrub the spores away much more easily.
Clean Those Drapes
Like carpets, drapes are also a magnet for allergens. If your drapes are machine-washable, make sure to give them a rinse on a regular basis. Or better yet, ditch them altogether and replace them with blinds or shades.
Keep Mold in Check
Mold growth in the home isn’t only disgusting, it’s also a common allergen that can leave you sneezing and wheezing. Mold loves dark, damp climates and you might be aiding this allergen if you’ve allowed wetness to build up in the home. Some common mold breeding grounds include basements, bathrooms, and the areas beneath sinks, where leaks can allow mold to grow. If you live in a hot, humid climate, you could also consider running a dehumidifier during the summer months, setting it to keep the humidity under 60 percent.
Beware Recycled Air
While you might thinking turning on the range hood or bathroom fan will help clear the air, many of these common indoor fans are set up to simply recycle the indoor air and have little effect. Check if you ventilation systems are actually exhausting air outside your home. If not, you might consider hiring a contractor to hook your range hood and bathroom fan up to your home’s ventilation system.
Get Rid of Rotten Air Purifiers
Many allergy suffers turn to air purifiers to help keep allergens in check. The problem is that not all purifiers are created equally. Many use coarse, inefficient filters that cause bad air to circulate around the home. So before you invest in one, make sure it uses HEPA filters, which are capable of capturing 99.97 percent of particles in the air.
Additionally, many air purifiers are air ionizers, which means they create ozone — a substance that can trigger allergy symptoms in many people. If you have one of these air purifiers, toss it and buy a new one.
Clean Your Ventilation System
Many fall allergies are made worse when people turn the heat on for the first time in months. Clogged air filters and dust in the system is sent coursing through your home, aggravating your already awful hay fever. To prevent this, make sure that you regularly clean or replace the air filters in their ventilation system, a job that should be done every three months or so.
Clean Your Bedroom
A mattress teaming with dust mites can leave you sniffling and sneezing through the night. You probably spend more time in the bedroom than in any other room in the house, so making sure it is clean and free of allergens is essential. Start by steam cleaning your mattress to rid it of nasty mites. Then cover it with a mattress cover designed to separate you from allergens like mites.
Clear Up Clutter
It’s difficult to dust around a cluttered home, and the more nooks, crannies and crevices you have around the home, the more spaces you’ve provided for allergens to gather. Clear your home of clutter and dust regularly. Pay extra attention to areas under beds and couches, which often go overlooked.