Breathe easier by allergy-proofing your home

For allergy sufferers, springtime means more than sunshine and fresh flowers -- it's the onset of the inevitable hay fever season. Anyone who has allergies knows how uncomfortable this time of year can be and how important it is to have a safe place to retreat to.

You can make your home clearer of seasonal allergens, dust and mold by developing a consistent routine. Cleaning out clutter, locating problem zones and sticking to certain materials can also help make your home a haven from pollen. Read on to learn the best ways to eliminate allergens from your home, room by room

Living Room

  • Choose easy-to-clean furniture -- avoid too much upholstery.
  • Use washable curtains and replace horizontal blinds with washable roller shades.
  • Keep potted plants and flowers outside. If mold sensitivity is a problem, consider putting aquarium gravel over the dirt to contain mold growth.
  • Avoid wood-burning fireplaces or stoves -- smoke is a harsh irritant. Natural-gas fireplaces should be fine.
  • Clear out clutter -- piles of magazines, newspapers and other knickknacks collect dust quickly.


  • Use a vented exhaust fan over your stove to completely remove cooking fumes from your kitchen.
  • Scrub sinks, faucets, refrigerator trays and door seals to remove mold.
  • Keep under-sink cabinets and countertops clean and dry.
  • Use a disinfecting cleaner to kill mildew.
  • Get a secure trash bin, and empty it regularly to keep insects away. Cockroaches are a common cause of indoor allergy symptoms and asthma -- yet another reason to keep them out of the house.


  • Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week to kill dust mites. These critters love dead skin cells, and hot water is the best way to get rid of them.
  • Buy dust mite covers for pillows, mattresses and box springs.
  • Use synthetic materials for bedding -- they're less likely to carry allergens and cause reactions. Stay away from goose down.
  • If carpeting is a must, opt for low-pile carpeting, which is less likely to attract dust, mites and other allergens.
  • Do your best to keep pets out of the bedroom, especially during allergy season.


  • Make sure your exhaust fan is working correctly, and run it after every shower or bath to remove excess moisture.
  • Remove any wallpaper, and install tile or a mold-resistant paint.
  • Dry the tub and shower after each use, and scrub with bleach regularly.
  • Get rid of any moldy bath mats or shower curtains.

More Allergy-Fighting Tips

  • Brush or wash any pets at least once a week to get rid of dander.
  • Close windows during pollen season -- rely on air conditioning if you can.
  • Choose an air filter that has a small-particle or HEPA filter. Direct one toward your face while you sleep to guarantee a full night's rest.
  • Keep your home's temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at 50 percent. Anything higher will create a breeding ground for dust mites and mold.
  • Take a shower right after doing any work outside to avoid spreading allergens and pollens inside.


Vanessa Brunner is a staff writer at

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