by Catherine Collins: For allergy sufferers, triggers are not only limited to the outdoors…
Unfortunately, a lot of them can be found indoors as well, which does make coping with the illness even more difficult. Surveys show that in more than 50% of homes, there are at least six different types of allergens present. They can be found literally anywhere, on furniture, floors, carpets, curtains and even flat surfaces.
Even though it’s virtually impossible to have a completely allergen-free home, with these tips, you can minimize them indoors and breathe more easily in the future.
Clean your home regularly
The first step in maintaining your home is decluttering. The less stuff you have, the fewer places for allergens to thrive on. Also, be mindful of what cleaning products you use. Many ingredients and chemicals in common household cleaners can irritate you and trigger your allergy symptoms. The best solution is to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaners based on natural ingredients. Or, you can make them yourself, using baking soda, lemon and vinegar. In different concentrations, these ingredients can clean just about any type of dirt in your home without setting off your symptoms.
Another smart move is to wash away the allergens, especially in the bedroom. Dust mites adore bedsheets, linen and pillows, which makes your bedroom the perfect place to start cleaning. Wash your bed sheets, pillowcases and covers at least once a week in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer to eliminate any possible leftover dust mites. It’s also very useful to have your pillows and mattresses covered with dust mite proof covers and bedsheets.
Get rid of dust generators
Fabrics and carpeting in your home generate dust by breaking down fibres and are a favourable ground for dust mites to thrive in. If it’s possible, replace your wall-to-wall carpeting with impervious floorings like hardwood or laminate, or at least downsize them and use smaller area rugs that are easily washable. Damp-mop your floors frequently. In addition, remove fabric window treatments as well and use only shades and blinds. However, if you can’t bear the sight of “naked” windows, opt for washable curtains and vacuum them often with a brush attachment.
Another source of allergens in the house are your beloved pets. A common allergen trigger for many people is the protein found in pets’ saliva, urine and dander, so make sure you keep your pets well-groomed, washed and cleaned at least once a week.
Purify the air
A well-ventilated house is an unwelcoming terrain for allergens. It’s a hard battle to fight with millions of spores, pollen and dust, but you can still take some steps against them and have the odds in your favour. Firstly, use HEPA filters in your AC system. Secondly, try to maintain the humidity level down to 40%, since too much moisture facilitates mould and mildew growth. Finally, use the best air purifier for allergies that you can find. They make a great ally in suppressing allergy triggers and make your home a more breathable space.
Treat and remove mould
Just like your bedroom is a perfect breeding ground for dust mites, your bathroom is a party venue for mould. Make sure you clean it regularly and vent it after every shower for at least 30 minutes. Keep all your surfaces, pipes and fixtures scrubbed clean and wash your walls with a non-toxic cleaner. Fix all the cracks and broken tiles and every couple of years, recaulk tubs and sinks to prevent any mould growth behind the walls.
Dealing with allergy symptoms on a daily basis can surely be exhausting and make life quite uncomfortable. While the outdoor factors are something you have no control over, there is still hope for your home. By taking these simple steps to keep your home clean, reduce dust and purify the air, you can significantly minimize your allergy symptoms and lead a much more comfortable life.
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.