Do you happen to sneeze a lot lately or does your throat feel scratchy and uncomfortable? It seems you are not alone – allergies affect 1 in 5 people at one point in their lives. Pharmacology has advanced a lot in that field and there are medications that can alleviate the symptoms. However, removing irritants from your environment is a much more effective, long term solution to fight a runny nose, itchy eyes and allergy induced headache. Irritants are mostly found in the air, so cleaning up indoor air quality is most important.
These are the most effective ways to improve the air quality in your home.
1. Identify the Culprit
An allergy specialist will be able to help you focus on a specific set of counter measures once your allergens are identified. If you don’t know which particular allergy to address, there’s no point in making adjustments in your home. The most common culprits are dust mites, molds, pollens, pet dander and chemical irritants such as VOCs.
2. Address the Bedroom First
If you add up the several hours of sleep every night, the bedroom is the room where you spend most of your time. If you are allergic to dust, cover the mattress and pillows with dust-proof zip-on covers. If you can get a good night’s sleep, you are off to a good start.
3. Get Rid of Wall-to-wall Carpeting
It’s strongly recommended that you replace these with hardwood, linoleum, vinyl or other type of flooring that doesn’t admit allergens. Carpets provide housing for nearly all allergens: dust mites, pollen and pet dander. Every time someone walks across the carpet, those are released into the air. Plus, VOCs are often continually released from the synthetic fibers.
4. Keep Allergens Outside
Use two doormats for every entryway – one outside and one inside the house – to keep allergens from outside from spreading all over your home. If it is more convenient for you, ask your family and guests to remove their shoes when they enter, so they don’t spread pollen inside.
5. Upgrade Indoor Air Filters
Just as with the filters in your car, the ones in your home heating and cooling system need to be replaced at least once a year. Manufacturers usually provided instructions for the best time and frequency of cleaning or replacing parts. At the same time, make sure you use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
6. Lose the Drapes
Blinds and shades trap fewer allergens than fabric window covers. However, if curtains are absolutely necessary, choose those that can be machine-washed, as they are easier to keep dust-free. Use a brush attachment to vacuum them once a week and wash them more frequently in the months you keep your windows open.
7. Restrict Mold Growth
There are over 100.000 known species of mold on this planet and unfortunately, one of their favorite places is the bathroom. You should clean it regularly, making sure you dry surfaces where standing water usually remains. Replace broken tiles and caulk sinks and tubs every few years to prevent mold from growing behind walls.
8. Check Under the Sink
People rarely connect allergens and the dark space under the kitchen sink. However, potentially leaky pipes and darkness are the prime location for mold, not to mention mouse droppings and cockroach trails. Fix the leaks and seal the holes vermin use for hiding. The bathroom and the kitchen are the two most critical places for allergens, so regular cleaning is the best way to stop them in their tracks.
9. Vent Outside
If your kitchen and bathroom fans just re-circulate indoor air or vent into the attic, consider a project to replace them with a true exhaust fan which would draw humidity and particles outside the house. If you keep ventilating damp spaces into your attic, mold can start growing there and eventually spread around the rest of the house as well.
10. Set a Cleaning Schedule
Establishing a regular cleaning schedule will considerably facilitate your allergy-proofing efforts. If your work schedule gets in the way or you can’t thoroughly clean your home on a regular basis for any other reason whatsoever, you can always rely on experts. For instance, these Sydney-based professional cleaners offer regular weekly, fortnightly and monthly cleans in both your home and workplace.
If you take proper care of the cleanliness of your home and eradicate all the potential sources of allergies, you will pave the way to a healthier home for you and your family.