Allergies are always annoying and in some cases even dangerous, so it is important to know how to properly deal with them. The best way to address allergy issues is to pinpoint the source (allergy trigger) and eliminate it. Although this is difficult and almost impossible to do when it comes to outdoor triggers (e.g. pollen, pollution), it is easier to deal with indoors. Yes, your home may be filled with numerous potential allergens, but you can control your home environment by eliminating them one room at a time.
Common Indoor Allergy Triggers
Here are some of the most common allergens in your house and ways to get rid of them.
If you suffer from an allergic condition, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis or chemical sensitivities, it is highly likely that you experience a worsening of symptoms during the night. That is why it is essential to reduce or eliminate any potential dangers in your bedroom.
- An average mattress has more than 10 million dust mites living in it. Some of the ways to rid it of dust mites is by using an anti-allergy mattress barrier cover, duvet and pillow covering, by washing the bedding at over 60 degrees, storing bedding in plastic bags, washing cushions every three months, and keeping the pets away from your sleep area.
- Use eco paints for painting the interior to avoid harmful chemicals such as VOCs and pesticides that are commonly found in conventional paints.
- Vacuum the carpet daily or better yet, when your budget allow, replace carpeting with natural wood floors.
- Wash curtains every three months.
- Keep the room well ventilated and close the windows early in the morning and evening to avoid pollen from entering the room.
- Turn the heat down a couple of degrees since it can promote an inviting environment for dust mites.
- Purify the air – Some natural air purification methods include salt lamps, bamboo charcoal, houseplants that filter toxins and using natural zeolite for odor and moisture control. For more severe allergies, you may need to keep a high quality portable air purifier in the bedroom for better environmental control.
Soft furnishings, curtains and shaggy carpeting are often found in living rooms which can harbor allergy triggers, both dust mites and chemicals.
- Vacuum the upholstered furniture regularly. Certain vacuum cleaners are not efficient for filtering toxins and they can even allow allergens to escape from the housing. Consider using steam vacuums which offer 100% natural cleaning and can remove pathogens without introducing new pollutants. Also, consider choosing a HEPA vacuum cleaner as well for filtration purposes.
- Steam clean the carpets. Again, if you have carpeting, keep it extremely clean for best health. However, the best allergy free flooring recommended by most allergists is natural wood, ceramic or stone.
- If you have an open fireplace, replace it with electric logs which provide clean heat. Wood smoke emits a plethora of allergens that can significantly irritate respiratory health.
- Use smokeless fuel instead of coal.
- Regularly wipe all surfaces with a damp, clean cloth.
- Consider replacing heavy curtains with wooden or aluminum blinds that won’t collect dust.
- Keep pets away from furniture.
The kitchen is a place where allergens can always find a corner to hide, no matter how clean it is.
- Clean your refrigerator regularly and make sure that there is no mold growing on interior surfaces or collecting in food bins.
- If you can, build wall cabinets to the ceiling to avoid dust gathering on top.
- Solve all water leakage issues, to avoid cockroaches and mold contamination.
- Regularly clean drains with vinegar and soda.
- Empty the waste bin every day.
- Wipe food surfaces several times a day.
- Remove clutter from the countertop.
- Remove cooking smells by boiling a cup of water with a spoon of vinegar.
- Use an extractor fan.
- Use organic cleaning products and avoid those with fragrances and other harsh chemicals.
Bathrooms can make your allergy symptoms worse, especially if the ventilation is poor and the cleaning products are toxic.
- Turn on extractor fan whenever bathing or showering to remove moisture. If you live in an area where you can open a window, do that as well from time to time.
- Dry the shower curtain right after use.
- Clean mold from the curtain with vinegar and lemon juice.
- Clean tiles with undiluted white vinegar.
- Do not use cleaning chemicals that irritate the respiratory system.
- Do not use perfumed sprays – opening the window or running the exhaust is just as effective.
- Keep clutter to a minimum.
Your home can be the source of hazardous allergens and the best way to avoid or get rid of them is to first know where they lurk. Then, deal with each room of the home by methodically eliminating offending allergy triggers for best health for you and your family.