How to Reduce the Allergens in Your Home Improve Air Quality

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How to Fight Allergies in Your Home

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How to Reduce Allergic Reactions and Improve Your Home Air Quality

Allergies can disrupt daily life with symptoms including runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and postnasal drip. For some people, symptoms are more severe and may result in asthmatic reactions such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Indoor allergens are some of the most insidious culprits behind these symptoms. They often hide in plain sight, causing daily discomfort for you and your family. Your carpet, rug and upholstery are the main air filters in your home and trap dust and allergens, keeping them out of the air. By regular cleaning of these items, you remove the allergens and help your furnishings continue to help filter the air. Spring cleaning is a great time to give your carpets, rugs and upholstery a deep cleaning to remove these trapped allergens and improve the air quality in your home. Some of the most common allergens are:

  • Dust and dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Cockroach droppings and casings
  • Mold and mildew
  • Houseplants
  • Cigarette and wood smoke

A buildup of one or more of these allergens negatively affects the air quality of your home. For this reason, a regular, aggressive cleaning regimen is necessary to minimize exposure and restore comfort.

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Around the House

There are many simple steps you can take around your home to keep allergens to a minimum:

  • Keep windows closed as often as possible to discourage pollen from getting in
  • Choose furniture made of wood, metal or plastic instead of upholstered pieces
  • Vacuum your carpet, rug and upholstery at least twice a week using a strong cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • Limit how much cloth you use in each room and make sure all fabrics are machine-washable
  • Banish houseplants and the mold that they carry on their leaves and in the soil
  • Clean up clutter to discourage colonization of dust mites
  • Keep the kitchen area clean so that roaches aren’t drawn to it as a source of food
  • Choose radiant heat over forced air heat systems to combat circulating allergens
  • Avoid wood fires and never smoke indoors
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In the Bedroom

Since you spend a good chunk of your life sleeping, the air quality in the bedroom is particularly important. Pillows made with synthetic materials are more allergy-friendly than down, and covering both your pillows and mattress with allergen-resistant covers discourages allergen buildup. Choose covers that are breathable to ensure that moisture doesn’t linger and lead to mold growth.

Bedding and linens including curtains should be washed at least once a week. If your children sleep with stuffed toys, wash those as well. If possible, avoid plush playthings in favor of materials that don’t attract dust and other particles.

Bathroom and Kitchen Tips

Water vapor is a big concern in bathrooms and kitchens. Moisture from showering and cooking stays on walls, creating a friendly environment for mold. Discourage colonization by swapping bathroom carpeting for washable floor mats and using a dehumidifier to clear out damp air. Consider installing an exhaust fan in the kitchen to whisk away steam before it can settle.

Once you begin observing this type of cleaning protocol, you should experience better air quality and a reduction of symptoms. However, simple home cleaning may not be enough to eliminate all allergens. Sometimes a more aggressive regimen is necessary to rid your home of triggers.

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Does Your Home Need Deep Cleaning?

Allergens can accumulate in various areas of your home over time. Anything upholstered, plush or otherwise made of fabric attracts and holds onto most common household allergens. Even regular cleaning could leave behind potential triggers. If you’re following a good cleaning schedule but are still experiencing serious allergy symptoms, it might be time to hire a professional cleaning company.

Professional cleaners have access to powerful, high-quality cleaning agents and equipment. They can get your home clean on a deeper level and do a more thorough job than is possible with standard household products. Carpets and rugs are notorious for holding onto allergens, as are mattresses, fabrics and upholstered furniture. Steam cleaners and other professional-grade equipment power through messes to remove deeply ingrained allergens. Plus, cleaning companies are able to take the time you might not be able to devote to cleaning out hard-to-reach areas.

Other problems such as mold and dirty heating ducts should also be left to the pros. Once mold colonizes, it can be very difficult to remove on your own. The right cleaner not only gets rid of mold but also keeps it from coming back. Your duct work should be cleaned out on a regular basis to remove buildup of dust and other particles that otherwise continue to circulate around your home.

Breathing easier is a welcome thing for anyone who struggles with allergies. Following these steps for a cleaner home and bringing in professional cleaners when necessary results in improved air quality and a reduction of symptoms for most people. Monitor yourself and your family to see how you feel and continue your cleaning regimen to maintain a healthy home.

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