According to statistics, the average interior contains between two and five times as many pollutants as pollutants outside the house. This makes the home interior a breeding ground for allergens. However, there are many ways to reduce the number of allergens in the home. Here’s what you need to know about allergy proofing the home.
1. Get rid of carpeted floors
2. Allergy proofing the bedroom
3. Allergy proofing the bathroom
4. Allergy proofing the kitchen
5. Allergy proofing the living room
Get rid of carpeted floors
Carpeting feels nice underfoot, but is a breeding ground for all kinds of allergens. This is especially true if you have high pile carpets. If you don’t want to get rid of carpeting, consider replacing high pile carpeting with low pile carpeting.
That will help, but even low pile carpeting will harbour dust mites and other allergens. To combat them, you may need to have the carpets cleaned more often than you think you need to clean them. Between carpet cleanings, vacuum the carpet at least once a week with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. HEPA vacuum cleaners are the only vacuum cleaners that can filter out allergens.
If you have allergy sufferers in the home, consider replacing carpets with a hard flooring material. Carpets are high on the list of places where allergens thrive.
Allergy proofing the bedroom
The bedroom is one room where you don’t want carpeted floors. Remove carpeting and use a hard flooring material instead. Bedrooms are fairly confined spaces and not usually well ventilated, so allergens have a field day in a carpeted bedroom and you don’t want to sleep in a room where allergens are prevalent.
Also look at curtains and other fabrics in the bedroom. Any fabric will be a nice place for allergens to nest and they won’t stay in the fabric. They will get into the air and pollute the bedroom environment.
Sheets and blankets are fabrics, but you can’t get rid of sheets and blankets. Instead, wash sheets at least once a week in hot water and have your blankets cleaned regularly. The mattress and pillows can harbour dust mites and allergens, too, but can be harder to clean. Some carpet cleaning companies also clean mattresses and upholstery. If you or someone else in the home suffers from allergies, having the mattress and upholstery cleaned will help them sleep more soundly and not suffer from an allergic reaction.
Wool blankets harbour more allergens than synthetic materials, so consider replacing wool blankets with blankets made of a synthetic material. The same is true of doonas with feathers. Get doonas filled with a synthetic material and get a sound night’s sleep. Also replace pillows with pillows with a synthetic filling to help get rid of dust mites and allergens.
Allergy proofing the bathroom
Bathrooms have a unique problem because the steamy environment is perfect for the formation of mold. Mold becomes visible and should be thoroughly removed to avoid an allergic reaction to mold. You can find mold anywhere in the bathroom, so don’t just remove it from the tiles or shower curtains. Take a closer look and you may find mold inside drawers, under the sink or on sink pipes. Bleach will kill mold or you may want to use a vinegar/water solution. Read How to get rid of mold in the house for more tips on removing mold from every room in the house.
The bathroom is often another confined environment. If you can’t ventilate the bathroom with windows, consider installing an exhaust fan to get rid of steamy air. This will help stop mould from reappearing and will make the bathroom a much healthier environment.
Another thing you can do in the bathroom is paint the walls with a mould resistant paint. Mould can be a problem even before it becomes visible and a mould resistant enamel paint will eliminate the problem even before you see mould on the walls.
If allergies are a problem in your family, you may want to take an extra step and towel dry the shower or bath after every use. Allergens can multiply quickly and they like a moist surface. That extra step can make the difference between an allergy attack and breathing clearly in the home.
Allergy proofing the kitchen
The kitchen is another damp environment, but unlike the bathroom, it is also the place where food is prepared. The kitchen can be one of the greatest sources of allergens in the home, but there are ways to keep the kitchen allergen-free:
Use a vented exhaust fan to eliminate cooking odours
Wash dishes immediately and also clean the sink and around the taps to keep mould from appearing
The refrigerator can be a perfect place for allergens. Wipe moisture off the sides of the fridge and get rid of any mouldy or out-of-date foods that may be lurking in the recesses of the refrigerator
Keep bench tops clean and don’t forget to clean the insides of the cabinets with detergent and water.
Check under the sink and have any leaks repaired
Store all food in sealed containers
Empty the trash daily and clean the inside of the trash bin
Keep the kitchen clean and tidy and you won’t have a problem with allergens or pests like ants and cockroaches.
Allergy proofing the living room
As mentioned above, it is a good idea to get rid of carpeting in the living room. If you don’t want to get rid of carpeting, have the carpets cleaned regularly and always use a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Also look for other fabrics in the living room. Curtains, soft furnishings and other fabrics in the living room are also great hideouts for allergens. Consider replacing:
Fabric curtains with synthetic curtains you can wash regularly
Fabric covered chairs and sofas with leather covered chair and sofas
Horizontal blinds with roll up blinds
A wood heater with a natural gas heater
Of course, you can use your discretion with all these suggestions, but if someone suffers from allergies in your family, these steps can reduce allergies and allow them to enjoy the indoor environment. Wood heaters can make allergies flare up, but natural gas does not. A natural gas heater can look like a wood heater, but won’t be harmful to anyone in the house.
More ways to allergy proof the home
Clutter in any room of the house will collect dust and allergens. Remove clutter from every room in the house, including the closets and dust regularly. Don’t scatter the dust. Use a cloth dust will cling to and you won’t have dusty air in the home.
A humid house is a perfect breeding ground for allergens. Consider buying a dehumidifier or several dehumidifiers for different rooms. A dehumidifier is a good idea for the living room and bedrooms and can make the difference between a house that harbours allergens and a house anyone can breathe easy in.
When the weather is hot, you will probably turn on the air conditioner. Make sure it has clean filters because filters will not work effectively if they are not clean and may blow mould and allergens into the home. A good filter will remove pollutants and allergens. Air conditioning is a good way to dehumidify the home and can actually help fight allergic reactions, but only if the filter is clean.
Allergy proofing the home doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Stay on top of mould, dust and other allergens and take steps to reduce anything in the home that harbours allergens. You and your family won’t regret having an allergy-free home. Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, the air in the home will be cleaner and healthier and you’ll enjoy being indoors more.