How to reduce allergens in your home: How many of you have already experienced the dreaded first sneeze of the season? Don't worry. You're not alone; nearly 60 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies to dust, pollen, and everything in between. Aside from the stuffy nose, runny nose, dry eyes, and constant sinus pressure, the most challenging part about seasonal allergies is pinpointing the source of the allergens and figuring out how to eliminate them once and for all.
Since you're reading this, it is highly probable that you have exhausted every type of antihistamine out there and are wondering how to reduce allergens in your home or office. At To the T Plumbing & Heating, we are experts in air quality and have put together this list of the best 8 ways to reduce allergens in your home to feel your one hundred percent self again.
One of the most effective ways to reduce airborne allergens in your home or office space is by adding a standalone air purifier with a HEPA filter to your lineup of allergy-assaulting tools. Adding an air purifier to your HVAC system is not always an option. Still, fortunately, there are tons of great standalone air purifiers that work exceptionally well to reduce allergens in your home.
Although this should not be your only defense, an air purifier is a great way to improve air quality quickly. HEPA air filters help to eliminate particles in the PM2.5 size range—most commonly caused by wildfires, low ozone, or burning of fossil fuels. These particles are hazardous to humans because they bypass all defense mechanisms, like nose hairs and mucus, and can cause damage to the body over time.
Before purchasing an air purifier, understand the square footage it can handle. You might want to invest in multiple standalone units for larger areas to ensure the most efficient air purification. In smaller spaces, one air purifier will be sufficient to reduce allergens in your home.
Before you call in the crew from the Hoarders show, minimal clutter is okay! Most people can't worry about completely decluttering their homes or office. It's just not practical. But on the other hand, with clutter comes dust. And with dust comes allergens.
Be mindful of the items you keep in open spaces. Clocks, TVs, computer monitors, and coasters do not typically absorb allergens and are easy to dust regularly. On the contrary, things like lampshades, throw pillows, tablecloths, and curtains are perfect breeding grounds for dust mites and other allergens to make haste to take over your sinuses.
Consider the items on your kitchen counters, coffee table, dresser, etc. If they are likely to absorb and store allergens, it might be time to relocate or eliminate them.
Depending on the severity of your allergies, the frequency at which you clean your home may vary. Typically, cleaning once a week will suffice for most mild allergy sufferers. But if you classify yourself in the severe sufferer category, cleaning twice or even three times a week will only help to alleviate your symptoms.
Focusing on thorough dusting and vacuuming will help significantly to reduce the number of allergens stored in carpets, couches, bedding, and those that sit atop your hard surfaces. Another benefit of regular cleaning is the reduction of harmful germs and bacteria, so count that as a win.
Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter and a clean bag or canister, so it doesn't spit out everything it picks up. Also, avoid using the classic feather duster and reach for something that traps and locks dust rather than something that spreads it into the air.
Let's face it: pets are one of the top producers of airborne allergens in our homes. Although they're cute and hard to live without, pets can make or break your allergy season. Animals with fur or feathers are the biggest offenders when expressing allergens, so if you find yourself miserable at all hours of the day when at home, you might have to find a new home for Fido.
If living without pets is not an option, hypoallergenic pets are a great alternative. They can still carry allergens if they go in and out frequently, but compared to a long-haired golden retriever, an indoor hairless cat will most likely reduce the number of tissues you go through in a day.
Dust mites and other microscopic allergens will have a frenzy in your carpets. While carpets are incredibly cozy and great at sound dampening, they are also breeding grounds for some of the worst allergens. And since they are so tiny, it is tough to get rid of them by vacuuming alone.
Not to mention, carpets are magnets for airborne allergens brought in from the outdoors and can store these allergens in your home for years on end. Swapping carpets for hard floors is the most effective way to reduce allergens in your home and get back to a symptom-free lifestyle.
Back to our favorite little critters, dust mites love to make themselves home in your mattresses, pillows, and box springs. Fortunately, many retailers sell allergy covers that prevent these dust mites and other microorganisms from penetrating your bedding.
By covering your pillows, mattresses, and box springs in protective allergy covers, you will immediately notice a difference in the severity of your symptoms. Another good habit to practice is washing your bedding once a week in hot water during your worst allergy months. The hot water will kill all microorganisms living in your sheets and comforters, and let's be honest: who doesn't love clean sheets?
Unless you live in Colorado or other relatively dry climates, mold spores are a scary reality in homes. Preventing mold spores is very easy. Conversely, it is also easy to create an environment conducive to mold spores by forgetting to do the little things.
Remembering to keep your bathroom fan on during and up to fifteen minutes after a bath or shower is imperative to allow your space ample time to dehumidify. Mold grows in dark, cold spaces, so shutting the fan and light off in your bathroom before the condensation has had a chance to clear off your mirror and walls is a surefire way to allow mold spores to develop.
During the hot summer months, run your air conditioning if you have it because this will dehumidify your home air and reduce the chances of mold buildup. If you do not have access to air conditioning, you can purchase a dehumidifier to achieve the same result. Air purifiers also reduce airborne mold spores, which helps prevent them from forming on household surfaces.
We all love fresh air, but sometimes it causes more harm than good. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the best way to reduce allergens in your home is by keeping your windows closed and relying on your HVAC system for fresh air. If you have an HVAC system, it will have a HEPA filter—which should be replaced 1-2 times per year—and will help tremendously purify your home air.
We still recommend keeping your windows closed when you do not have an HVAC system. In this case, purchasing an air purifier, as mentioned above, will do a fine job circulating clean air throughout your home.
Knowing the cause of seasonal allergies isn't always possible. But with these 8 tips on reducing allergens in your home, it is possible not to let your allergies control your life. By implementing these tips, we are confident you will notice a positive difference in your symptoms. Much like everything in this world, allergy management is a balancing act. Not all these tips are realistic for everyone, but many alternatives exist. A life without constant sniffling is finally possible. For more helpful tips and tricks, please read our other blog posts.