Seasonal environmental allergens can make life at home an itchy, wheezy, congested nightmare. Whether allergens have plagued you your whole life or they’re a recent development (our allergies change as we age!), it’s time to proactively minimize allergy symptoms and environmental allergen exposure at home.
Here’s a breakdown of how often you need to address certain potential allergens – some yearly/occasionally, some weekly, and some every day or as often as possible.
Tackle as many of the following suggestions as possible to minimize pollen, dust, mites, mold, and bacteria.
Need more motivation? Create a superhero-inspired playlist and fight allergens with energetic pride!
What to Do Annually to Minimize Allergens
- Check your indoor potted plants.
- Are your plants pollen producers or air purifiers?
- How long are the pollination cycles?
Download a plant app or do research to address these questions and understand what plants you have before deciding to add more.
- Launder the curtains or, better yet, switch out the curtains for blinds. Dust builds up easily in fabric curtains and when the windows are open, curtains easily trap pollen spores.
- Rent a carpet cleaner with a furniture attachment or hire professionals to steam clean your home. Better yet, switch out the carpets for laminate or hardwood, and trap significantly less pollen, dust, mites, etc.
- Invest in allergen-blocking window screens and new filters for the HVAC system. Run the air purifier and dehumidifiers daily on a timer. Vacuum out the AC Filters and wipe down the vents. This keeps pollen and mold at bay.
- Replace your fabric shower curtain or add a PVC liner and keep mold spores from multiplying.
- Dress your mattresses and pillows with allergen-blocking covers, which stops mites from thriving. Remove and launder all decorative pillow shams as well.
What to Do Weekly to Minimize Allergens
- Scrub all wet surfaces – bathrooms and kitchens alike. Wet areas are prime breeding grounds for mold and mildew.
- Regularly brush or shampoo pets. Pet dander is a common environmental allergen that can affect even those without other allergen sensitivities.
- Launder the sheets and pillowcases.
- Vacuum and dust!
- A weekly regimen might be hard to keep up, and that’s okay! Use a cleaning calendar to keep a record of what has been cleaned or changed for easy reference. If everything is handled within 2 weeks, it’s better than not doing it at all.
What to Do Daily to Minimize Allergens
- Make a running list of existing damage to the walls, ceilings, siding roof and foundation. Cracking, staining, bubbling under wallpaper, and other irregularities are signs of deterioration and may allow for more allergens to transfer. If a spot appears to be changing, look for a root cause and move the repair to the top of your list.
- Ditch cardboard storage and other unsealed containers. Switch to reusable plastic, airtight containers for food storage, clothing, and other goods. If you’re short on stackable space, invest in vacuum storage bags instead. Cardboard is ubiquitous in our daily lives, but it’s easily damaged, attracts moisture and can provide a great breeding ground for unwanted specimens.
- Empty the kitchen and bathroom trash. Keep trash in a covered can away from the foundation of the house.
- Wash dishes daily. Don’t let dirty dishes build up and attract unwanted guests.
With focused effort, it’s easy to keep allergens in your house to a healthy minimum. Though you’ll never be rid of allergens entirely, breathe easier knowing you’re keeping your house tidy and your surfaces clean.
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