For severe allergy-sufferers, a reaction can be extremely uncomfortable, if not downright dangerous. While most people think that allergies generally flare up when you’re out and about, the pandemic lockdowns have us all spending much more time at home. And that means that it’s more important than ever that your home is clean and allergy friendly.
If you have severe, or even mild, allergies, these tips will help turn your home into a space where you can breathe easy.
1. Keep the carpet clean
If not regularly cleaned, carpeting can be a haven for allergens, including dust mites and pollen. As a result, you should make carpet cleaning a priority. You should vacuum all carpets and rugs on a regular basis at least once a week. It’s also worth investing in professional steam cleaning every six months or so for that really deep clean.
If your carpets are a real trigger for your allergies, you could also look to install hypoallergenic carpeting or remove the carpets entirely and go for floorboards or a tiled floor. While any floor surface will require regular cleaning, hard surfaces are easier to clean and don’t attract the amount of allergens that carpets do.
2. Wash and clean curtains and blinds
Besides the carpeting, curtains and blinds can also accumulate large amounts of dust, pet hair and other allergens. You should dust any horizontal blinds at least once a week to avoid any build up of allergens. Alternatively, you could replace horizontal blinds with roller blinds, which have a smaller surface area for dust to build up on.
If you have curtains, these should also be washed regularly. It can be helpful to choose a curtain material that can be thrown into the washing machine. Otherwise, you may need to get them professional steam cleaned or dry cleaned.
3. Avoid upholstered furniture
If you’re particularly susceptible to allergies, you may want to avoid fabric upholstered furniture, particularly couches. This kind of furniture attracts a lot of allergens and they can be very difficult to clean.
If you do have upholstered furniture, be sure to vacuum it frequently and, if possible, wash it. Professionally steam cleaning your couch cushions can do wonders for the air quality at home.
When it comes to couches, non-fabric materials like leather are the best as there are no fabric fibres for allergens to settle into.
4. Avoid clutter
Too much clutter around the house provides a lot of tiny hidden spaces for dust and other allergens to accumulate. Try to keep surfaces free of clutter as much as possible. Not only will it reduce your dusting time to keep those allergens at bay, but it will also make for a tidier looking home.
5. Keep windows shut in pollen seasons
For many allergy-sufferers, pollen can be a nightmare. While it can be nice to let in a breeze, that breeze can quickly have you sneezing and wheezing.
If you know your allergies are caused by pollen, work out when the most intense pollen seasons are in your area. During these times, make it a rule to minimise opening doors and windows. If you need to make your home less stuffy, use air-conditioning instead. It’s essential that you get your air conditioner regularly serviced to ensure the filter is clean and it’s circulating clean air.
6. Keep the kitchen clean
Mould spores are another allergen that can easily invade a home. In most cases, if a home has mould, it will be in the kitchen. This can be a result of dirty dishes, as well as excessive moisture created while cooking or washing up.
To reduce the likelihood of mould growing, keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Make sure dishes are washed, dried and put away promptly. When cooking, use an exhaust fan to draw away steam.
7. Keep the bathroom is well-ventilated
Like the kitchen, the bathroom can be a breeding ground for mould. Ventilation is the key here to controlling this risk.
Whenever the shower or bath is used, make sure a window is open or an exhaust fan is turned on. This will prevent condensation from forming on the walls or ceiling, providing moisture for mould.
Don’t forget to keep on top of bathroom cleaning too. Regularly cleaning and sanitising will also help stop mould from taking hold.
8. Keep temperature and humidity stable
A hot, humid environment is perfect for both dust mites and mould. If possible, keep your home at between 18 and 22°C with humidity at no more than 50%. You may need to use air conditioning and a dehumidifier during summer to maintain these conditions.
9. Control pests
While pests are bad for health in general, they can be extremely problematic for allergy sufferers.
Start by getting rid of any current pest populations. You can purchase your own traps or hire an exterminator. Be careful about any extermination methods that may further aggravate allergies, such as using powder or fumes.
Once the pests are gone, keep them gone. Avoid leaving food scraps around the house and work to minimise moisture, as pests love both of these. You can also make it difficult for pests to get back in by sealing any cracks or blocking up any other points of access, like holes in walls or the roof.
10. Make your home a non-smoking zone
Smoke can make you more sensitive to airborne allergens like pollen or mould spores. Therefore, discourage anyone from smoking in or around your home.
Maintaining a hypoallergenic home can take a bit of practice, but once it becomes routine, you’ll really experience the benefits. Your home can be a safe space where you can breathe easily and relax.