It is never fun when you or someone in the household starts showing symptoms of allergies. All of a sudden, there’s a lot of sneezing, running noses, itchy eyes, congestion, cough, and fatigue.
Many people associate allergies with the outdoors, but they can stem from inside the home. Culprits include pets, carpets, pillows, bedding, stuffed toys, indoor plants, and damp areas. You can allergy-proof your home room by room and do duct cleaning to eliminate buildups of mold spores, pest droppings, dust, dirt, and pollen in air vents. It’s also smart to restrict how many rugs you have in the house or switch out carpets for harder flooring.
Here’s a deeper look at what causes allergies in your home and specific solutions. If you are allergic and follow the tips below to clean your home, wear a dust mask. Ideally, someone else would do the cleaning for you.
Pets and Cockroaches
Pet dander is not your friend. You may be allergic to proteins on or in your pets’ fur, skin, saliva, or urine. Train pets to stay off your furniture, and try not to allow them in your sleeping spaces. Ask someone who is not allergic to pets to groom and brush them outdoors.
Vacuum regularly with a certified filter. You’re looking for small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air filters, also called HEPA filters. Mop harder flooring. and run a damp cloth over windowsills, window frames, and doors.
If your home has cockroaches, you could be allergic to them and even suffer asthma attacks. The ideal solution is to ensure cockroaches can’t get into your house. Tightly lid and secure all garbage cans and food containers. Promptly clean crumbs and food from all areas of the home.
Cockroaches also like dampness, so address plumbing issues and clean water spills right away. Seal floor and wall cracks, and contact pest control specialists for help with cockroach control. If you attempt DIY control, opt for traps, poison baits, or boric acid. Avoid chemicals because they can exacerbate your allergies.
Dust mites consume tiny skin flakes and enjoy humid, warm spaces. (You can see them under a microscope if you’re so inclined.) They are common on plush toys, bedding, carpeting, and furniture.
Add allergy-reduction filters to your air conditioner, and wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water. Use dustproof mattress and pillow covers. Consider replacing upholstered furniture with metal, plastic, wood, or leather pieces. Use airtight storage containers to store collectibles.
When a bit of nature gets inside your home, it can wreak havoc. Close windows and doors, keep the air conditioner running, and change your air filters often. Having high-efficiency particulate air filters in your HVAC system will also help remove air borne pollen from the home and reduce allergy attacks.
Mold can cause both indoor and outdoor allergies. In your home, the areas of highest vulnerability for mold are the kitchen and bathroom, and other areas that get damp often or have water damage.
To combat mold, fix plumbing problems, and reduce the humidity and dampness in your home. Add certified filters to heating and air conditioning units.
Run your showers only a short time before you get in, and keep just a few houseplants. Continually moist plants are prone to mold, and that’s assuming plants didn’t come home from the store with some mold already in their soil.
Keeping your plants in as much sunlight as possible is helpful because mold likes darkness. Running a fan around houseplants for air circulation is good for cutting down on mold development, too. Another thing is to trim stems and dead leaves regularly. Decaying organic material is vulnerable to mold.
Mold may also be in air ducts, subflooring, drywall, and filters. Get them checked, cleaned, or replaced.
If you observe mold on a surface in your home, put on a mask and clean the surface right away. Keep an eye on it for returning mold, and clean the surface weekly for a few months even in the absence of visible mold.
Cigarette Smoke and Smoke
Smoking inside the home can cause allergies because smoke and irritants build up inside. The result may be allergies, asthma, and eventually, possibly lung cancer. In fact, cigarette smoke is the biggest culprit behind air pollution. Fortunately, it is the easiest to address. Smokers should do their business outside, ideally well away from the home. If they must smoke inside, they should do so out of open windows and doors.
Now, forest smoke can get inside your home, so keep windows and doors closed during wildfire season. If you use wood-burning stoves or fireplaces or burn candles, they can cause allergies, too. Stop using them.
Allergies are no fun, and they often come from inside the home. The good news is that allergy-proofing your space can do wonders. Professional services for duct cleaning, HVAC maintenance, pest control, and roofing leaks are useful in many cases.