Preventing exposure to allergens and irritants in your home helps everyone breathe more easily. If you have allergies, however, it’s even more important to select the right items when decorating your house, and to know how to maintain it for a healthy indoor environment. From cleaning and redecorating to minimizing exposure to mildew, dust mites, pollen, pet dander and other allergens, here are a few tips to keep you and your family healthy indoors.
Watch the windows.
Blinds and shades are better choices than fabric window treatments that can trap dust and are not cleaned as frequently. Simple shades can be wiped clean easily on a weekly basis.
Mattresses and pillows are comfy and cozy… for dust mites. Replace your mattress every 10 years, and use mite-resistant casements for both pillows and the mattress. Launder pillows frequently, and replace them at least every five years. Fresh, clean bedding every week — washed in 130-degree hot water — will help you sleep better.
Chipboard and other manufactured woods often contain formaldehyde and similar volatile organic compounds, which emit fumes that interfere with breathing. Instead, select furniture made from real hardwoods. Soft upholstery is prone to the same dust mite invasions as mattresses, so keep it clean with weekly vacuuming.
Clean up Fido’s act.
Dust mites feed on dog and cat dander, so regularly bathing your pets and wiping them down after long walks will help. Your animal could be carrying outdoor allergens right inside on his coat, so keep him clean and brushed, and launder his bedding every week.
Hardware and grocery stores now sell a variety of asthma- and allergy-friendly cleaning products that make maintaining your home much easier. These products have been tested and certified to be used by individuals who are sensitive to dust and other household irritants; many were originally developed to benefit asthma sufferers. They are kind to our lungs, and environmentally responsible to boot.
Invest in a good Vacuum.
A quality vacuum with a HEPA filter is always worth the investment. Choose a model that minimizes your exposure to dirt when you’re emptying the canister. Use a moist cloth to dust. The dampness helps trap dirt and other particles that an old-fashioned feather duster just sends airborne.
Wipe your feet.
Wiping your feet before entering the home helps remove outdoor allergens and pollen you carry on your shoes. Keep the kitchen clean, too. Food particles, crumbs and spills attract insects, as do garbage cans. Remove trash regularly, and wipe down all surfaces after cooking and meals.
Common sense and clean-as-you-go habits will keep your home environment healthy. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the results.