I’m sure you know… Allergies are big problem in the world today. So learning how to reduce allergens in our home just makes sense!
You see… in the United States alone more than 50 million people suffer from allergies. In many cases, this is because of substances and materials that are present in our homes.
There are many allergens that are commonly found indoors that can cause upper respiratory difficulties, itchy eyes and other negative symptoms. Among these, the most common are:
- Cockroach Droppings
- Pet Dander
- Dust Mites
In addition to these common indoor allergens, a number of outdoor allergens are carried into the home on clothing and shoes and breezes coming through open windows.
Among these, the most common are pollen from grass, flowers and trees. Various types of outdoor mold also make their way into the home, and air pollution can also cause allergic reactions.
As a way of coping with allergens, many people turn to chronic use of either over-the-counter or prescription medication.
However, it is far preferable to reduce or remove the allergens in your environment rather than expose yourself to potential damage caused by excessive use of medications.
In this article, we will introduce twenty smart ideas to help you reduce the allergens present in your home. Read on to learn more.
How To Get Environmental Control Of Allergens
#1 – Avoid upholstered furniture!
Soft, comfy chairs and sofas seem very inviting, but they provide a perfect habitat for dust mites.
Keep in mind that it’s not the dust mites that cause allergic reactions, it’s their droppings! That’s why it’s so smart to avoid having upholstered furnishings altogether.
#2 – Clean and Cover Your Mattress
Mite infestation is a problem not only in furniture, but also in mattresses! As a matter of fact most mattresses contain between one-hundred-thousand and ten-million dust mites.
To kill them, you can treat your mattress carefully by steam cleaning it and then covering it with a dust mite proof mattress protector once it is completely dry.
#3 – Keep Your Bedding Clean!
You should be sure to wash your sheets and blankets every week in very hot water. Water that is between 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill dust mites.
Additionally, it’s smart to add several drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the wash cycle. Research conducted in 1993 and published in the publication, Allergy & Clinical Immunology found that eucalyptus oil added to the wash eliminates nearly 100 percent of dust mites from bedding.
#4 – Avoid Soft, Fluffy Items In The Bedroom & Throughout The House
It is wise not to have an upholstered headboard or to use ornamental throw pillows on your bed. Also avoid bedding such as down quilts and wool blankets.
Wool and feathers are allergens in and of themselves, and the quality of this type of bedding tends to collect and harbor dust and dust mites.
#5 – Eliminate Fabric Curtains
The fabric in curtains harbors dust mites, and having to wash your curtains every week is an unreasonable amount of drudgery. Instead, use blinds that can be wiped clean.
#6 – Eliminate Carpeting Throughout Your House
While this may seem less than comfortable, it goes without saying that carpets harbor dirt and dust and dust mites.
Wood or linoleum floors are easier to clean thoroughly. Throw rugs can be picked up and tossed in the wash.
#7 – Set A Regular Cleaning Schedule
In addition to washing your bedding once a week, you should also dust your entire house once a week. Be sure not to use a feather duster which will just toss the dust around without removing it.
Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe up all of the dust completely. Launder the cloth immediately after use or simply throw it away.
#8 – Make An All-Natural, Mite Killing Dust Spray
Both eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil have mite killing properties. Both are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. To make a good mite killing dust spray, combine tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil at a rate of one teaspoon per cup of distilled water.
Put this mixture into a dark or opaque spray bottle and store it out of direct sunlight. Remember to shake up the mixture thoroughly before using so that the oil will be well-distributed throughout.
In addition to using it to dampen your dust cloth, you can also simply spray it on to soft furniture and other surfaces that have mite attracting potential.
#9 – Opt For Organic Cleaning Products
Not all allergens are natural. Many commercial cleaning products contain toxins and chemicals that can be very irritating.
In a 2015 study conducted by The University of Montréal Hospital Research Center it was found that common cleaning products such as air freshener, detergent, glass cleaner and even bleach can cause subjects with asthma to suffer greater symptoms.
If used in the long term, these products can even cause reduced lung function. For this reason, it’s smart to learn how to make your own natural cleaning products and/or to purchase organic cleaning products.
Keep in mind that the main ingredients you will need to create a wide variety of natural cleaning products are:
- Lemon Essential Oil
- Rubbing Alcohol
- White Vinegar
- Baking Soda
Supplied with only these simple, natural ingredients you can create a wide variety of thrifty, effective, safe products.
#10 – Vacuum Smarter Not Harder
It’s very wise to vacuum frequently to keep dust and dust mite infestation under control. Unfortunately, when you vacuum you can kick up a lot of dust and this can worsen your allergic reactions. To reduce these problems heed the following advice:
- Purchase a vacuum that is equipped with a HEPA filter which will capture irritants and prevent them from being reintroduced to your environment.
- Steam clean your carpets, drapes and upholstered furnishings on a regular basis to prevent dust mite infestation.
- Vacuum a couple of times weekly to prevent dust buildup.
- Wear a dust mask when you clean.
#11 – Manage Pests Naturally
While dust mites are the main offender when it comes to allergic reactions, you must keep in mind that cockroaches and other undesirable intruders can also cause allergic reactions and illness.
To deter roaches, try scattering bay leaves in areas where they have been seen. They don’t like the scent and should stay away. You must change the leaves frequently because their scent will diminish over time.
You can also create a repellent spray using onion, garlic and cayenne pepper powder mixed with water.
Spray this on the cockroaches whenever you see them. You may also wish to set out baited cockroach traps to kill them.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around in hidden areas, such as along baseboards and in closets and cabinets. Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating insects that come in contact with it. It kills them off very effectively.
#12 – Avoid Bringing Allergens Indoors
Place doormats by every door and be sure to wipe your feet before you enter. Leave your outdoor shoes at the door when you come in and put on some indoor slippers.
This will help prevent tracking dust, dirt, pollen and other allergens into your home. These simple precautions can reduce the amount of allergens in your home by as much as 85 percent.
#13 – Minimize Pet Allergens
If you are very allergic to pet dander and it is at all possible, choose a pet that does not have dander. Reptiles and fish are excellent choices!
Of course, if you already have a furry or feathered friend with whom you cannot part you must simply do everything you can to reduce any allergic reactions you may be experiencing.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep pet allergens at a minimum:
- Purchase an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help reduce pet allergens in the air.
- Set aside a specific area for your pets’ bedding and food.
- Keep your pets out of your bedroom and off your bed.
- Keep your pets’ bedding and living quarters clean.
- Keep your pets clean with regular bathing.
#14 – Avoid Clutter!
Excessive stuff collects dust and provides an excellent breeding ground for dust mites. Be sure to keep your childrens’ toys stored away, recycle or donate old books and keep knick-knacks and bric-a-brac to a minimum.
#15 – Keep The Outdoors Outside
Unfortunately, even though it’s lovely to open your windows and let fresh air into your home, you cannot help but let pollen in when you do.
Avoid opening your doors and windows on windy days, and install a HEPA air filter in your air conditioner to prevent allowing environmental pollutants and pollen into your home.
Be sure to toss your outdoor clothes into the wash as soon as you come in and take a shower to wash pollen and pollutants off of your body and out of your hair.
#16 – Avoid Excess Moisture
If your home is very humid and warm, it makes a good breeding ground for mold. Dust mites like humidity also! The ideal humidity level for your home is about 40 percent. Ideal temperatures range from between 68 degrees and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to use a dehumidifier to keep the air in your home dry. You may also wish to open your windows for an hour or so on days that are still and dry.
#17 – Don’t Let Mold & Mildew Grow
Be sure to inspect your basement, bathroom and kitchen for mold growth on a regular basis. The vast majority of people are quite allergic to mold spores.
Mold presence in the home can cause skin irritation, sinus infections and chronic illness. If you discover mold in your home, take steps to eliminate the moisture that is causing it.
Use fans to dry the area out and clean thoroughly with your tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil spray and/or white vinegar.
#18 – Take Care When Selecting Houseplants
Although some flowering houseplants can cause allergic reactions, there are also houseplants that can help purify the air. Among them are:
Remember to keep your houseplants’ leaves wiped down so that they do not collect dust and dust mites. Additionally be sure not to over-water because this will encourage mold growth.
#19 – An Air Purifier Is A Good Investment
A high quality air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter will remove 90 percent of all allergens from the air in your home. You must remember to clean or change the filters on a regular basis. Keep the doors and windows of the room you are purifying closed for the very best results.
#20 – Don’t Smoke!
Last, but definitely not least, don’t smoke and don’t allow anyone to smoke in or around your home. People and pets are universally allergic to tobacco smoke and the many chemicals, additives and pesticides it contains.
Allowing tobacco smoke into your home will undo any and all of the other good steps you may take to reduce allergens in the home.
Proactive Steps Make A Big Difference
When you take care to eliminate allergens in your home and commit to a regular routine to prevent their accumulation, you are sure to see a big difference in your allergy symptoms.
Following through by taking good care of your own health will help you build up a healthy immune system to help combat allergens in the world outside your home.
With diligent attention, you may very well be able to eliminate your allergy problems.