Sometimes it’s the little things we do that can have some of the biggest impacts. Something as simple as the way you decorate your home could have a huge impact on your allergies. Our homes can be a haven for indoor allergy-triggers; but they don’t have to be. There are simple things you can do so you can breathe easier and feel better.
Reduce the number of dust-collecting objects that are sitting on your coffee table, side tables, mantle, nightstand, bureaus, and countertops. The more stuff there is, the harder it is to wipe down the surfaces of tables and countertops, and dust starts to accumulate on those surfaces as well as on the objects. Put objects, books, and toys inside drawers, cupboards, and chests when they are not being used. Remove scented candles and potpourri; synthetic fragrances are typical culprits for allergic rhinitis. Avoid keeping fresh flowers in the home, since pollen can trigger allergy. Instead, use live green plants which are actually beneficial as well as ornamental, as they help clean the air. Although be careful having plants in the bathroom, since they could promote the growth of mold.
Avoid carpeting. Carpets can hold on to every kind of allergen and asthma trigger, including dust mite allergen, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers–pretty much anything that can be tracked in to your house on shoes. Even with diligent vacuuming with an Allergy and Asthma Certified vacuum cleaner, carpeting is much harder to keep free of allergens than other flooring alternatives. So rip out your carpet and, if you have hardwood floors underneath, lucky you! A simple DIY refinish is likely all that’s necessary. If you do not have hardwood under your carpets, consider natural flooring options like linoleum, bamboo flooring, or other eco-friendly materials.
Avoid heavy drapes, especially if they are dry-clean only. Drapes are notorious for hanging on to dust and other allergens. Drapery that needs to be dry-cleaned rarely gets washed. And when it does, you’ll be bringing chemicals into your home, polluting indoor air, and possibly triggering asthma or multiple chemical sensitivities. Instead, use curtains that you can throw in the washer so they can get washed frequently. Blinds are also a good option; although, you must remember to frequently dust them.
Choose leather. While the initial cost to purchase leather rather than upholstered furniture may be higher, consider it an investment against allergies. Upholstered furniture is a hotbed for allergens, which penetrate far beyond the reach of any vacuum. Leather furniture, on the other hand, is impermeable. Dust mites can’t live in it, and other allergens like pollen, pet dander, and mold spores can’t take up residence in it either. If you do have upholstered furniture, in addition to regular vacuuming, use a steam cleaner frequently to denature allergens that the vacuum may not be able to reach. Its important to use a steam vapor cleaner, because the high temperatures of the steam ensures that it evaporates quickly and won’t leave behind moisture that could lead to mold growth.
Use allergy relief bedding. Allergy covers are among the most heavily endorsed allergy relief products by allergists. They should be the foundation of your bedroom decorating plan. Cover mattresses, bedsprings, and pillows with allergy relief bedding sets. Washable wool blankets and natural wool mattress pads are good allergy-free bedding options which are warm in winter and breathe in summer. Additional allergy relief bedding, like an allergy duvet or comforter cover, should be used to supplement your environmental control measures.
Use green paint. The fumes from conventional paint can cause headaches and respiratory problems even for people who do not normally suffer from allergies. Look for paints that are low in or free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If possible, go for water-based paints that have natural pigments as well.
Clean and dust your home regularly. To help you remember, add these tasks to your calendar. Do not use dust brushes or dust rags as they simply disrupt dust and send it swirling around the air. Rather, use natural organic cleaning products, warm water and a soft rag for dusting. Use anti-allergen, fragrance-free laundry detergents or additives when you wash curtains and rugs. There are anti-allergen products that ensure dust mites are controlled, even if you can’t use hot water.
Take a look around your home and begin by making a list of changes you’d like to make. It doesn’t all have to happen immediately, just start with one thing at a time. Implementing these allergen reduction measures in your home will go a long way in making your house as allergy friendly as possible, and best of all, will have you breathing better in no time!