If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, you may wonder how to get rid of the allergens that cause sneezing, congestion, coughing, sore throats, headaches, and other bothersome symptoms. With a quick room-by-room check, you can eliminate contaminants and keep them from coming back, creating an allergy-proof house.
The first place to look is in the bedrooms of your home since many people get worsening symptoms when they sleep. Invest in plastic covers that resist dust mites for your pillows, mattresses, and box springs, since many people are allergic to these small, common household pests. Wash the bedding, including the comforter and duvet cover, every week on the hot setting to kill any contaminants that might be on them. Replace any feather or wool-based bedding materials with synthetic options.
Take the curtains down and wash them at least every week. If you have carpeting in the bedrooms, you might want to think about replacing it with hardwood, tile, or another material that won’t attract any house dust. Get rid of clutter on top of dressers, nightstands, and other tables in the bedroom, since these accumulate dust as well. If you have pets in your home, make sure to keep them out of your bed and even out of the bedroom if possible.
Most homeowners do pretty well in keeping the kitchen clean, but certain overlooked tasks can cause worsening allergy symptoms. If you’re in the habit of leaving dishes in the sink, break that habit. If mold grows on the plates or bowls, you may have allergies to the spores. Rodents will often come in if you have food or crumbs available, so sweep the floors and wipe the countertops every time you prepare food. Use your exhaust fan when cooking on the stove, since the excess moisture produced can also increase the chance of mold growth.
If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your living areas, consider replacing it with wood, tile, or laminate to get rid of excess dust. When replacement isn’t an option, invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which can pull and trap smaller particles from the carpet fibers. It’s best if you can vacuum once a week and shampoo the carpets about once a month. Keep the blinds or shades free of dust and other debris, and dust tabletops every week.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace in your home, avoid using it as smoke can make allergies worse. Don’t let anyone smoke in or near your home. Bring in a professional to clean the air ducts in your HVAC system at least once a year to help improve the indoor air quality.
Having a basement is a great addition to any home, but this area tends to have a number of problems that can cause allergies. Since the basement sits beneath the ground level, any water from leaks or floods will settle here. If you don’t access your basement very often, you may not realize that you’ve had a flood until the damage is done. Mold also grows within a few days of moisture exposure, and many people are highly allergic to it.
Mold can also damage the integrity of your structure. Keep an eye on your basement for signs of water damage and get it tested for mold at least every year. If the air feels heavy and damp, use a dehumidifier to lower the moisture level to between 30 and 50 percent.
With the steam from showers and baths can come an increased risk of mold growth, so make sure to use the exhaust fan every time you bathe. Use bleach to clean moldy spots from the shower or tub. If the toilet, sink, or tub overflows, make sure to clean up the water quickly to avoid further damage.
Fighting allergies is not easy, but with the right supplies, you’ll be able to create a home where your family won’t suffer. Learn more about improved indoor air quality and how it can reduce allergies by calling McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning at (936) 465-9191.
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