Gesundheit! Tips On How To Allergy Proof Your Home
Find yourself wheezing and sniffling when you throw dinner parties at the expense of your friends? Popping allergy pills to a surprisingly poor result? Starting to feel concerned about your overwhelming excitement at new prints and tote-able options in the tissue aisle?
Whether you're a chronic allergy sufferer or someone who seems to experience perfect respiratory health outside of your home (while secretly indulging in mentholated everything while in the confines of your abode), then it is high time you allergy proof your home.
How To Prepare
Clean absolutely everything and protect your lungs in the process. When the dust starts flying, even the most allergen-resistant individuals fall victim to the discomfort of inhaling these irritants. Protect your eyes, too. Throw on a pair of protective goggles and a mask to cover your nose and mouth.
True, you will not look chic during this prep process but you won't be alone – you're inviting all of your friends over for a speedier, more effective experience. Invite your tallest buddy over for those hard to reach spots, aka: the top of the refrigerator. This is really as simple as it sounds.
Vacuum and dust every inch of your home, including the furniture. A vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is ideal, as is a static duster. Throw anything washable (think curtains or tablecloths) into the washing machine on a regular basis. Remember to practice caution with any cleaning agents, such as wood polish or glass cleaner. If chemicals pose a potentially irritating threat to you, opt for a natural home all-purpose cleaner, made of 1 part vinegar + 1 part water (sprinkle a little baking soda on hard-to-clean surfaces and spray with the solution).
Don't forget those high-moisture zones, too. Mold growth in areas like bathrooms puts you at high risk for allergies.
What To Remove
Take everything out of your home you can think of that is a potential allergen. Start at the top and work your way down to avoid any frustration or pulled muscles.
- Fake Plants Or Other Dust Traps: Think about the décor that attracts and traps dust on the top shelves. Take these down, dust them and retire them to a closet. Or donate them. Real plants? Transplant them into the great outdoors or limit them to a specific area of your home.
- Anything Scented: Candles, potpourri, room deodorizers – no matter how much you love the candle on your mantle, it's time to say goodbye. A clean home is a nice-smelling home. Pumpkin spice in the autumn and ocean breeze during the summer is lovely, but simply not worthy of an asthma attack.
- Clutter: It is so important to straighten this one out. Dust and other allergens fill up in the spaces between that vase and those magazines... and about those dirty dishes potentially attracting disease-carrying cockroaches. Become an organizational fiend and keep your keepsakes and other items in containers. Transfer magazines to easily accessible, stylish file boxes. Remember not to feel overwhelmed. The clutter project may be an ongoing one and you will reach your goal if you accomplish a little bit every day.
- The Carpet: OK, so maybe removing the carpet in your home is not practical. If it is, however, go for it. Carpet is a huge source of allergen problems – harboring dust, dust mites and sometimes acting as a moisture trap beneath which mold develops. For carpet that must stay, consider having it professionally cleaned and keep up with vacuum duties. The ideal flooring is a hard surface, such as vinyl or hardwoods. In the case of throw rugs, purchase those that are easily thrown into the washing machine to save yourself from the sniffles.
Items To Bring In
Fortunately for you, the world is full of allergy sufferers and products to help you breathe easy in your own home. Consider some very helpful items:
- Ozone-free air purifiers
- Small lamps in place of candles
- A dehumidifier to reduce moisture and potential mold growth
- An electric fireplace – smoke from traditional fireplaces is a definite no-no
- Allergen-free, dust-mite resistant bedding (it makes all the difference in the world)
Other Smart Choices To Make If You...
Have Friends Or Relatives Who Are Smokers Or Heavy Perfume Wearers: Make your needs known. Let loved ones know ahead of time that you occupy an allergen-free zone and explain that smoking is outside and away from the house – no exceptions.
Have Pets: Just because you have pets doesn't mean you need to allow your dogs or cats to have free reign throughout the entire home. Designate specific areas – preferably easy-to-clean areas – for your pets and keep spaces like the bedroom off-limits.
Have An Out Of Control Garden: Highly allergic to plants? Those year-long repeat bloomers hanging around right outside of your window are not so ideal. Transplant them further away from your home, or dig them up and give them away to decrease your exposure to pollen.
Have A Pest Problem: Aside from their otherwise repulsive nature, pests like cockroaches and mice are known to carry a variety of germs and diseases and can make allergies much worse. Contact a pest control professional to discuss your options.
Your home is your respite from the rest of the world – if you can't relax there, where can you relax? While deep cleaning and learning about new products might feel overwhelming as you begin, the results will be so rewarding you'll finally be able to kick back, relax and breathe a nice, long, wheeze-free sigh of relief.