Warm weather is finally upon us, unfortunately that almost always means allergies. If you’ve found that there’s no escape from your symptoms, the air in and around your home might be to blame. Keep reading to find out what has been making your sniffling worse and how to keep your family happy and healthy this allergy season.
What Causes Allergies?
The warm, sunny weather of spring brings on the never ending sniffles and watery eyes that seem to plague everyone each year. But what exactly causes those pesky flareups every time the pollen count increases? Allergies are your body’s reaction to a foreign particles in the air called allergens. If you have an allergy to a particular allergen, like seasonal pollen, dust and dander, your immune system overreacts to its presence and brings on symptoms like hay fever and even anaphylaxis in some cases.
Reducing Allergens at Home
So when it comes to those annoying airborne allergens, how can you manage and minimize their effects when you’re indoors? Keep reading to see what tips you can use around your home.
1. Vacuum Every Week
Making sure you vacuum as a part of your regular cleaning schedule can make a huge difference, especially during peak allergy seasons. Even if you already make sure to vacuum semi-regularly, you may want to increase the frequency to keep allergens under control. We recommend thoroughly vacuuming once or twice each week to reduce the allergens that may collect around the house. Be sure to focus on carpeted floors and upholstered furniture all over the home as fabric can trap and hold onto allergen particles extremely easily. Be thorough and remember to clean and change out your vacuum’s filter to make sure that it is just as effective each time you use it.
2. Dust the Home Efficiently
Much like vacuuming, regular dusting can make a noticeable difference in the effects of allergens within your home. You should also make sure to dust your home several times each week in order to catch and remove any allergen accumulations. When you dust, move from top to bottom so you can avoid spreading dust around clean surfaces. Avoid using a feather duster or cloth and instead opt for a damp microfiber cloth. Microfiber can more effectively trap dust within the fibers instead of simply moving it around. Pay extra care to remember to clean and dust ceiling fans, blinds, curtains, and light fixtures.
3. Clean & Replace Air Filters Regularly
Warmer weather means finally switching on your home’s AC unit of central cooling system and starting to circulate that wonderful cool air. The only issue is that you could be circulating allergen filled air around your home. Be sure to also check to see if your unit or system uses permanent or disposable filters so that you know exactly how to clean them or which type of filter you’ll need to purchase when you replace them. We highly suggest replacing any filters within your home as soon as the weather changes and also making sure to clean the filter a few times each month. Check the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning and replacing any and all filters around your home.
4. Leave Shoes & Outerwear at the Door
In order to avoid bringing all those pesky outdoor allergens into your home, you’ll need to take some preventative measures. Here are a few ways to stop allergens at the door:
- Make sure you have a mat both inside and outside the entryways around your home and remember to wipe your shoes before and after entering.
- Take your shoes off after entering the home and consider implementing a no-shoes policy to avoid guests and residents from tracking allergens around the house.
- If you are wearing any outerwear when you enter the home, make sure to remove it at the door and wash it regularly so that you can prevent the spread of allergens.
- Keep your front and back patios clean and swept to keep the amount of pollen that accumulates on the surfaces just outside your home under control and reduces the amount of allergens that enter your home.
5. Reduce Clutter Around the Home
One of the best ways to keep dust accumulation under control around you home is by minimizing the clutter. The more surfaces that are created around the home, the more spaces dust, dander, and pollen particulates have to settle and accumulate. Not only is this a good way to minimize the dust around you home, it also leaves your home looking and feeling fresh and clean. Make sure items that collect dust easily like knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, books and magazines are put away in their proper places. Get the kids involved by having them clean up and put away toys, games and stuffed animals.
6. Wash All Linens Regularly
As you clean and straighten up around the house, don’t forget to freshen up the linens in each room. Regularly wash and change out towels, bedding, pillows, and throw blankets around the house. Bedding specifically can accumulate dust mites and other nasty particulates very easily, so when you wash and change your sheets and blankets, take some time to also clean and deodorize your mattress and pillows before replacing any and all covers. If you’re interested, there are also many varieties of dust-proof and hypo-allergenic sheets and bedding on the market for you to consider switching to to better manage your allergies as you sleep.
7. Keep Windows & Doors Sealed
The urge to open up the windows around your home to let in fresh air as the weather warms up can actually cause more harm than good for those with allergies. Unfortunately, by flushing the stale winter air from your home through open windows, you are opening your home to pollen and dander from the outside. Those lovely cool breezes through the windows can also stir and kick up the dust around your home and carry it all throughout your home. Rather than opening up the windows and doors to bring in pollenated air, switch on your AC and make sure the filters around your home are clean. This way you’ll be able to circulate fresh air and also remove airborne particulates at the same time.
8. Wash Your Hands & Face
You may already notice that your allergies have started to become more and more of a problem and you find yourself struggling with the classic symptoms of runny nose and eyes. With every wipe of the nose and eyes, you may actually be making your situation worse. To best keep your symptoms under control and skin clear of allergens, remember to regularly wash your face and hands. Our hands can transfer those problematic particles easily to our faces and the rest of our body so the best solution to this is the most obvious. Wash your hands frequently and remember to keep your hands away from your face so that you don’t add to your already sensitive sinuses.
9. Invest in an Air Purifier
If you’re waking up congested and find that your symptoms never improve, but you might want to take things to the next level with an air purifier. The right purifier can make a substantial difference in the air quality around your home. When you’re looking for a good air purifier, check for a high “Clean Air Delivery Rate” or CADR. A HEPA filter is a must for air purifiers as they been around since the 50s and have been shown to trap those annoying microscopic allergens. You should also make sure you purchase a device that can handle the size of the room you’ll be using it in. All you have to do is turn the device on and leave it to do its thing.
10. Keep Furry Friends Groomed
Our pets are beloved members of our family, and they love getting some fresh outdoor air just as much as we do. The only issue is that they always seem to be magnets for dander and pollen to catch onto and accumulate. The best and only way to keep our furry friends from bringing in their collection of allergy inducing particles is by keeping them clean. Regularly grooming and brushing our pets is one of the most effective ways to keep the dander and pollen they collect and produce under control. There are even a variety of dander reducing shampoos and sprays that you can use to keep your pets from making your allergies worse.
11. Manage the Humidity Within the Home
Turns out hot and humid homes can be breeding grounds for dust mites and mold. Both of these can add to and worsen your allergies and symptoms. To keep you home as free from these harmful particulates as possible, try to maintain your home’s temperature between 68° F and 72° F. You should also keep the relative humidity within your home no higher than 50% in order to keep mold from forming around the house.
Many of us can forget that curtains and horizontal blinds need just as much attention when cleaning as the rest of our home. In fact, because they are so close to the windows, they can accumulate dust and pollen particles more easily than other surface around your home. If you struggle to keep up with dusting your horizontal blinds, consider replacing them with washable roller-type shades. You may also want to look into switching to washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric rather than your regular upholstery curtains and trim.
Leave your tips and suggestions for reducing allergens in the comments below, we love hearing from you! For more tips and trick for keeping your home clean, and to find out how our friendly cleaner can help, check out cleanzen.com/denver.