10 Tips to Reduce Allergens and Have Cleaner Air in Your Home.
According to the EPA, indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air. Allergens are just one form of air pollution that may be in your home. For allergy sufferers, the time of year, a pet, mold or even dust can be a problem, but having cleaner air in your home is healthier for everyone all year long. Here are 10 tips to reduce allergens and improve your indoor air quality:
- Have house plants. Plants are a natural and beautiful way to clean the air in your home. Some plants that are good for cleaning the air are spider plants, ferns, English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Snake Plant, and several dracaena.
- Keep HVAC systems clean. Run the fan in the ‘auto’ mode when using the AC. Having the fan on all the time will raise the humidity and may lead to mold growth. Clean ducts as needed and change filters often.
- Minimize dust. Dust frequently with a damp or treated cloth that attracts the dust rather than sending it into the air. Minimize dust-gathering clutter. Have your carpet deep-cleaned. Keep your windows closed when it is windy.
- Ventilate cooking areas. A top air polluter in the home is cooking with natural gas or at high temperatures with electric appliances. Use an exhaust fan that vents to the outside, or open a window and use a small fan to move air outdoors.
- Burn candles and wood fires sparingly. Candles emit smoke and fragrances. Wood fires pollute the air both inside and outside of your home with invisible particles inhaled into the lungs that may have several adverse health effects.
- Vacuum often. Vacuum floors and carpets at least one or two times a week, using a HEPA filter that traps smaller particles. Eliminate the dust, pet dander, hair and pollen trapped in carpet, by replacing old carpet with tile, wood or vinyl.
- Clean green. Use organic, non-toxic, odor-free cleaning products or make your own. Google products and recipes. Use steam vapor cleaners that clean and disinfect using only water. Don’t store chemicals, solvents, glues or pesticides in your home.
- Have pet-free areas. As much as possible, keep pets off of beds, out of bedrooms and off of living-area furniture. Wash your pet at least once a week. Weather and safety permitting, keep your pet outside. It’s good for them, too.
- Prevent mold and mildew. If humidity is high where you live, use a dehumidifier. Turn on the bathroom ceiling vent or open a window when showering. Use paint or tile, not wallpaper in a bathroom. Keep all walls as dry as possible. Make sure all appliances vent outside the house.
- Don’t idle your car in the garage. Your car’s emissions will end up inside your house. Install a carbon monoxide detector to be sure your air is free of that silent killer. Be sure to open the flue before lighting a gas fireplace.
Allergy sufferers who aren’t helped by these measures can try using an air purifier, changing clothes after being outside, showering before bed, washing sheets and blankets in very hot water at least once a week and not drying them outside, eliminating anything with a fuzzy covering like pillows or stuffed animals, and any other procedures recommended by a doctor.