If your allergies on full blast lately, maybe it is time for some “spring” cleaning (even if it is 100 degrees outside). It’s normal to experience allergies, even if only seasonally. This is a great time to ensure you’re following the correct steps to keep your home clean and clear of any pesky particles. It may be hard to know where to start. Here are some tips.

1. Stay on Top of Cleaning

Dust and pollen can quickly enter your home through open windows and even be brought in on clothing. These allergens make a home for themselves in various spots and can become problematic if not appropriately handled. There are three easy areas you can focus on to reduce indoor allergens.

Floors & Carpets

Allergens can be tracked inside your home on your shoes or through open windows and quickly build up on floors and carpets over time. Carpets require deeper cleaning than surfaces like hardwood, laminate or tile floors, but all of these areas should be given appropriate attention through regular sweeping and mopping of hard surfaces and vacuuming carpets and rugs.

Dusting

Skin cells, animal dander, dust and other particles make an excellent spot for pollen to gather. Routinely dusting furniture and fixtures in your home with a damp cloth is another way to keep allergens out. Reducing buildup will help keep allergies away for longer.

Bedding and Clothes

Fibers in your fabrics act as a trap for pollen and other allergens. It’s essential to wash bedding and clean fabrics around the house frequently. Immediately put clothing away in the closet or dresser to protect it from airborne particles. Allergen-proof bedding is also an option if you have specific trouble with allergies at night.

2. Make Use of Proper Air Filtration

The primary way allergens circulate in your home is through airborne particles. Open windows contribute significantly, but your HVAC system will only worsen it without proper filtration. It may be tempting when temperatures warm, but keep your windows closed to keep pollens out. The following items can help you stay comfortable at home and breathe easily.

HVAC Filters

HVAC systems are great for controlling temperature in your home, but it’s essential to ensure your systems aren’t also spreading irritants. Allergen-specific filters can prevent mold, pollen and other contaminants from circulating. Keep track of how long it’s been since you changed your filters —a good rule of thumb is to replace every 3 months — and maintain them as needed. Here’s a tip: set an auto-reminder to replace your filter every 3 months on your phone calendar.

Air Purifiers

If you don’t have a central air conditioning system or want to more aggressively combat allergens, consider using an air purifier. Air purifiers are great for removing pollutants and allergens in specific areas of the home. They must be checked regularly. Monitor your purifier filter for build-up.

Dehumidifiers

Humidity can significantly affect your home’s overall air quality. If you have areas that are more damp than others, use a dehumidifier to eliminate mold and dust mites. You can use a hygrometer to monitor your home’s inside humidity levels. Try to keep indoor humidity under 50%.

3. Control Allergies Caused by Pets

Anyone with pets knows additional care is needed to keep your home clean. This applies to allergens as well. Pets can bring in pollen or dust and leave it behind on floors, carpets and furniture. Here are a few suggestions to help address this problem.

Keep Pets Properly Groomed

There is a myth that pet allergies are triggered by animal hair, but they are actually caused by a protein found in pet skin (or dander), saliva and urine. Some dog breeds are labeled “hypoallergenic,” as they shed less, but no dog is 100% hypoallergenic—even hairless dogs still have allergens. Dander is released from pets when they shed, contributing to indoor allergy irritants. Regularly grooming your pets will help remove any allergens your pet may have picked up outside or from the surrounding air.

Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom

Although grooming will help reduce overall allergens from your pets, they will likely still leave some particles behind. If you are experiencing trouble breathing at night, your pets may be behind those issues. Keeping your sleeping space and animals separate could help you breathe and sleep better.

Wash Pet Toys and Bedding

Your pets interact with their toys and bedding daily, so it makes sense that those items harbor allergens. Regularly wash these items to keep them free from dander and other irritants.

HEPA air Purifier

Consider investing in an air purifier, especially for those with pet allergies. Animal dander is not a heavy allergen, meaning it remains in the air for longer periods of time. This can therefore cause more of an inhalation related trigger for allergy symptoms. A HEPA air purifier will purify the air of these allergens to provide cleaner air inside your home.

We Know Allergies

Allergens are abundant throughout the year, so knowing how to handle them in your home is important. Whether you experience allergies seasonally or year-round, we know how to help. For more information on seasonal allergens and other valuable topics, visit our allergist newsletter.