8 Ways to Eliminate Home Allergens
People with allergies are part of an exclusive (sniffly) club. They're the only people who know how it feels to be constantly at war with everything from dust to pollen to pet hair, all in an effort to continue breathing effortlessly. People who don't have allergies? They just don't get it.
When you're prone to sniffles and sneezes during allergy season – or at any other time of year – it's important to keep your apartment as free of allergens as possible. Luckily, a little elbow grease is all it takes. Read on, my fellow allergy sufferers, for eight practical tips.
1. Get Rid of Dust Mites
Dust mites are the ultimate allergens. That's because it's so easy for dust to settle into unswept corners and underneath furniture. Your first step toward getting rid of dust mites: Dust your entire apartment. Use a damp rag or a Dustbuster on every surface, including your blinds and window treatments, and make sure to clean every inch of your floors thoroughly.
Then, take extra steps to keep dust mites at bay. Use dust covers on your pillows and mattresses, get rid of any unused baskets or bins in your closets that gather dust, and wash your sheets regularly. These basic steps will keep these pesky allergens at a minimum.
2. Clean Up
In general, the cleaner your apartment is, the less likely you'll have to deal with allergens. Set a cleaning schedule with your roommates to make sure the place is dusted, wiped down, swept, and vacuumed at least once a week.
3. Vacuum Your Carpet
Many renters love carpet – after all, it's cushiony, comfortable, and it keeps your feet a bit warmer during the winter. However, carpet, more so than other types of flooring, easily traps allergens in its fibers. Invest in a high-quality vacuum, and clean your carpet from wall to wall regularly.
4. Do The Laundry
Your laundry hamper traps everything from dust mites to pet dander, if you have a furry friend. Likewise, your sheets and pillowcases pick up allergens more quickly than you may think. If you're struggling with sniffles and sneezes, you may want to amp up your laundry schedule.
Aim to change out your sheets every couple of weeks. On top of doing laundry more, you can also put your hamper in the closet to keep any dust or dander better contained.
5. Keep Fido or Felix Groomed
Pet allergies are some of the most common, so if you own a cat or dog, your furry friend may be to blame for your sniffles. Cut down on Fido's dander by keeping him groomed and clean. Use a brush or fur-grabbing tool to pick up loose fur, and take it immediately out of your apartment so it doesn't find its way into your carpet or bedding.
Also, give Fido a bath every once in a while – the more on top of his grooming you are, the less likely his dander and fur will get all over your apartment.
6. Close Your Windows
When the weather starts to warm up for spring, it feels blissful to open your windows and let in the breeze. However, it's not just a breeze you're letting into your place – it's pollen, too. Keep your windows closed if you notice yourself getting really stuffed up during the typical spring allergy season.
7. Replace Your Vent Filters
Dust, dirt, lint, and other debris often build up in vents. And you know what that means: Your heat or air conditioning then blows that debris into your apartment, filling the air with potential allergens. If your landlord didn't replace the vent filters before you moved in, see if he or she is willing to make that upgrade now. Most landlords will be happy to.
Clutter is your worst enemy when it comes to ridding your apartment of allergens. That pile of clothes in your closet and the stack of old magazines in the basket in the living room gather tons of dust. The moral? If you're not using it, throw it out. Keep your apartment clear of any spots that can easily fill with dust. You'll be free of allergens in no time – or at least freer.