Ah, spring: The time of year when flowers bloom, the air warms and … ahh-choo! … your allergies start to drive you crazy.
You might not be able to do much about the pollen and other common sneeze-inducers outside but inside your apartment? That's another story.
Allergens — substances that provoke the immune system, even though they're usually harmless — are often found in the home in the forms of dust and mold.
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 allergens everywhere 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. Read on, fellow allergy sufferers, for eight practical tips on how to get rid of allergies.
Dust mites are the ultimate allergens. To keep them out, 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.
In general, the cleaner your apartment, 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.
Throw out expired food and wipe out the inside and outside to avoid mold growth. Scrub your bathtub or shower as often as needed to prevent mold and mildew growth. Vacuum couch cushions and throw pillows often.
Many renters love carpet — after all, it's cushiony, comfortable and it keeps your feet a bit warmer during the winter. However, carpet easily traps allergens in its fibers. Invest in a high-quality vacuum, and clean your carpet from wall to wall regularly.
Your laundry hamper traps everything from dust mites to pet dander. 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.
Wash sheets in hot water once a week. Encase your mattress in a dust mite-proof cover. On top of doing laundry more, you can also put your hamper in the closet to keep any dust or dander better contained.
Don't forget your favorite childhood stuffed animal we all know you still have. Wash them in the machine, if possible. If not, put the toy in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill dust mites hiding in the stuffing.
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.
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 in — it's pollen, too. Keep your windows closed if you notice yourself getting really stuffed up during the typical spring allergy season. Also, you can buy washable curtains and dust your blinds often.
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.
Figuring out how to get rid of allergies can be hard. But you can increase your chances of eliminating your apartment of allergens by following these simple tips. Not only will they cut down on the number of tissues you'll go through, but it will make your apartment a nice, clean oasis, as well.