Housekeeping for Summer Allergies
Think you only have to worry about finding allergy remedies in the spring and fall? Think again: Research shows that allergy season is lasting for longer than ever before, stretching well into summer. Add to that indoor triggers, such as dust and pet dander, and you’ve got the perfect storm for sniffles, sneezes and watery eyes.
To find relief, banish those triggers from your home. Use these smart cleaning tips to sweep, scrub and block allergens away.
1. Have a no-shoe rule.
To avoid tracking pollen from outside throughout your home, set out a doormat and have family members take of your shoes in the foyer or the mud room. Also wipe down your pets after they frolic outside.
2. Use a small-particle or HEPA vacuum.
Research shows a HEPA vacuum, which is designed to suck up tiny particles, removes more allergens than standard vacuums. Vacuum your carpets and sweep and mop hard surfaces at least once a week.
3. Wash bedding and towels regularly.
Pollen and dust mites can cling to fabric. Encase your mattresses, pillows and box springs with dust-mite-free covers, and wash your bedding once a week in 130 degree water, recommends the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Between laundry cycles, use an allergen reducer, such as Febreze Fabric Refresher Allergen Reducer.
4. Use microfiber cloths.
Wiping down surfaces with a plain-old cotton rag will just spread dust around. Instead, opt for a static-charged microfiber cloth, which will trap those allergens.
5. Change your filters.
If someone in your family suffers during allergy season, it’s smart to shut the windows and run the air-conditioning on high-pollen days. Make sure the appliance is working efficiently by cleaning and replacing the air filter as recommended.
6. Scrub away mold.
Sniffle-inducing mold grows best in warm, humid spots. To prevent it from growing, frequently scrub your tub and basement. For an effective, inexpensive solution, mix together 2 cups vinegar, 1/2 cup salt and 2 cups of borax, suggests the AAAAI. Apply the mixture, let it sit 30 minutes, scrub with a soft-bristled brush and rinse well with warm water.