The air quality in our homes is vitally important, and although when people think of “allergies” they typically think of hayfever (caused by pollen in the summertime), many of us also suffer from allergies that derive from a vast array of different things floating around in the air that we breathe.
In this guide we’re going to look at some room-by-room suggestions for how you can reduce the chances of your allergies playing up in your own home.
But before we dive in, let’s look at some common symptoms you might be experiencing if you think you may have allergies caused by something in your home…
Do you suffer from these allergy symptoms in your home?
If you suffer from any of the following throughout the year, then these are typically signs that there might be allergens in the air you are breathing that your body is reacting to.
- Wheezing when breathing in
- Difficulty breathing in general / a feeling of weight on your chest
Allergens in the air trigger these asthma-like symptoms above and they can be dangerous if they get worse, or if you aren’t able to control them with an inhaler.
So what exactly are allergens?
Allergens are compounds that are dispersed through the air. They land on the ground and on furniture and come in different sizes. Allergens are measured in microns (also called micrometers).
It’s these pesky substances that we unwittingly breathe in that irritate or inflame our airways causing the symptoms above.
Reducing allergies in your home room by room
Thankfully there are quite a few things you can do in your home to improve the quality of the air you breathe.
Let’s take a look at a typical house room-by-room;
- Carpets & Flooring – The carpets in your house are home to dust and many different particles and allergens. Removing carpet and utilising hardwood floors instead is great at combating allergens as hardwood floors don’t allow particles to sit several layers deep and any particles sitting on the surface can be easily removed by dusting or mopping. If installing hardwood flooring isn’t something you want to do, then look to replace your carpet with a low-pile option. We’d also recommend investing in a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Dust Surfaces – It’s important to regularly wipe surfaces to remove dust particles that have built up. Remove all ornaments and give the surfaces in your living room a good wipe to eliminate dust spores that you could be breathing in triggering your allergies.
- Furniture – Your furniture can also be home to allergens so make sure you regularly vacuum it and wash the covers if you can. Don’t allow pets to sit on your sofa – have them sleep in their own bed or designated area.
- Curtains / Blinds – Use basic cotton or synthetic drapes that can be washed. Vertical blinds should be swapped out for washable roller shades.
- Windows – If you suffer from hayfever you should close your windows and use air conditioning instead. It’s also really important to clean and remove condensation (and any mould) from windows and window sills too, as this prevents particles from the mould from being inhaled.
- Plants – If you have plants in your living room (or home in general) then use pea shingle on top of the soil to prevent any mould from growing.
- Fires – The fumes that wood burning fires give off can really affect your respiratory system. While they provide heat and look lovely, gas alternatives are better if you suffer from allergies.
- Worktops – All worktops should be regularly cleaned as part of your cleaning routine. This prevents any dust and bacteria from forming and getting into the air.
- Cabinets – When was the last time you gave the inside of all your kitchen cabinets a good dust and thorough clean out? Dust particles love to call cabinets home, so get in there and give them a good clean.
- Sink – Perhaps surprisingly, a lot of germs can be found in our sinks. To lessen this, keep them clean and empty the sink strainers. Pour 8 ounces of vinegar and 3 ounces of baking soda down the drain, wait 10 minutes, and then flush the drain with hot water to clean it. Grease and other debris will be removed from the drain as a result.
- Fridge – this can be a place where mould can grow on old food and there can be a lot of moisture, so be sure to clean out any old food and give the door and sills a good wipe to remove any mould and moisture.
- Bedding – This should be washed at least once a week to keep it from harboring unwanted particles that affect the quality of the air you breathe when you sleep. Also, make sure you use dust mite-proof covers on your pillows, duvet and mattress. If you’ve got any wool or feather bedding, it’s ideal to replace those with synthetic materials.
- Flooring – As per our advice for the living room – if you can – opt for hardwood flooring. If not, make sure you vacuum regularly or get low-pile carpets put down to limit the amount of allergens.
- Windows / Curtains & Blinds – Again, as per our advice for the living room, clean mould and condensation from window frames and sills to ensure it’s not affecting the quality of the air and use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Horizontal blinds are better replaced with washable roller-blinds instead as dust builds up massively on horizontal blinds.
- Furniture – avoid upholstered furniture and opt for leather, wood, metal or plastic instead. Be sure to clean these regularly.
- Utilise Air Filtration – Select an air filter with a HEPA or small-particle filter. Try repositioning your air filter so that while you sleep, it blows fresh air in your direction.
- Pets – Keep pets out of your bedroom so that dander can’t be transferred to this area where you spend so much of your time.
- Ventilation – Install and use an air extraction device to filter the air and prevent moisture, condensation and ultimately mould from growing on windows and other surfaces.
- Mop Flooring & Clean Tiles – Regularly mop and clean floors in all your bathrooms to eliminate dirt and allergens from building up. You’ll also want to wipe down all the tiles in your bathroom and importantly your shower after use.
- Establish a Once-a-Week Deep Cleaning Routine – unsurprisingly our bathrooms are home to lots of dirt and as a result different allergens. To ensure the air quality is tip-top, you need to be cleaning your bathroom with antibacterial and bleach products once a week.
General tips to reduce allergies in your home
Let’s look at some more general tips for the whole of your home…
- Temperature & humidity – Humid and hot houses are breeding grounds for dust mites and mould. Ideally you want to aim to maintain a temperature in your home between 20 °C – 22 °C and make sure you regularly clean and replace any air filters in your central heating, cooling system or air conditioners.
- Vacuum twice a week – It’s a pain, but regularly vacuuming will remove allergens from carpets. Beware poor quality vacuums though, as these can release dust back into the air. Look for a HEPA vacuum which will trap harmful spores as well.
- Pet dander – Unfortunately there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet! Pet dander is basically skin cells that animals shed, some of which are particularly prone to triggering allergies. Our advice; vacuum regularly, wash or groom your pets regularly (if you can!), keep pets out of the bedroom and wash your animals bedding often.
- Prevent pollen from entering your home – In warm weather, use air conditioning to lower humidity and manage dust mites. Replace your air filters frequently.
- Avoid mould – Reduce the amount of moisture in the vicinity of the kitchen, bathroom, and other wet locations. Here are some strategies for minimising mould:
– Don’t run shows for a long time before you get in.
– Use a dehumidifier.
– Only have a few house plants.
– If you see mould on a surface, clean it immediately.
- Avoid smoking – Lastly an obvious one, but dont allow smoking inside your house.
Do air purifiers help allergies?
An air purifier can help you feel better by cleansing the air if you have allergy or asthma problems within your home.
The brands and models of air purifiers vary widely, so before buying an air purifier, ascertain the size of your room and your unique filtering requirements.
If you’re looking to purchase an air purifier, check out this article which has in depth info and reviews.
Regularly replace your air filters
Don’t stop there though.
Once you’ve got air purification / filtration in place in your home, remember that it’s vitally important to ensure that the filters themselves are clean so that the system is running as efficiently as possible and filtering out as many damaging air particles as possible.
Take a look at our air filtration online shop to browse and buy air filters at fantastic prices with free delivery on orders over £150, a stellar support team and full refunds if you return an item within 30-days.
- How to reduce allergens at home – Breathing Space
- Allergy-Proof Your Home – Mayo Clinic
- How Can I Control Indoor Allergens and Improve Indoor Air Quality? – Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America
- Allergy triggers in your home – British Lung Foundation
- 5 Best HEPA Vacuums of 2022 – Spotless Vacuum