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Allergen-Proofing Your Home

Sometimes creating a healthy home is more complicated than just switching cleaning products. Many of us have allergies – caused by beloved pets or household dust – that need to be tamed without upsetting one’s lifestyle. Allergy-proofing your home will cut down on exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Dust-proof your rooms. Eliminate wall-to-wall carpets and any other dust catchers. Use window shades instead of Venetian blinds, which can trap dust. (You can leave curtains in place, provided you wash them regularly in hot water to kill dust mites.) Dust your furniture regularly with a damp cloth, and clean the floors with an oiled mop. In your bedroom, eliminate down-filled blankets and feather pillows, and encase your mattress in an airtight, dust-proof plastic cover.
  • If you have a pet, ask someone who isn’t allergic to the animal to brush it frequently. Bathing your pet frequently will also help, and try to keep your pet out of your bedroom.
  • Consider buying a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores. These devices work well and aren’t too expensive. Get one for the main rooms in your house, or move one from room to room regularly. Avoid air filtering equipment that generates ozone (HEPA filters don’t).
  • Upgrade your vacuum cleaner: Many vacuum cleaners on the market today incorporate HEPA filters, which means you can clean the air as you clean your floors and upholstery. Older vacuums with less effective filters can actually kick up more dust into the air than was there before.
  • Keep your furnace filters clean: This can not only help clear the air, but save money, as the furnace blowers now operate more efficiently.