Spring is here, and the blooming flowers and the fresh smell of green grass are both welcome after the cold winter months. Of course, itchy, watery eyes, dry throats and sneezing – all caused by the pollen in the air – aren’t welcome as the weather turns warmer. Allergy sufferers complain that early spring is one of the worst times for their seasonal allergies.
While you can’t stop Mother Nature from showcasing her blooms outside, there are ways to get your home ready for spring inside. If allergens are bothering you this season, here are a few ways to make your home cleaner and more allergen free than before!
Start at the front door by removing your shoes.
If your family makes it a habit of wearing their outdoor shoes inside, you are tracking in pollen, mold, dirt, pesticides and other allergens onto your floors, carpets, and upholstery. Try to create one entrance for your family to take off shoes and put on slippers or flip-flops before setting foot in the house. A mudroom, garage entrance, or a foyer bench with seating for your family to change shoes could be just the answer to keeping unwanted outdoor allergens out of your home’s interior.
Determine which allergens are bothering your family.
Before you start trying to clean your home, it will help to know what you and your family are allergic to. For many, it is seasonal plants, pollen, smog, and pollutants. Other factors could be dust mites in your home, pet dander from your pets, and other allergens that are often overlooked. See an allergist to pinpoint exactly what you’re allergic to. Once you do, the allergist may also be able to advise preventive measures to try at home.
Take care of airborne allergens in your home.
If your family is having allergic reactions to the air in your home, look to your air conditioning and heating systems to ensure you are changing the filters regularly. If your systems are more than 10 years old, they may need replacing to improve air-quality based on your local environmental agency standards. Consider hiring an HVAC professional to come service your unit to make sure it’s operating at the recommended levels.
Regularly dust your ceiling fans, plant ledges, bookshelves, and under the bed where dust bunnies or clumps of dust tend to accumulate. Also, change your vacuum cleaner bag and filters inside your vacuum routinely. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the canister often. The ultimate solution is to get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting and replace with resilient flooring options such as wood or tile.
Look to your bedroom for common allergen culprits.
Your mattress could be the source of many of your allergies. How old is your mattress? Manufacturers recommend replacing your mattress every 8 years and advise that you never buy a used mattress because it could contain unwanted toxins. If you’ve just come back from a vacation or business trip, make it a habit not to put your suitcase on your bed when packing and unpacking. This is a common way for bed bugs and other mites to travel into your home. Consider using a zip-on dust mite mattress cover for your bed to keep dust mites from bothering you while you sleep. Do the same for your children’s beds, and always wash linens regularly.
Don’t forget your bathroom where mold can build up quickly.
Even though mold may not be visible, remember mildew, moisture, and air can come together to create the perfect storm for mold to grow on bathroom surfaces, in between tile grout, and on wall seams. Caulk your bathroom grout every few years to ensure water isn’t seeping behind walls or under bathroom materials to lead to mold allergen issues in the future.
Now that spring is here, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the fresh blooms and warm temperatures of the season. Look to these helpful ways to keep allergies away throughout this season. From your front door to your bedroom and bathroom, there are ways to minimize allergens all over your house. This season, get your home ready; you will be happier and healthier once you do.