With warmer weather around the corner, we will soon approach the terrible discomfort of allergy season. Every spring, millions of Americans suffer through the sneezing, itching, wheezing and coughing cause by allergies to pollen, mold and dust-mites, among other things. They turn to their doctors and pharmacists for help dealing with the symptoms.
But what can you do to make your home allergen free? As it turns out, plenty! Improvements you make to your home to prevent allergies can make for a powerful selling point.
First, a warning: Before you take on some of these allergy-fighting projects, protect yourself. Wear a dust mask and plastic gloves. Take a shower and wash your clothes in hot water after you're done
- You spend a large fraction of your life in your bedroom, so let's start there. Keeping the bedroom allergen free will help you get a better night's sleep.
- Keep the windows closed.
- Vacuum carpets twice a week with HEPA-Filter vacuum.
- Wash bed linens once a week in hot water, and blankets and mattress pads twice a month.
- Wash curtains and blinds once a month, or replace them with shades.
- Cover beds and pillows with dust-mite and allergen-impermeable covers.
- Dust with a damp rag - you want to capture dust particles, not stir them up into the air!
- Keep pets out. Pets are magnets for dust and they'll undermine all your other efforts if you let them in the bedroom.
- Change your air filters every month to six weeks.
- Replace carpet in the kitchen with tile or hardwood floors.
- Scrub the garbage can and deodorize your garbage disposal to avoid attracting cockroaches and other bugs.
- Don't leave food or dirty dishes out.
- Clean refrigerator spills right away to avoid mold
- Run the exhaust fan when cooking to reduce moisture.
- In bathrooms, the key is to eliminate moisture. Here, the problem is mold.
- Make sure you run the fan when you shower.
- No wallpaper. It's a perfect place for mold to hide behind.
- No wall-to-wall carpet. Bath mats washed once a week
- Wash bath towels once a week in hot water.
- Wash shower curtains once a month.
- Clean your toothbrush holder!
For more help and advice, follow these links to the Mayo Clinic, Better Homes and Gardens, How Stuff Works and This Old House websites. When it comes time to sell, we'll work together to present potential buyers with all of the benefits of your home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.
Image courtesy of Lory Lindner/Flickr.com