We tend to think of allergens and air pollution as something outside such as smog, ozone, pollen and airborne particulates. But the truth is, the air inside homes can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may contain a host of allergens and pollutants. There are a host of toxins in common house dust, formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.
Removing indoor allergens and pollutants has become much more important in recently because we're spending more time indoors. Our modern homes are airtight, and these allergens and pollutants can't easily escape.
Once allergens and pollution find their way into your home they hide in unexpected places. Nooks and crannies, children's toys, a friendly pet, carpet, curtains and fabric covered furniture can all be hiding places for allergy and asthma triggering allergens. Dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, cockroaches and even pollen brought in from the outdoors can trigger an allergy or asthma attack in people sensitive to these triggers. Allergy and asthma triggers interfere with the most routine tasks of life like sleeping, working and playing. These allergens and pollutants can be greatly reduced by taking certain steps.
Start with aggressive cleaning, you can improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy symptoms with this all important and simple first step. You need to remove the source of as many allergens that you are sensitive to as possible. This includes pets, carpets, overstuffed furniture, stuffed toys, non-encased mattresses and pillows and bedding not washable in hot water.
If you choose to keep carpet, it is important to choose a carpet with a low pile that is very dense. This will do the best job of keeping dirt and allergens on the top level of the carpet. Make sure to regularly have the carpets professionally cleaned.
Following these guidelines will go a long way towards reducing allergens and pollutants as well as reducing their harmful triggers that promote allergy and asthma symptoms.
Control dust mites. Keep surfaces in the home clean and uncluttered to help control dust mites as an allergy trigger. Bare floors and walls are best, particularly in the bedroom where you spend one-third of your time. If you prefer carpet in the bedroom choose a low-pile tightly woven carpet. That type of carpeting is better at keeping dust and dirt on the surface of the carpet where a good vacuum can remove it. The single most important method is to put zippered allergen impermeable covers on all pillows, mattresses and box springs. Encasing mattresses and bedding along with using a quality air purifier with HEPA technology will reduce the allergens in the bedroom. Every week, wash bedding, uncovered pillows and stuffed toys in hot water (130 degree F.) to kill mites.
Vacuum once or preferably twice weekly. Frequent vacuuming will keep the dust and all the toxins the dust contains under control. Vacuuming will also put dust in the air. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or special double filter bags if possible. If you have dust allergies, wear a dust mask while doing housework. Use a damp or treated cloth for dusting.
Prevent animal dander. Most doctors suggest that people allergic to animal dander not keep household pets. Dogs and cats produce multiple allergens, or proteins that can cause a pet allergy. These allergens are found in the animal’s hair, dander, saliva and urine. All dogs and cats produce allergens. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat (not cause allergy). Dog and cat allergen levels increase if the animal lives indoors and are higher in the rooms where the animal is allowed. Cover furnace or air handling vents with dense material like cheesecloth to help stop the spread of animal allergens when the furnace fan is operating. Because animal allergens are sticky, you need to remove the animal's favorite furniture and replace wall-to-wall carpet with bare floors or at least a low pile densely woven carpet.
Prevent entry of pollen by keeping windows and doors closed. Keep your home closed up tight during the active pollen season. Air conditioning in warm weather is best and also helps control dust mites by reducing humidity. Change filters often if you use window units. Run your HEPA air purifier to help control indoor pollen and dust mites. If you don't have one you should investigate getting one.
Avoid mold spores. Reduce moisture around the bathroom, kitchen and other water areas of the home. Dehumidifiers will help reduce both mold spores and dust mites. Limit yourself to a few house plants. Fix all leaks and other causes of damp areas that may grow mold. Clean moldy surfaces immediately.
Control cockroaches. Do not leave food or garbage uncovered that would attract cockroaches and their allergy triggers. Use poison baits, boric acid and traps rather than chemical agents that can irritate rhinitis and asthma.
Keep in mind that as you work to reduce allergens in your home do not reintroduce them as you replace carpet, furniture or repaint. These seemingly simple solutions will add VOC’s and off gassing of chemicals if you do not choose your products wisely.
Insist on chemical free or non-harmful chemicals in your choice of carpeting. The same goes for the furniture. Insure that the glues and finishes used in making the furniture are non VOC. Be careful about the paint that you use. Some paint choices have an allergen-producing danger that many people do not think about. The best paints to use are eco-friendly paints. They are ones that are marketed as “green.” You want to look for paint that has low or no VOC content. New paints today are able to match the coverage of older mixes of paint without the high chemical content. It is possible to find these low VOC paints in almost any paint store.
Along with all of these steps, you should consider using HEPA air purifiers in your home. They will compliment your efforts to rid your home of harmful airborne allergens by keeping the air clean. Use a HEPA air purifier in your home to keep the airborne allergens trapped in the filter and not in your body.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help.