Keep Your Home Allergen-Free for Spring
Making Choices for Your Unique Allergy Situation
If you are reading this, then it’s safe to say that preventing allergies is a big concern for you. So, before we jump into the things you can do in the long run, let’s also talk about choices you can make to help ensure your home is resistant to common allergy-causing materials.
- Consider your floors. Carpets catch a lot of dirt, dust, and pollen, while hardwood floors do not. You may want more carpet in your home, but if you suffer from allergies, you might want to think about how your flooring impacts your health. If you aren’t ready to spend the extra time and money to take care of carpeting (and protect your health), then weigh the benefits of getting more hardwood flooring.
- Look at the material your furniture is made from. Soft fabrics are going to collect all the same nasty allergens your carpet will. Vinyl and leather furniture are less susceptible to dust collection, and there are several methods of furniture covering that can keep furniture clean over time.
- Avoid heavy drapes or curtains. Sure, they can look great. But they are nets for any allergens in the air, plus they are difficult to clean. And, not for nothing, they often make a room darker and less inviting if not used correctly.
Preparing for Allergy Season
Of course, there are steps that you should be taking before the spring season starts.
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. A regular vacuuming schedule of at least once a week means that you are getting more particles off fabrics and the carpet, and not allowing them to settle into the fibers. Furthermore, you can work the material so that deep-down particles are removed more readily. Vacuum your carpets, furniture, and curtains—basically, anything made of fabric.Note: this only works if you keep your vacuum clean as well.
- Use allergy-resistant bedding. These materials are typically made with a tighter weave and with special fabrics that resist dust and pests, such as dust mites. They aren’t a cure-all on their own, but as part of an anti-allergy strategy, they can provide a comfortable place to sleep.
- Change out your air filters. Follow the instructions for your HVAC air filters and stick to a regular replacement schedule. These filters collect all the nasty stuff from your circulating air. Thus, leaving your filters in too long just releases all that material back into your home.Side note: Don’t try to cut corners on air filters. Buy filters that catch allergens, pollen, insects, and molds.
Test the Furniture
We sit on our couches, chairs, and loveseats every day, which makes it that much harder to determine if they aren’t necessarily the cleanest they could be. Try a basic test on your furniture to see how much your couch could be contributing to your allergies:
- Smack it. That’s right. Just hit it with your hand. If you see dust (or anything) disperse, it’s time to consider a cleaning.
- Sniff it. If you smell smoke, mold, or mildew, then you have a problem. If you smell ammonia (and you have pets) then you have an even worse problem.
If you see dust or smell smoke, then most often a professional cleaning should help. If you have pets and there are pet messes in the fabric, then the messes could be releasing allergens into the air. Your best bet might be a complete reupholstery, if not just buying a new piece of furniture.
Regular Allergy Carpet Cleaning
Of course, if allergies are a serious problem, then regular carpet and upholstery cleaning are a necessity. Your best bet is to have a cleaning every 3-4 months or more, as needed (especially if you live in an area with high pollen or if you have issues with water damage). This schedule might also depend on whether you have pets on hand. If your pet is not hypo-allergenic or is prone to making messes, then you need to take special steps to keep your home clean.
When you get this cleaning, do not skip any area that could trap particles. Furniture, carpets, curtains, rugs, whatever. You should have a cleaner on hand that can do all these things, and that can do them with a variety of allergy carpet cleaning solutions (whether it is dry carpet cleaning, steam cleaning, or some combination).
Consult with Your Carpet Cleaner
In any case, consult with your local carpet cleaner. They might recommend certain strategies, setups, or methods for helping you prevent a build-up of carpet dust allergy particles. They may even recommend a specific method of cleaning, like encapsulation (which removes more water from the carpet during cleaning) or dry chemical cleaning (which uses very little water).
In any case, keep a cleaning schedule, make sure that you don’t let dirt and dust settle on your carpeting and furniture, and make plans to mitigate allergen-causing particles in the future.