Do your allergy symptoms drive you crazy year-round? If so, then you're not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis each year. If find yourself feeling stuffy or even miserable year-round from allergic rhinitis caused by common indoor allergens like pet dander or dust mites, it might be time to allergy-proof your home.
Antihistamines and decongestants can help for a while, but they’re not an ideal long-term solution. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness (although there are non-drowsy formulas). Decongestants can be stimulating, which can keep you up at night if you take them too late in the day.
Many people use a SinuSonic to effectively reduce congestion and stuffiness, two common allergy symptoms, but it doesn’t prevent an inflammatory histamine response when exposed to allergens. That’s why we recommend also reducing your exposure to the allergens triggering your allergic response.
You can’t eliminate all allergens, indoor or outdoor, but if you follow our recommendations below you can reduce your exposure inside your home.
Before we explore all the ways you can allergy-proof every room in your house, let’s review some of the common sources of indoor allergies and their symptoms.
Common Indoor Allergens
There can be lots of allergens lurking around your home. Some common indoor allergy triggers include:
- Household dust or dust mites
- Pet dander or shedding hair
- Mold spores
While cockroaches are not a common irritant for many people, almost everyone knows someone with a dust allergy, a pet allergy, or hay fever. You may even be battling one of them right now!
These allergens may be common, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook how they can affect your quality of life and take steps to alleviate or reduce their impact.
Indoor Allergies and Your Quality of Life
Indoor allergens can significantly affect the air quality in your home as well. These air pollutants can be easily spread throughout your home by your HVAC system or air conditioning, as well as being carried by other occupants in your home.
This poor air quality can trigger or worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
Day in and day out as you breathe in these allergens, your allergy symptoms can make you feel miserable, tired and cause brain fog.
In a worst-case scenario, you may even experience a severe allergic reaction— anaphylaxis— which can potentially require hospitalization.
Common allergy symptoms are also well-known asthma triggers, so it's especially important to avoid them if you have asthma or other breathing problems.
Even though these allergens are common and seem impossible to escape at the time, there are things you can do to allergy-proof your environment.
How to Allergy-Proof Every Room in Your House
Your home may be your safe haven and quiet place, but there are also a lot of places for allergens to hide.
Whether you experience seasonal allergies or environmental allergies, there are easy steps you can take to reduce your allergy symptoms at home. Here are our suggestions for allergy-proofing each room in your home so you can breathe freely.
1. The Living Room
Your living room is probably one of the most lived-in rooms in your home. It’s also a major source of allergens like household dust, dust mites, and animal dander.
Soft surfaces in the room like furniture, rugs, throw pillows, and carpeting can especially be allergen magnets.
This may go without saying, but in all rooms of your house, clean top-down. This will ensure you don't accidentally spread dirt, dust, and debris to areas you've just cleaned!
Vacuum or Sweep Regularly
To prevent these allergens from becoming overwhelming, vacuum any rugs, carpet, or soft furniture at least once a week. If you have kids or pets tracking in outside pollen during spring, summer or fall, and you know you’re allergic to what they’re tracking in, you may need to vacuum more often.
For best results, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter— these can not only remove allergens from your soft surfaces but can remove them from the air as well.
If you have hardwood floors instead of carpeting, sweeping or vacuuming regularly can help reduce indoor allergies too. Don’t forget under the furniture!
Wash Fabrics Regularly
Washing small soft items— like throw pillows, blankets, small rugs, or curtains— regularly can also help reduce allergens in your living room.
How often is “regularly” depends on your home. If you have lots of windows and a door to your living room, more dust and debris will collect more regularly. If you have lots of visitors, pets, or kids they may track in more outside allergens. Just make sure any items you launder can be safely washed in your regular machine, or you follow care instructions.
To reduce how much pet dander gets on your furniture, avoid letting your pets onto the furniture with you. Instead, give them their own designated place to rest, such as a soft pet bed. Remember to wash this regularly as well.
This may seem really obvious, but to keep household dust to a minimum on surfaces like shelves, tables, and screens, you need to dust them often. Ideally, weekly.
Your dusting should include knick-knacks, frames, books (on tabletops or bookshelves), even flooring baseboards.
It can feel overwhelming when you have a lot of “stuff”, but if you can’t get it all dusted each week then create a rotation schedule so items are getting dusted at a minimum once a month.
Tip: Use a microfiber cloth. It collects more dust thanks to a microscopically small weave, so you’ll redeposit less as you clean other surfaces.
Keep Windows Closed
To help reduce how much pollen gets into your home, avoid opening the windows during high-pollen days. Instead, use your air conditioning to cool your home or fans if you don’t have central air. (If you have an AC unit running don’t forget to clean it out as well, the filters are a common dust trap).
Be sure to clean your window sills and tracks as needed to remove any dirt, or condensation that can create mold.
Mind Your Houseplants
If you have houseplants, avoid plants that may produce a lot of pollen indoors— including flowers. Tip: Spread aquarium gravel over the dirt in potted plants to contain any mold spores.
To keep household dust to a minimum on surfaces like shelves, tables, and screens, remember to dust them weekly.
2. The Kitchen
You may not think of your kitchen as a place where allergens can hide, but it is! By giving it the attention it deserves, you can keep any allergens in your kitchen to a minimum.
The two main allergens to look out for in the kitchen are smoke and mold.
Smoke is fairly simple to control. Take care while you're cooking to prevent any accidents or excessive smoke. Make sure your exhaust fan works properly.
Your exhaust fan should vent smoke, cooking fumes, and moisture safely away from the members of your household. Replace the vent if it isn’t working properly, or has stopped working altogether!
You can prevent mold allergens caused by moisture or food debris by properly disposing of all your food waste, and washing your dishes daily.
Always wipe up excess moisture around the sink, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Check your refrigerator regularly for moldy, expired, or inedible food, and discard it immediately.
Your cabinets and counter spaces shouldn’t be ignored. Regularly clean these surfaces to keep them free of dust or other allergens. Store all food, including pet food, securely to keep it fresh and away from pests.
3. The Bathroom
Reducing allergens in your bathroom is similar to your kitchen. Moisture will likely be your main source of indoor allergens, but lots of dust, hair, and dead skin flakes can accumulate on your bathroom floor and add to your allergy symptoms.
One of the easiest ways to reduce moisture in your bathroom is to use an exhaust fan while you bathe or take a shower. After you finish bathing or showering, dry the surrounding area to remove any small puddles or wet spots. Same with the sinks.
If you have mats or rugs in the bathroom, be sure to clean them regularly. Replace shower curtain liners often, and clean your shower or tub weekly to cut down on mold and soap scum.
Don't forget your toilet— remember to clean up any messes around the bowl, and clean around it regularly.
Just like in your living room, a lot of allergens can lurk on the soft surfaces in your bedroom.
Enjoy Allergen-Friendly Products
If you don’t already, use allergen-friendly or hypoallergenic bed sheets, pillows, blankets, and even mattresses to reduce your nighttime allergy symptoms.
Each week wash your pillowcases and sheets. Blankets, duvet covers, and comforters don’t need to be washed weekly but ideally are washed every month or every other month.
Tip: To remove more allergens, wash your linens at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
It appears your heat setting matters during laundry if you want to kill house dust mites and remove more dander and pollen.
A study from 2007 found that washing laundry in 104 degrees Fahrenheit water killed 100% of dust mites compared with only 6.5% of dust mites in laundry washed in warm 104 degrees Fahrenheit water. The good news: if you can’t wash your bedding at 140 degrees, simply rinse your laundry twice with colder water (86-104° F) for three minutes each.
Vacuum or Sweep
Sweep your hardwood floors and vacuum any carpets or rugs weekly, including the edges. But it isn’t just your floors that need a good vacuum, your mattress does too!
Each season, strip the bed, and using a vacuum attachment, give your mattress a thorough once over.
And don’t forget to sweep or vacuum under the dresser or bed!
Your bedroom is one of the most important rooms to dust. Not because it’s where you sleep, but because when you sleep you shed lots of skin cells. These skin cells float in the air landing on bedside tables and get caught in the sheets.
Dust furniture like your bed frame, dressers, nightstands, and chairs regularly. Don't forget to dust off any knick-knacks, photos, or other belongings you may have on display.
If your bedroom is especially susceptible to dust, consider investing in a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier filters out the dust and helps reduce moisture and humidity. And since dust mites and other allergens rely on a more humid environment, a dehumidifier can reduce the amount of dust in your home simply by removing excess moisture in the air.
Pooch-Proof Your Bed
You love your pets, but if you have pet allergies it’s best if your pet doesn’t sleep in the bed with you, or potentially your bedroom. You can still give them a cozy place to sleep at the foot of your bed or outside of your bedroom.
If you can’t sleep without your furry friend, bathe them often. Bathing helps to reduce dander. Plus it helps them shed less fur.
If you follow these steps, and you’re still having trouble getting stuffed up at night, try our SinuSonic device before bed. Two-three minutes of “flutter breathing” helps clear your sinuses and improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep with your furry friend nearby.
5. Everywhere Else
Aside from deep and regular house cleaning, there are a few changes you can make throughout the entire house to keep indoor pollutants to a minimum.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with an air purifier or an allergy-grade air filter with your HVAC system. Just make sure you change these filters as recommended to ensure they're working as designed.
Heat and humidity can also encourage mold and dust mite growth. To prevent this, try to keep your home's temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep your home's relative humidity below 50 percent. If your home gets too humid, use a dehumidifier.
If you or another member of your household smoke, don’t smoke inside the house. Smoke is another irritating air pollutant, and nicotine's negative health effects are well-documented.
Reduce Congestion and Stuffiness From Indoor Allergies
You may have noticed a pattern in this article— routine cleaning is one of the best ways to reduce indoor allergies in your home.
Even with a spotless home, sometimes you may still find yourself feeling those pesky allergy symptoms. If your allergies are making you feel stuffy and congested, we recommend trying SinuSonic to relieve your allergy symptoms gently and naturally.Our simple but effective sinus therapy device can help relieve your nasal congestion naturally, without the aid of medication or nasal irrigation devices. It uses positive expiratory pressure (PEP) and acoustic vibrations when exhaling to gently open your nasal airways and help you breathe more easily.