5 Easy Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Mom vacuuming with kids cleaning up toys in living room

By National Eczema Association

Published On: Apr 21, 2018

Last Updated On: Apr 10, 2024

For many people with eczema, spring is the time of year when allergies and asthma kick into overdrive. You try to seek solace indoors only to discover that mold, dust, pet dander and other allergens can be found lurking in the nooks and crannies of your house. Here are some tips for reducing the number of allergens in your home, including air purifier recommendations and cleaning strategies:

1. Establish a weekly cleaning routine

Frequent house cleaning helps keep allergens at bay. Give your home a good scrub down once a week if you can, and wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets weekly.

On a monthly basis, make sure to address easy-to-miss areas of the home where allergens can collect, including:

  • Tops of doors
  • Windowsills
  • Crown moldings
  • Ceiling fans
  • Underneath furniture
  • Behind the toilet

Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves and a protective mask while cleaning. This way, you’ll protect your skin from harsh cleaners and avoid breathing in toxins or airborne dust and mold.

2. Reduce places for allergens to collect

Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny organisms that live in house dust. Symptoms include those common to hay fever, including sneezing and a runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergies also experience wheezing and difficulty breathing — two signs of asthma. 

Mold is also a common household trigger. Mold spores can get into your nose and cause hay fever or reach the lungs and trigger asthma. Here are some tips for reducing these common allergens: 

  • Reduce the number of items that collect dust in your house, such as knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, books and magazines 
  • Store children’s toys, games and stuffed animals in plastic bins
  • Scrub mold from your tub, shower and faucets with bleach
  • Clean or replace moldy shower curtains and bathmats

3. Focus on purifying the air from allergens

Hot, humid homes are breeding grounds for dust mites and mold. Close your windows and stick to air conditioners, especially when pollen counts are high. Keep temperatures between 68–72 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure humidity doesn’t exceed 50%.

You may also invest in a hygrometer. This simple device will test your home’s moisture levels. Pick up one at your local hardware store and take a measurement in each room. If you get readings that are over 50% in any room or area, a dehumidifier is recommended.

Finally, clean or replace small-particle filters in central heating and cooling systems and in room air conditioners at least once a month. Choose an air purifier, or filter, that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Try adjusting your air purifier  so that it directs clean air toward your head while you’re sleeping. 

You may also consider investing in house plants known for purifying the air. The best plants for purifying air that are also eczema friendly include snake plants, purple waffle, purple heart and spider plants.

4. Get pet dander and pests under control

Pets and allergies

People with pet allergies have overactive immune systems that react to normally harmless proteins in the pet’s urine, sweat, saliva or dander (dead skin cells). This causes allergy symptoms such as congestion, watery eyes or nose, coughing and wheezing. Fur or feathers can also collect pollen, mold spores and other allergens.

Bathing your pets regularly may help reduce the amount of fur or dander they shed, which can stick to walls, carpeting and fabric. Vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. It might also help to create an allergy-free zone, such as your bedroom, where a pet is not allowed.

Pest control

Household pests, like mice, can also trigger allergy symptoms. Despite their small size, the hair, dander, saliva and droppings from mice can set off a person’s allergies. There is also thought to be a correlation between asthma and the presence of cockroaches.

Control mice and cockroaches with inexpensive traps from the hardware store. If that’s not effective, hire a professional exterminator. To remove allergy-triggering insect and mouse residue, thoroughly vacuum carpeting and wash hard surfaces. To prevent re-infestation, seal cracks or other possible entryways.

5. Make home improvements the allergy-safe way

For people with extreme allergies, it might be helpful to give your home an upgrade with allergy, asthma and eczema symptoms in mind. If possible, some large-scale changes may include: 

  • Remove wallpaper and install tile, or paint walls with mold-resistant enamel paint
  • Switch out carpeting with hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs
  • Install and use an exhaust fan in the bathroom to reduce moisture while taking baths or showers
  • Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust mite-proof covers
  • Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades
  • Avoid upholstered furniture and opt for easy-to-clean options made of leather, wood, metal or plastic.

If renovating your home feels out of the question, remember, these upgrades don’t have to happen all at once. Making a few smart purchases throughout the year can significantly reduce allergy symptoms, or at the very least, make your home easier to keep clean.

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