Monday, November 2, 2015

12 Steps for Reducing Allergens at Home

Microscopic dust particles
People with allergies know that there are things that trigger allergic reactions all around us. They are practically unavoidable. However, there are simple actions you can take at home to reduce allergy triggers. Common allergens in the home include dust, pet dander, mold, pollen, rodent droppings, chemicals, fragrances, and shedding and droppings from insects.

Keeping your home clean and well ventilated, and taking steps to control moisture are key to maintaining a healthy home and reducing allergens. Following the steps below can help create a healthier living space for everyone, especially people with asthma and allergies,
                                                                                                young children, the elderly, and people
                                                                                                with compromised immune systems.
  1.  Keep home heated between 60-68° F. This helps reduce humidity throughout the home.
  2. Vacuum at least once a week. If possible, include furniture and curtains.
  3. Dust hard surfaces with a water-dampened cloth weekly to control dust. Microfiber cloths work great!
  4. Remove shoes at the door to help reduce the amount of allergens tracked inside.
  5. Dust mites are mostly harmless, but people with allergies can be sensitive to them. Get dust mite covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs. These special covers keep dust mites from getting inside the bed. In addition to the covers, wash bedding in hot water (130° F) once a week to kill dust mites in the sheets and blankets.
  6. Use kitchen and bathroom fans to control moisture and ventilate. Bathroom fans should run while bathing and for 30-45 minutes after bathing. Use a kitchen fan, or open a window whenever someone is cooking, even if they are simply boiling water.
  7. Check for leaks around sinks and pipes regularly. Always fix leaks and dry out the area within 24 to 48 hours.
  8. Open windows daily, even in winter. For a quick exchange of air, go through the home opening each window and then go back through and close them.
  9. Avoid using air fresheners and scented products. The chemicals in scented products are allergy triggers and actually pollute indoor air. This includes candles, incense, plug-ins, sprays, wax melts, perfumes, and colognes.
  10. Make sure the home is sealed to prevent pests from getting inside.
  11. Use green cleaning methods. Some people with allergies are sensitive to chemicals
    conventional household cleaning products. Green cleaning is effective, non-toxic, and inexpensive.
  12. If you have a wood stove or wood burning fireplace be sure you are using them properly. Follow these tips for safe and efficient use.
Each room or area in the home can be prone to different allergens. This Room-by-Room Guide from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can help you identify allergy triggers throughout your home.

Would you like help dealing with allergens, toxics, mold and moisture? Our Healthy Homes Program provides free, confidential home visits to Thurston County residents to help them create a healthier living space. For more information or to schedule a Healthy Homes Visit contact: (360) 867-2674 or

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