How to Make the Home Allergy-Proof
Allergens can make interior rooms unpleasant, but the good news is that there are many ways to make the house allergy-proof. Start by setting up a weekly cleaning routine that involves washing all bed linen and curtains in very hot water and hypoallergenic detergent; for greater safety, use only natural products. Keep your house tidy to minimize dust and possibly remove carpet and rugs; in addition, install air filters in the rooms to ensure all the fresh air you need.
Wash and clean regularly
1) Use only natural detergents.
Choose only organic products that do not contain bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds; these chemicals are known to trigger allergic reactions. Alternatively, you can prepare yourself a homemade solution by mixing water and white distilled vinegar in equal parts to be poured into a spray bottle.
Some environmental associations examine and publish a list of some natural and organic products on their website; check this list to find out if a specific product is hypoallergenic or if it contains potentially harmful substances.
You can also prepare one yourself using sodium bicarbonate, lemon juice, white vinegar and other household products. For example, you can prepare a product to wash the glass by combining 1 part of vinegar and 1 of water; if you want a simple multi-purpose powder detergent, combine the same bicarbonate of sodium and washing powder detergent – simply spray the mixture with a little white vinegar.
2) Make a weekly cleaning routine.
Make sure you use the vacuum cleaner and wash the floors the same day every week. Use a microfibre cloth or a dusting quilt on all surfaces. Do not forget to look up too; ceiling fans, crown mouldings and bookshelves top shelves are places where allergens can settle.
If possible, allergic individuals should leave household duties to other people; if they can not do otherwise, they should wear a disposable dust mask, especially when they use the vacuum cleaner.
3) Get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
It is a household appliance specifically designed to remove and trap microparticles, even those with dimensions smaller than 0.3 microns; check that it is certified as an antiallergic by the European Center for Allergy Research Foundation (or other similar organizations in your country). Be wary of devices that are advertised as being able to remove allergens while not having a HEPA filter.
It eliminates and wipes away the residues left in the vacuum cleaner after each use so that the allergens do not return to contaminate the house.
4) Put covers on cushions and mattresses.
Buy textile products whose porosity is less than 6 microns; this means that the mesh of the fabric is too small to allow mites and other allergens to pass. For greater protection, they should be hinged and washable covers. Buy them in sufficient quantity to cover the net, the mattress, the pillows and the sofa cushions.
Non-woven covers have a shorter life and are more likely to accumulate allergens in areas where folds are formed.
5) Wash all bed linen at least once a week.
Recover all sheets, pillowcases, linens and put them in the washing machine setting the highest possible temperature. Water should reach at least 60 ° C to kill all allergens; to ensure even greater hygiene, you can dry your clothes in a high-temperature dryer. If the instructions for washing the sheets recommend not to use too high temperatures, follow the instructions and choose a wash cycle with colder water; if the laundry is particularly dirty, consider taking it to a dry cleaner.
Do not forget to wash the baby stuffed animals. Remove the parts that you can detach, put them in a mesh bag for washing machine and insert them in the dryer by half a cycle (about 20 minutes) at the highest temperature to kill dust mites.
6) Wash or remove window fabrics.
Choose machine washable curtains and proceed with a minimum monthly cleaning; you can also use the vacuum cleaner every week by inserting the brush accessory. An even better solution is to replace fabric curtains with wooden or Venetian blinds.
7) Take care of the bathroom.
Every two years or so remove the old silicone around the sink and tub and apply a new one; at the same time remove and replace any cracked or damaged tiles. Clean the room scrupulously every week to keep moisture at bay; use a solution of distilled white vinegar and water in equal parts.
During the weekly cleaning, rub all the surfaces of the tiles, the mirrors, the knobs and the faucets; do not forget to quickly pass the mop or the rag on the floor.
Minimize the Allergen Accumulation
8) Add some doormats to all entrance doors.
Put one on the outside and inside each entrance to block and trap most of the irritants, in order to keep the house clean; remember to shake them often. You could even decide to take off your shoes inside the house and ask the guests to do the same.
If you opt for the latter choice, put a trash can or a shelf next to each entrance door where you can store your shoes.
9) Delete or store all objects that create confusion.
Go to every room and gather any element that can be filled with dust or which must be thrown; recycle or throw away all the excess newspapers and magazines; pay attention to the small junk that you can put in some plastic basket and store them properly.
Do not forget to inspect the children’s room; all the extra toys or stuffed animals can be donated or stored in bins.
10) Change the flooring by switching to parquet or to tiles.
Carpeting absorbs most of all types of allergens, such as animal dandruff and dust; removing it, especially in the bedroom and in the bathroom, greatly reduce the level of allergens in the home. But if you can not help it, choose a short hair and wash it often.
If you are worried that the floor will become too cold, cover some areas with washable carpets.
11) Choose easy-to-clean furniture.
Look for dressers, chairs, bedside tables and other furnishing components made of a less allergenic material, such as plastic, metal or leather; some types of treated or natural wood are also good as long as they are without grooves where dust can easily nest. Avoid upholstered furniture if possible, because it is impossible to be able to wash them perfectly.
Although antique wooden or painted furniture is aesthetically pleasing, they can release problematic allergens, such as vapours or paint lead.
12) Submit pets to a good grooming.
Take a bath and brush the hair as often as possible; this is a particularly important detail during the season change when the hair disperses more easily and dandruff reaches its peak of production. Define a “pet-free” home area, usually the bedroom, where the air is almost without dandruff.
People who keep their dogs or cats out of the bedroom are less likely to develop allergies to animals when they become adults.
Maintaining a Good Quality of Air
13) Eliminates all the electric diffusers of air fresheners.
Those beautiful deodorants or candles used to freshen the air at home can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), causing or even exacerbating possible respiratory problems, in addition to the fact that they can trigger strong headaches or migraines.
14) Open the windows.
Enter every room in the house and leave a window at least one window a week. The maximum peak of pollen concentration occurs between 10:00 and 15:00, so it is better to air the rooms early in the morning or in the evening; even keeping windows open for only 10 minutes allows you to freshen up the air of your home.
By installing mosquito nets and keeping the air conditioner active you can reduce the number of allergens and parasites at home.
15) Take care of houseplants.
Some, like common ivy, are able to absorb volatile toxins and keep the home free from allergens; however, they can release mould spores when they are watered too much or are not pruned. Choose plants that you can take care of and you will see a purer home air as a result.
16) Install real exhaust fans.
The kitchen hood and the bathroom fan should send the air directly outside; however, you run the risk of “firing” this contaminated moisture stream directly to the upper floors of the house and from there to the whole house. Observe the path of the drains and install new fans if necessary.
17) Use a hygrometer.
Buy this hardware measurement tool and check the humidity level of each room; follow the instructions on the package. If in any environment you get values that exceed 60%, you must install a dehumidifier in the offending room; excess moisture favours the development of mould.
Even the high temperatures allow the mould to take over; make sure that the domestic one is between 20 and 22 ° C.
18) Run an air quality test.
Buy a kit online or at a hardware store; follow the instructions on the package scrupulously and collect the samples as required. Once the material is sent to the analysis laboratory, within a few days you will receive the results with a list of the allergen levels in your home, such as dust mites. In this way, you can deal with problem areas in a more targeted way.
19) Get to see an allergist.
These can undergo a series of tests to precisely identify the substances you are sensitive to; it can also offer you advice to minimize the presence of allergens at home. Some professionals are even willing to do a “home visit” to assess the condition of the home and indicate the changes to be made.
20) Change the air filters.
Read the instruction manual of the air conditioning system and change the filters respecting the indicated frequency. Buy spare parts that comply with the new European directives regarding minimum efficiency. To ensure maximum protection, also add portable filters that trap allergens and require frequent cleaning and/or replacement.
Make sure that the portable filters do not use ozone to purify the air, as it is a common irritant for allergy sufferers.