10 Tips for an Allergy-Proof Home

If you or someone you love has severe allergies, here are simple tips to ditch the dust and dander.

Dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen — you’d be surprised how much of it is in your home. But don’t worry. Making your house as allergen-free as possible is a snap. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce dust and dander in your home.

In every room

1. Pay attention to your floors, both hardwood and carpet.

Carpeting is a treasure trove of dust, dirt, pet hair, dander and other allergens, so vacuum often and make sure your vac has a HEPA filter. That’s key, says Steve Whitley, director of training for Sears Franchise Businesses in Columbus, Ohio. Vacuums suck air in, but they also blow exhaust air out. If you’re not using one with a HEPA filter, those allergens you’re trying to vacuum up can go right back into the air.

And be careful of how you empty your vacuum cleaner’s bagless collection bin.

“Shaking dirt out inside your home is a no-no,” Whitley says. “You’ve just made allergens airborne. Slow removal outside or in the garage is the way to go.”

Along with these vacuuming best practices, get your carpet professionally cleaned annually. A professional carpet cleaning service like the one Sears provides will extract allergens, and the high heat kills dust mites.

Hardwood might seem easier to keep up, but the same allergens that nestle into your carpet settle on your wood floor.

“To help allergens from becoming airborne and reaching your breathing zone, vacuum the floor frequently and deep clean it annually to remove embedded soils,” says Wes Dvorak, director of research and development for Sears Home & Business Franchises, also in Columbus.

2. Use air purifiers to filter out the allergens floating in the air before they can settle on your carpet and furniture.

Make sure to get the type that has a HEPA filter. Not all filters are created equal, though, so know its MERV value. MERV is a numeric scale that tells you what kinds of allergens the filter is able to remove from the air. The higher the number, the better.

Bedroom

3. Make your bedroom a pet-free zone. It’s nice to snuggle with Fido or Felix, but breathing in their dander all night long can be a big problem for allergy sufferers.

4. Trust us — you don’t want to know how many dust mites are living on your pillow. Fight the mites by having your mattresses professionally cleaned (yes, you really can do that). If you or someone in your household is highly allergic, do this once a year, Dvorak says. If not, every other year is OK. Then, get dust mite-proof covers for your pillows, mattress and box spring, and wash all of your bedding at least once a week in hot water.

Living Room

5. Upholstered sofas and chairs are hotbeds of pet dander and dust mites. Vacuum them regularly, and get them professionally cleaned once a year.

6. Got fireplace? If it’s gas, flip it on, curl up with a good book and enjoy. Woodburning? It can make respiratory allergies worse. If there’s a member in your household with severe allergy issues, consider swapping for a gas fireplace.

Kitchen

7. Many older kitchens don’t have exhaust fans. If yours doesn’t, install one above the stove to reduce cooking fumes, odors and moisture.

8. Clean your fridge regularly to combat the growth of mold. Throw out anything that looks even vaguely like a science experiment. Make “when in doubt, throw it out” your motto.

Basement

9. Is your basement damp? If so, it’s a petri dish for mold. Use a dehumidifier to remedy this.

10. Clean your HVAC system, which includes the entire duct system, coils and blower. In addition to regular HVAC cleaning and service, Dvorak suggests you should also install a PCO purification unit that includes a UV light. This can help reduce airborne bacteria, viruses and odors.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to an allergy-free home. Learn more about how the Sears Experts can clean your carpet, upholstery and air ducts.