10 Tips To Allergy-Proof Your Home For
Your home harbors a
surprising number of sneaky allergy-causing culprits.
Here's where they're hiding,
and how to send them packing.
messy home = nice digs for dust mites, bugs, mold, and mice.
Recycle old newspapers,
magazines, cans, and grocery bags weekly?and keep the bins outside if
mites and pet dander love carpeting and rugs, so bust out your vac
Make sure it has a
high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap tiny particles.
(Non-HEPA vacs just recirculate 'em.)
Our pick: The Bissell Pet
Hair Eraser ($170; Bissell.com), which alerts you when it's
To really ditch allergies,
leave your floors bare. Health.com: Quiz: test your asthma IQ
mites and mold by washing bedding in 130-degree water weekly.
Ready for an appliance
SteamWasher from LG ($1,799; LGE.com) has a special cycle that removes
more than 95 percent of allergens. Health.com: Your secret allergy
bathroom or basement walls love to breed mold.
In the fall, mold also moves
indoors via wet leaves on shoes and damp firewood.
Store wood in a separate dry
space, like the garage, and keep the yard leaf-free.
and overflowing garbage lure mice and roaches -- and their droppings
can aggravate allergies.
Keep your space clean.
One nontoxic surface-spiffer
we like: EcoDiscoveries Kitchen cleaner ($7; EcoDiscoveries.com).
Also, try boric acid and
traps for the pests.
6. Open windows
fall breezes are great -- unless they usher ragweed pollen indoors.
Keep windows shut between the
high-pollen-count hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (If it's warm, keep the
air conditioner running; it filters out pollen inside your home.)
Change the AC (or heater)
And remove shoes outside to
avoid tracking in pollen particles.
mold with a dehumidifier set between 35 and 45 percent humidity.
Dehumidifiers come in several
sizes, starting at $25.
Before you buy, get a
humidity gauge ($9; home-improvement stores) to assess how much
de-moisturizing muscle you need.
potted plants can harbor sneeze-producing mold on their leaves.
Remove any moldy leaves
immediately, and don't let water pool in the pot's tray.
Check with a plant-care
specialist if the problem persists. Health.com: 10 ways to fight indoor
dander and saliva spell trouble for 30 percent of allergy sufferers.
Washing or brushing your pet
weekly (do it outside) can lower your home's dander level.
Keep dogs and cats out of the
bedroom, and cover air vents with cheesecloth to keep dander from
spreading from room to room. Health.com: How to reduce pet allergens at
10. Fabric furnishings
Wash blankets and throw rugs
in hot water (or have them dry-cleaned).
Pick up pet fur with your
vac's upholstery attachment, and try to keep pets off furniture.
Make sure the air temp is
below 70 degrees, too: Mites, as well as fungus and roaches, dislike