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10 Ways to Reduce Allergies Inside the Home. Easy ideas for cutting down indoor allergies by keeping your home clean and free of dust, dirt, and fragrance.
Our spring allergy season here in Arizona has felt extremely long this year. Perhaps because we have had such a dry winter and spring. My son and I both suffer from allergies. Since I can’t control the pollen or what causes our allergies from the outside of our home, I do what I can to free our home from allergies on the inside. We live in a dusty and windy climate, plus we have three cats. Our home is no stranger to dust, dander, fur, and dirt.
10 Ways to Reduce Allergies Inside the Home
1. Use all natural cleaners without fragrance or only natural essential oils
As I have gotten older, I have become much more sensitive to fragrances. My husband has psoriasis and my kids have suffered from eczema. For all these reasons, I try to choose unscented and natural cleaners and soaps as much as I can. As I have done more research, I have found that many fragrances and chemicals added to household cleaners are synthetic and can contribute to allergies, headaches, and irritation of the skin.
I frequently make my own cleaners using simple ingredients like water, vinegar, and baking soda along with microfiber cloths. You can clean almost anything using these simple cleaning helpers and you can feel good knowing exactly what you are cleaning with. There are also many natural cleaning options available for purchase, as well.
Helpful tip: Vinegar can be an irritating smell to some. If this is the case, you can add essential oils like lavender, lemon, or eucalyptus to your mix to cut down on the harsh vinegar smell. However, it is good to note that once vinegar dries there is no smell left over, and it actually works really well to remove odors from the home.
2. Dust frequently using damp microfiber cloths
You can often clean furniture and other areas of your home by simply using a microfiber cloth and plain water. These cloths help to trap dirt, dust, and germs rather than spreading them around. Simply get your microfiber cloth wet, wring it out really well, and wipe down your surfaces. You can rinse out the dirt and dust as you go. Since the cloth is damp, it helps to keep the dust from stirring up and spreading around to other areas.
A frequent dusting of surfaces helps to cut down on allergy causing dust. When cleaning, start by cleaning from the top of the room down, and from left to right to avoid stirring up more dust and dirt as you go.
3. Use pet products like Purina® New TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter to cut down on extra fragrances and dust
I have always loved using TIDY CATS litter for our cats. I was so excited to find the new TIDY CATS Free & Clean unscented litter on a recent trip to Target. Using this litter is one more way I can cut down on unnecessary fragrances in my home while still keeping the litter box smelling fresh. It is unscented with odor-absorbing activated charcoal and the TidyLock Protection locks away odors.
We have three cats and so a good litter box cleaning is important. Scoop the catbox at least once a day. If you have multiple cats, you should also have multiple catboxes available. I have read recommendations to have at least one catbox per cat but unfortunately, we don’t have space for that. Proper litter maintenance is extra important with fewer catboxes. The TIDY CATS Free & Clean litter creates strong clumps to make cleanup a breeze! Completely change the litter and wash the litter box, as needed.
I purchased a little cleaning kit at Target that clips right on the side of the box. It has a small dustpan and broom along with the scooper so everything is right where I need it and neatly contained.
Having a litter mat under your catbox, using a catbox with a lid (and possibly a door on the front if your cats don’t mind it), and using the new TIDY CATS Free & Clean Unscented that is 99.9% dust free helps cut down on the extra dust and litter in the areas where the cat boxes are kept.
4. Change and wash bedding often in hot water
Dust mites are inevitable in the bedroom. They feed on the skin we and our pets shed on our bedding and upholstered furniture. To help cut down on the number of dust mites, wash your sheets at least once per week in the hottest water the fabric can handle.
Once a month vacuum your mattress. Use zippered dust-proof covers on your mattresses and pillows and wash these frequently, as well. Be sure to remember to wash all of your bedding including comforters, pillows, dust ruffles, shams, and decorative pillows several times per year. You may do this as often as once a month if you or someone in your family is allergic to dust mites.
And, don’t forget about washing the bedding that your pet uses frequently. We have a small pet bed at the end of our bed, a pallet bed that has a blanket in it, and a blanket the cats lay on the couch. These should be washed in the hottest water the fabric can handle once a week.
5. Vacuum several times a week and clean the filters regularly
Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, if you can. Having tile, linoleum, or wood floors are easier to keep clean than carpet. I try to vacuum high traffic areas daily with my small portable vacuum, or I will run my Roomba daily. Vacuum upholstered furniture and under and around furniture several times per month. A lot of dust and dirt can accumulate under the furniture if it is not cleaned regularly.
Clean and/or change the filters in your vacuum as recommended by your vacuum manufacturer. This will help to allow your vacuum to clean more efficiently and trap dirt and dust rather than blowing it back into the room.
6. Cut down on pet dander by bathing or brushing your pets frequently
Cats do a pretty good job of bathing themselves, but most can benefit from a daily to weekly brushing. Dander on cats and their saliva is usually what causes the allergy response in most people.
Frequent brushing can cut down on the amount of dander your cat has. I found this brush at Target that allows you to brush your pet and easily remove the fur from the brush.
Dogs can also benefit from frequent brushing and can handle getting bathed more frequently than cats – for most dogs as often as once a week. Be sure to choose a dog (or cat) safe shampoo to use when bathing your pets. Talk to your vet about any concerns you may have about bathing your pet.
7. Take a shower and wash clothes when coming in from a long day outside
If you spend a lot of time outside and suffer from seasonal outdoor allergies, be sure to take a shower when you come in and change your clothes. Pollen and dust can land on you while outside and then will be tracked back in on your clothes and hair when you come inside.
When pollen counts in our area are highest I try to shower right away after working outside in the yard, or at the very least in the evening before going to bed so I don’t transfer all those pollutants onto my sheets at night.
8. Control the humidity in your home, change air filters, and think about using an air purifier
The recommended relative humidity for your home to help with allergies is 40% – 50%. Depending on where you live this may mean using a humidifier or a dehumidifier. We live in northern Arizona and it is very dry and windy here. Our humidity levels are often very low, and we have to run a humidifier for most of the year. Be sure to keep your humidifier and dehumidifier clean according to manufacturers directions and change or replace any filters as needed.
Check your air filters for your air conditioner/heater unit in your home once a month. Change them when they appear dirty. This will help keep the dust, dirt, and allergies from being blown throughout your home. There are special allergy reducing filters you can purchase to help cut down on what gets blown through the system.
If your allergies are really severe, think about adding an in-home air purifier to your home. You can find ones that are portable and can move from room to room or you can have a whole home system installed. This will greatly increase the air quality in your home.
9. Consider adding air purifying plants to your home decor
Certain houseplants can help to remove contaminants from the air. When choosing plants for your home decor, think about which ones will add to the health of your home and not just look pretty.
Houseplants that are good choices to purify the air:
- Spider plants
- Garden Mum
- English Ivy
- Boston Fern
- Peace Lilies
Note: Certain houseplants can be toxic to pets so be sure to research your choices before bringing any new plant into your home if you have pets.
10. Take off shoes when entering the home to keep from tracking in extra dirt and pollen
Think about all the places you walk and all the things you step on while walking outdoors. So much dirt and germs end up on the bottom of our shoes. An easy way to prevent tracking all those unwanted pollutants into your home is by taking off your shoes at the door.
Create a space in your entryway to corral shoes like a set of baskets or a shoe stand. Add a basket of houseshoes or slippers people can put on if they don’t want to be barefoot.
Where to Buy TIDY CATS Free & Clean Unscented Litter:
All of these tips will help to prevent and cut down on allergens in your home, especially if you have a home with pets. Removing extra fragrances and dust from your home can greatly help reduce the ill-effects of allergies on the people in your home.
Try new Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented litter at Target! Not that you need an excuse to go to Target, but it is my go-to store for purchasing cleaning products, pet supplies, organization items, and pretty home decor. Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented is free of fragrances, free of dyes, leverages the odor-absorbing power of activated charcoal to lock away odors, and available in a variety of sizes (traditional clump: 20lb, 35lb, and lightweight: 8.5lb, 17lb).
With three cats, I always purchase the 35lb container. The litter was available at a great price and I was able to get a free $5 Target gift card by purchasing two 35lb containers.
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