If you're like most people, you associate allergies with being outdoors, especially if you or someone in your household suffers from an allergy to seasonal plant pollen. However, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, and other irritants also exist in modern indoor living spaces, and they're often made worse by airtight seals around windows and doors used in today's construction.
Fortunately, the right cleaning and maintenance strategies minimize their existence. Following are several cleaning tips and tricks designed to promote optimal indoor air quality.
Many people don't realize that allergens often enter the indoor home environment on the soles of the shoes of household residents and visitors. Insect-pollinated plants produce sticky, heavy pollen that's designed by nature to stick to pollinating insects to make itself easier to transport, and it often ends up on sidewalks, parking lots, and other walkable surfaces.
Exchanging outdoor footwear in the foyer for shoes or slippers that are only worn inside helps stop pollen in its tracks.
Airborne pollen, on the other hand, accesses home interiors via open doors and windows as well as through ductwork in HVAC systems. Keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible and scheduling regular air duct cleaning helps keep indoor airborne pollen levels low.
Even if you don't have pets, pet dander can still find its way into your home on the soles of your shoes, so be sure to remove your footwear in the foyer if you regularly walk in places frequented by domestic pets.
If you do share your home with furry friends, regular vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter picks up pet dander.
Be sure to wash your pet's bedding on a weekly basis, and always brush your dog or cat outdoors to prevent pet dander from being distributed in your home interior.
Mold colonies thrive in dark, damp conditions, so make a practice of routinely checking under sinks and behind washing machines, water heaters, and refrigerators for leaks. Always dry wet areas immediately, avoid leaving wet clothing in the washing machine, provide proper ventilation in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, and always run an exhaust fan when cooking or bathing.
If you live in a region where atmospheric humidity is high, use a dehumidifier when indoor humidity levels reach over 40 percent.
Do You have Mold In Your Carpets?
Sometimes a mold problem can find its way into carpets. This is bad news and you need to deal with the situation quickly to prevent it spreading. Check out our article on how to kill mold in carpet effectively and easily for further information.
Winning the war on dust mite populations involves washing bedding on a weekly basis in water that's at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping indoor humidity levels low, and keeping clutter to a minimum. Other cleaning tips designed to substantially reduce the presence of dust mites include using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and dusting on a regular basis with damp rags and mops so that dust mites actually get picked up rather than simply spread around.
Those with children in the home should purchase stuffed toys that are machine washable, and if you or anyone else in your household suffers from a significant dust mite allergy, consider replacing any existing carpeting with wood, vinyl, tile, or linoleum flooring. Non-washable drapes and furniture featuring thick upholstery are other culprits known to harbor large amounts of dust mites.
No matter what type of allergy you or someone in your household suffers from, maintaining good indoor air quality levels helps reduce symptoms. Although strategies differ depending on what type of allergen is causing issues, maintaining clean ductwork in your HVAC system is essential for maintaining the best possible indoor air quality.