Rachel Brougham – Family Handyman
Wash Your Bedding Weekly
Dust mites are common indoor allergens for many. And they can be found throughout your home. However, they thrive in warm, humid environments such as bedding. Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in special allergen-proof fabric covers. Also, wash your bedding weekly in hot water.
Keep Humidity Low
Dehumidifiers can also work to cut down on dust mite allergens, along with mold and mildew. Signs your home is too humid and could benefit from a dehumidifier include: wet stains on walls and/or ceilings, rotting wood, condensation on windows and musty smells.
Clean Up Mold and Mildew Buildups
Indoor molds and mildew can be found in damp areas of the home such as basements and bathrooms. To get rid of mold growth on hard surfaces, use a mix of water, detergent and 5 percent bleach. Then dry the area completely. If the mold buildup covers a large area, consider hiring a professional.
Dry Out the Basement
Dehumidifiers can help in wet basements to cut down on molds and indoor allergens, but they must be emptied and cleaned regularly. Repair and seal any leaking basement pipes. And seal cracks around the foundation and windows to prevent water from getting in. Also, avoid carpeting on concrete basement floors and be sure to store items in areas away from potential water leaks.
Check the Windows
Mold and indoor allergens can form on windows and window sills when condensation forms. Wipe down window areas regularly and consider using double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate. Use washable curtains made from cotton or a synthetic fabric. And use washable roller-style shades instead of horizontal blinds which are known to trap dust.
Fight Dry Air and Indoor Allergens
While some may benefit from a dehumidifier to dry out their home, some may find relief in humidifiers, especially during the winter months. Your home’s heating system can dry out your indoor air and lead to dry and irritated sinus passages, itchy skin, scratchy throats and aggravated respiratory problems. The Environmental Protection Agency says a comfortable humidity level of 45-50 percent is ideal. And there are a variety of humidifiers available depending on moisture output and room size.
Wipe Down Furniture
Furniture that is easy-to-clean, such as pieces made from wood, metal, leather and plastic are best. Upholstered furniture can not only serve as an ideal environment for dust mites, but also for mold and indoor allergens depending on the room’s humidity level. And wipe off all furniture weekly after vacuuming.
Cut the Clutter
Avoid displaying items that easily collect dust, such as tabletop knickknacks, books and magazines and framed photos. And keep toys and stuffed animals in plastic bins. If you have houseplants, spread aquarium gravel over the dirt to contain mold and other indoor allergens.