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Your home may be your beloved haven, but it could also be a breeding ground for allergy triggers that leave you sneezing, sniffling and rubbing your eyes. From your bed to your bathroom, and many places in between, hosts of invisible irritants are lurking where you may least expect them.

Click on this pop-out infographic to learn about the most allergen-prone spots.

Allergy Infographic



But if even the cleanest homes have allergens — in fact, more than 50% of homes have at least six detectable allergens in their midst — how can you take steps to evict those sniffle-causing nuisances?

Your Bed Allergen Hiding Spots

  • Encase your mattresses, box springs, pillows and comforters in allergenproof covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
  • Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets weekly in hot water (130° F) and dry them in a hot dryer. Toss stuffed animals and throw blankets in the washer regularly, too.

Carpets, Rugs and Hard-Surface Floors

  • Get in the habit of slipping off your shoes and leaving them by the door so you don’t track pollen, insecticides and other irritants into your home.
  • Replace wall-to-wall carpets with hardwood floors or tile if you can, and lay down washable rugs if you miss the feeling of fuzz on your toes.
  • Vacuum floors and area rugs once or twice a week to remove dust and debris, as well as pet fur and dander; it’s best to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap allergens and a bag that can be changed easily without spewing dust in every direction.
  • Mop hard floors weekly — a damp mop picks up dust, instead of pushing it into the air (as a broom might).
 
Tip
Vacuum your couch regularly, too — especially if your pets like to snuggle up next to you. To help banish odors on a fabric sofa, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the cushions and let sit for 10 minutes before vacuuming.

Window Treatments

  • Clean with moist cloths or special dry dusters that remove dust from hard surfaces (like blinds) as well as soft surfaces (like drapes). Choose natural, irritant-free cleaning products whenever possible, since those with harsh chemicals, strong odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can aggravate your allergy symptoms.

The Air

  • Replace filters in your heating and air-conditioning system on a monthly basis. It’s best to choose HEPA filters, because they trap more particles than standard filters.
  • Keep your home’s temperature between 68°F and 72°F, and the humidity level between 40% and 50% (a device called a hygrometer can measure humidity levels). If your air is too hot, too cold or too humid, allergens thrive.