Ease Your Allergies With These Simple Tips
Here are some tools I recommend to make allergy season a little less painful.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies—and even if you aren’t one of them, you almost certainly have a friend or family member coping with allergies as pollen counts rise.
Aside from the usual over-the-counter remedies, you can take a few easy steps to remove allergens from your home. There are air filters built into vacuum cleaners that can remove and trap pollen, pet dander, dust mites and other particles. There are washers with a special allergen cycle that can kit dust mites. And a good dehumidifier can prevent mold from growing.
So whether you’re dealing with springtime allergies or year-round issues with household dust and other allergens, here some tools I recommend you use to make allergy season a little less painful.
Clean Your House With a HEPA Filter Vacuum
Unfortunately, not all allergens are in the air. All kinds of dust and grime can get caught in your carpet which will aggravate your allergies with every step. And while serious allergy sufferers may want to consider removing carpet from their homes entirely, most of us can manage with regular vacuuming to suck up dirt before it becomes a problem (weekly vacuuming is ideal).
The Electrolux EL402A is a a true silent performer, with their Silence Pro system for minimal noise and disription. This powerful vacuum provides deep cleaning suction on bare floors and carpets, while its HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants (great for allergy sufferers!). It also comes with a 3-in-1 crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery nozzle. This vacuum is bagless and easy to empty. Read reviews.
Consider a Roomba or Robotic Mop
While vacuuming is a simple solution to allergy problems, it takes a time and effort to do it weekly—and to keep dirt away you may need to vacuum even more often in high-traffic areas or areas frequented by your pets. If you’re having trouble finding the time, the Roomba 980 is the answer.
Despite its petite size, the Roomba 980 can do the cleaning of a conventional vacuum with its AeroForce cleaning system which is more powerful than previous Roombas.
The Roomba 980 cleans an entire level of your home: With Smart Mapping and vSLAM® technology, the Roomba® 980 robot vacuum seamlessly navigates your home, keeping track of where it’s been and where it has yet to clean. It cleans continuously for up to 120 minutes, then recharges and resumes cleaning until the job is done.
The Roomba 980 removes dirt from high traffic spots of your home using patented Dirt Detect™ Technology. Sensors recognize concentrated areas of dirt and prompt the robot to clean them more thoroughly. At just 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba® robot vacuum is designed to clean under beds, sofas, toe kicks, and other hard-to-reach areas. Its Cliff Detect sensors prevent the robot from falling down stairs or tumbling over drop-offs.
Its advanced Gen 3 motor gives the Roomba® robot vacuum up to 10x the air power in Performance Mode or when the robot detects it’s cleaning carpet, while its multi-surface brushes work together to pull in pet hair, dust, dirt, and large debris without getting tangled. Its Edge-Sweeping Brush is specially designed at a 27-degree angle to sweep debris away from edges and corners and into the path of the 3-Stage Cleaning System to be suctioned off your floors. The 980’s High-Efficiency Filter is made from a special material that captures 99% of dust, mites, and allergens as small as 10 microns.
This little unit is not only powerful, it also utilizes cutting edge technology while being so simple to use: You can use the IRobot HOME app to set your cleaning schedule up, and its Clean Map reports show where your robot cleaned, along with details such as coverage and duration from completed jobs. Plus, receive Push Notifications when your robot completes a cleaning job – all on your smartphone. Its also compatible on devices with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. All in all, the Roomba 980 is a terrific little household assistant!
While dust and dirt hide in the carpet, the grime on hard floors is often in plain sight. A vacuum will help pick up the dust bunnies, but damp mopping will do a better job of trapping dust and allergens instead of knocking them back in the air. Unfortunately, mopping is another one of those chores you probably don’t do as often as you should—and that won’t help the allergy-sufferers in the household.
If you can’t find time, outsource your mopping to the iRobot Braava 388t. This bot can sweep and mop using either a washable microfiber cloth or a disposable cloth (it’s compatible with Swiffer pads).
It makes neat back-and-forth passes across the room (three passes when mopping) to thoroughly clean the entire floor, covering up to 1,000 square feet (sweeping) or 350 square feet (mopping).
While it’s a bit less turnkey than the Roomba—you’ll have to replace its cleaning cloth, fill it with water or detergent for mopping, and manually start it each time you want it to run—it’s still a lot easier than doing your own mopping!
Use an Air Purifier
The air in your home could be packed with pollen, dust mites, pet dander and more potential allergy problems. An air purifier will filter the air, catching those particles before they set off your allergies.
Honeywell’s True HEPA Allergen Remover captures 99.97% of microscopic particles, including dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, cooking smoke, fireplace smoke, pet dander, mold spores and even some germs—leaving you with clean, easier to breathe air.
This Honeywell uses a quiet fan to pull air into the unit and through its filters, cycling the room’s air up to five times an hour to keep it allergen-free. This model performs well in large rooms, too, cleaning rooms up to 465 square feet.
Using this purifier is simple, with a push-button panel to turn it on or off and set the cleaning level. Though you will have to change the filters—this Honeywell has two—to keep it cleaning efficiently, a light on the control panel will tell you when it needs replacing, so there’s no guesswork. This Honeywell Air Purifier is consistently a top-seller good consumer reviews.
If you have specific concerns about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), mold, or other toxins, you can test your indoor air quality at home with a Home Air Check kit. My husband and I did this test, and it was simple to do.
Home Air Check offers a variety of test kits, and they are very thorough. If you need to get to the bottom of a suspected indoor air issue, I highly recommend doing this testing; it will provide you with actionable information and set your mind at ease.
Correct Your Air Humidity
If the air in your house is too humid (over 50% humidity), it can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites—both common causes of indoor allergies. A dehumidifier will help by removing water from the air and keeping the humidity level down.
This Frigidaire will remove up to 50 pints of water from the air before its tank needs to be emptied, meaning should be able to run all day without trouble, even in large rooms.
Operation is, like the name suggests, effortless—all you need to do is press a few buttons to select your desired humidity level and it will run until the tank is almost full.
Though you do have to empty the tank and clean the filter regularly (how often depends on how humid it is), otherwise you can just ignore it—and enjoy cutting down on home allergens. Read consumer reviews.
Though humid air can be a problem, dry air can also be a problem, irritating your nose and lungs.
In this case, you’ll want to add some moisture to the air with a humidifier. Among these, the whisper-quiet Air-Joy Premium Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, remains my favorite.
The Air-Joy Premium Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier has a generous 3/4 gallon tank, and can run for 24 hours. There are 3 timer settings and an automatic shutoff.
The Air-Joy is whisper quiet, features 9 light settings, and comes with a tank brush and 2 ultrasonic disk cleaning brushes for hassle-free cleaning and maintenance. User reviews are excellent for the Air-Joy Premium, with many allergy sufferers heaping on the praise.
Use Your Washing Machine (and Hot Water) to Reduce Allergens
Washing bedding regularly—once a week—is key to keep it free of allergy irritating dust and dust mites.
Additionally, washing clothing, especially outerwear, frequently can help prevent members of the household from tracking allergens in from the outside.
You’ll also want to keep bathmats, towels, curtains, cushion slipcovers and throw rugs as clean as possible by throwing them in the wash, if you can (be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions first).
A regular cycle in hot water should suffice, but if you’re in the market for a new washer, many reviewers classify the Speed Queen TR3000WN as a great machine (some saying it’s the best one they’ve ever owned!).
And while we’re talking laundry, make sure you choose hypoallergenic laundry supplies. Some suggestions:
ECOS is made without dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates or phthalates; it’s dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic, and pH-balanced. It also has built-in fabric softener to add freshness and reduce static cling (and save money).
Sun & Earth uses 100 % plant-based ingredients, which are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, compostable and biodegradable. These sheets are free from synthetics, scents, and UV brighteners. They are also and are vegan and cruelty-free.
If you want to avoid fabric softeners, these Housoft Natural Fabric Softener Dryer Balls are a good alternative. They are made with 100% organic New Zealand sheep wool, and are especially good for babies or those with sensitive skin. These dryer balls will soften and de-wrinkle your clothes in the dryer, while also cutting down on dryer time (which saves money and lengthens the life of your clothes).
Try an Allergy App
An allergy app can tell you what today’s forecast means for your allergies, which can help you plan accordingly. My favorite app is WebMD Allergy (for iPhone and Android) which creates a personalized allergy forecast with doctor-approved tips for dealing with your symptoms.
You can also use the app to look up general allergy information and track your symptoms day to day—a handy way to figure out what’s working to help keep your allergies in check!
Thanks for visiting and reading …
I hope this article provided you some practical information on reducing allergens in your home. By the way, if you suspect you are having allergic symptoms, but aren’t sure, Walk-In Lab offers discount allergy testing with no doctor’s order required.
I welcome your comments below.
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