Allergy-Proofing Your Home

by Michael Russell

Millions of Americans suffer from allergies. Even though you might not be able to eliminate all sources of irritants from your life, allergy proofing your home is a great way to give yourself some relief.

Control mold. Many people who suffer from allergies are also very sensitive (if not allergic to) mold. While the mold you often hear about is the toxic type of mold, it is really the very common household molds, which cause the most problems for allergy sufferers. Here are ways to control mold in your home:

1. Repair any leaks in your home, especially in basements and around windows.

2. Install and use exhaust fans in your bathroom.

3. If your basement has a concrete floor, do not install carpeting over it without a vapor barrier. Use area rugs so that you can wash these periodically.

4. Run a dehumidifier in your basement, or other areas of the house if you live in a humid climate.

5. Limit indoor plants. Mold grows really well in the soil of potted plants.

6. Clean your bathroom thoroughly. Use a mold-killing cleaner on all surfaces, including shower curtains and caulking.

7. Re-caulk your tub surround with special mold resistant caulking.

8. After doing the laundry, leave the lid open on the washing machine to let it dry out.

In the rest of your house, controlling dust mites and their droppings will greatly reduce allergic reactions. Also, dust is a major irritant. Follow these tips for other areas of your home:

1. In the summer months, use air conditioning instead of open windows. This will reduce the amount of pollen that gets indoors. Purchase filters for your heating and air conditioning system that are designed to clean the air of allergens.

2. Remove carpeting and replace with either solid flooring or area rugs. Carpets are notorious dust collectors, even if you vacuum a lot.

3. Keep your pets out of human sleeping areas.

4. Use special allergen reducing mattress and pillow coverings for your beds.

5. Replace cloth curtains with shades or shutters. Curtains capture a lot of dust and are rarely thought about in general cleaning.

Don’t forget about outdoor areas of your home. While you can’t control what your neighbor plants in their garden, you can in yours.

1. Don’t plant male trees or shrubs. These carry the pollen. Ask your garden center which of the plants are female before purchasing.

2. Invite wild birds to your yards with feeders. Birds will reduce the number of insects, which will help control mold.

3. Use rock mulch instead of wood chips. Organic materials do rot into the soil and while great for fertilizing, this can create a lot of mold spores.

4. Avoid overcrowded planting areas. Plants closely packed together can trap moisture and cause mold to grow.

5. When purchasing plants, make sure that you pick disease resistant plants. Some species of plants are more susceptible to mildew and insect damage.

Creating a safe haven for you or any other family member who suffers from allergies can give you great satisfaction and a healthy home!