Allergy & Air on June 23, 2014 1 Comment It’s time for neighborhood barbeques, backyard pool parties and outdoor sporting events. Now that summer is officially here, your social calendar will undoubtedly fill up with fun-in-the-sun activities. Most people welcome the opportunity to be outside after a particularly harsh winter, but the arrival of warm weather can sometimes be rough for allergy sufferers. You’ve probably read a bunch of articles that offer tips to fight allergies. From taking your medication earlier to wearing a mask while you mow the lawn, you probably already know some tricks to keep your allergy symptoms at bay. But you might not know that keeping a clean house can help keep the onslaught of cold-like symptoms away. To add to your allergy knowledge, we’ll go over some of the best cleaning tips to rid your home of allergens. 1. Cut the Clutter For starters, you need to get rid of any unnecessary clutter. Studies from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America show that dusty homes can kick allergy symptoms into overdrive. Dust settles in cluttered areas that are tough to clean. That shelf full of decorative figurines or the stacks of magazines piling up under your coffee table are all collecting dust. You don’t have to live in a sterile environment, just cut clutter where you can. 2. Wash Your Bedding When you climb into bed at night, you bring allergens along with you. Even if you were outside for seconds, tiny pollen spores can attach to your clothes or hair. Those allergens go to bed with you. To kick them out, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology suggests washing your bedding in hot water once a week. 3. Change Filters Keeping windows and doors open not only invites in fresh air, but also allergens. Most allergy sufferers use an air conditioner to control the temperature and the amount of allergens that can get inside. However, a lot of allergy sufferers forget to change the filters regularly. No matter how cautious you are, allergens will creep into your house and will likely get trapped in the filter. If the filter is ignored, allergens can build up and eventually circulate throughout the house. The same goes for any small appliance with a filter. From window air conditioners to dehumidifiers to heating units, if it has a filter, be sure to change it. Keep a maintenance schedule on the fridge to remind yourself when to replace filters. 4. Clean Your A/C Registers & Air Ducts Along with filter replacement, you should grab your vacuum and clean the dust that’s built up on your A/C registers. Take the register off and do a visual inspection of the ducts, too. If your air ducts are full of dust, or if you see any kind of mold, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests calling a professional service to clean your ducts. If they’re clean, there’s no point in spending $450 to $1,000 on a professional service. However, if you decide to call the professionals, the EPA has some tips to help you find the right company for the job. 5. Tackle the Floors Carpets are allergen traps. You’ll need to break out your vacuum cleaner once or twice a week. This is especially true if you have pets. Make sure you’re using a vacuum with a small-particle or HEPA filter; otherwise you’ll just be stirring the allergens around. It’s not a bad idea to go outside to empty the contents of the bag or canister rather than do so indoors. You’ll also want to mop any hard surfaces once a week; don’t forget to toss your throw rugs into the washer too. The rug at your front door is likely a hot bed of allergens, so make sure that you clean it often. 6. Clean the Odd Spots There are a few strange spots that you might not think to clean that can trap allergens. Weather Stripping: You know that rubber strip on the bottom of your front door that blocks air and moisture? You should give that a quick wash. Curtains: Your curtains are another allergen collector, so you should wash them seasonally. If you have window blinds, it is wise to dust them on a regular basis as well. Light Switches: One of the most commonly over-looked places to clean, it is recommended to wipe down your light switches. They’re a highly touched surface that’s often left off the cleaning list. Just take an antibacterial wipe to them a few times a month. While it’s impossible to completely allergy-proof your home, these cleaning tips should help prevent your allergies from acting up. Do you have another allergy-preventing cleaning tip? Share it in the comment section below.