Updated: Jun 23
Whether you’re having a new home built or an old one renovated, it’s crucial to take preventive steps against allergens at the earliest opportunity. Understanding where these irritants come from is one way to stop them from spreading. Common allergens are everywhere. They come in the form of dust mites, tree pollen, insects, mould, food, and pet dander.
Allergens cause allergic reactions that vary from mild to severe — some being fatal — depending on the person’s sensitivity. Signs and symptoms include:
Conjunctivitis (itchy, red, and watery eyes)
Hives (itchy, red bumps on the skin)
Tightening of the chest
Swelling (of the face, eyes, lips, or tongue)
While medications are available to counter these reactions, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Part of the prevention is living in a clean home. Follow these steps to effectively mitigate indoor allergens.
#1 Protect Your Bed Against Dust Mites
Make use of a tightly woven bed protector to block dust mites from infesting. Every time you change your bedsheets and pillowcases, vacuum them to get rid of dust mites. Consider using an electric blanket; it can lower the humidity on mattress surfaces, minimizing the dust mite population. Wash your stuffed toys regularly, and place them a distance from your bed.
#2 Go for Washable Curtains and Carpets
While long window curtains look aesthetically pleasing, they also provide a good hiding spot for dust. Don't use heavy fabrics that you can’t wash easily. Instead, opt for curtains that are lightweight. Buy multiple sets so you can clean them regularly. Consider also switching to blinds or other soft window treatments.
When it comes to floor rugs and mats, select ones that are machine washable. Vacuum area rugs regularly to eliminate allergen while extending their lifespan.
#3 Keep Your Floors Rug-Free
Reduce the presence of allergens in your home by saying goodbye to your rugs and carpets. They can harbour tiny dust particles and dander, making them favourite breeding grounds for dust mites. If you must have one, buy low-pile varieties that are machine washable.
#4 Cut Back on Plants
Allergens tend to grow and multiply in an environment with high moisture. Indoor plants, unfortunately, can increase the humidity inside your home. To control humidity levels, get air-purifying plants like philodendrons, peace lilies, golden pothos, and chrysanthemums. Only water your indoor plants when needed. Excess watering can lead to water pooling in the pot or soil, raising humidity levels.
#5 Set Off-Limit Areas for Pets
If you have pets and consider them a part of the family, you still need to be wary of them. Pet dander can trigger severe allergic reactions. Minimize allergies by limiting the areas they can enter, specifically bedrooms and areas with upholsteries that attract dander. Groom and bathe your pets once a week. Clean their food bowls, and regularly wash their bedding to prevent dander from spreading.
#6 Minimize Decorations
Avoid putting a superfluous number of mementos and decorations on display since they can accumulate dust particles. Keep these in airtight storage bins to prevent them from gathering dust.
#7 Install an Exhaust Fan
Bathrooms are humid places, so it’s highly likely for moulds and mildews to build up. To prevent this, keep your shower area well-ventilated, and turn on the exhaust fan after every bath for at least 30 minutes. Wipe any moisture sticking in the area.
#8 Make Use of Anti-Mould Paint
Finish your walls with anti-mould paint when painting your bathroom. It has antimicrobial properties that protect painted surfaces, preventing moulds from taking root. While it can’t wipe out existing moulds, it can prevent new moulds from growing.
#9 Seal Your Tile Grout
Grout is used to hold tiles together. It is a mixture of sand, cement, and water. The standard practice is to seal your tile grout annually to prevent mould and mildew formation.
Tile grout inside frequently used bathrooms should be sealed every 6 months; grout in rarely used bathrooms (like those in guest areas) can be sealed as infrequently as every 2 years. Sealing your tile grout is one way of waterproofing your bathrooms, reducing potential mould formation.
#10 Opt for Hardwood Flooring
Install hardwood floors instead of flooring options that require carpeting. Hardwood floors are easy to clean and maintain. All you need is a vacuum or soapy water and a mop.
#11 Go for the Ideal Upholstery
When allergy-proofing your home, your choice of upholstery matters. If you love soft, fluffy surfaces, this can seem challenging. However, there are easy-to-clean alternatives to carpets and faux fur.
For your living room, opt for sofas made of materials like faux leather. Use removable cushions so that it’s easier to clean in between. Select machine-washable throw pillows, or wrapt them in a dustproof cover.
#12 Choose the Right Cooling, Heating, and Central Air System
There are important steps you need to take when developing the appropriate design of your air system and reduce indoor allergens.
Cooling Air System
Set up a cooling system with a HEPA filter to minimize and remove allergens from your home. Installing a house-wide cooling system can improve indoor air quality better than using separate units. However, this depends on your home’s floor plan. Assess both methods to determine which is suitable for you and your family.
Using a radiant heating system comes with numerous advantages. It is more efficient than both forced-air heating and baseboard heating systems because it gets rid of duct losses. For individuals with allergies, this is highly recommended since it doesn’t spread allergens around the house like forced air systems do.
Central Air System
The majority of central air systems carry in fresh air while filtering indoor irritants and expelling them outside your home. Change filters regularly to get rid of allergies and keep your air system in tip-top shape.
Allergens are everywhere — but that doesn’t mean you should always be at their mercy. These tips allow you to proactively control their presence in your space.
To maximize your space and create the most stunning allergy-free haven for both you and your family, get in touch with BD Interior Design. Call us at (647) 466-6965 or visit our webpage to book an appointment.