Contrary to popular belief, pollution concentration can be two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. Over 50 million Americans are affected by dust, mold, pollen, and other allergens, according to a feature on TODAY.
Setting aside some time to clean these seven most allergen-prone areas can have you breathing easier and living a better quality life.
Mattresses are notorious for housing a plethora of allergens. In fact, a study found that 75% of mattresses contain three or more kinds of allergens.
Washing your bedding in hot water and drying it on the hottest setting will help kill those pesky dust mites and have you sleeping without sniffling or sneezing. You can also protect your mattress using a plastic mattress cover.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends using a zippered allergen-resistant or plastic cover on your mattress, box spring and pillows to reduce contact with dust mites and other allergens.
Studies have also shown that carpeted homes have higher percentages of allergens.
In order to prevent or reduce the allergens, make sure to vacuum weekly using a high energy particulate air filter that catches fine, potentially allergy-causing particles.
In order to prevent pollen from making its way inside your home, be sure to leave your shoes at the door.
Unfortunately, those adorable stuffed animals your children love also carry high concentrations of allergens.
Similar to your bedding, in order to get rid of those allergens, you should wash the stuffed animals under hot water and dry them using the hottest setting.
It’s not just heat that kills allergens—putting your stuffed animals in the freezer for 12 hours kills dust mites and prevents their eggs from hatching.
Unknown to most people, their warm, cozy fireplace can be riddled with allergy-causing pollutants.
To prevent allergies from flaring up during the winter, schedule an inspection with a certified chimney sweep before lighting your first fire of the season, and have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned.
If your fireplace has a glass door, keeping them closed while the fire is burning can reduce airborne allergens.
While ceiling fans are a lifesaver in the summer, the spinning blades help circulate airborne allergens such as pollen and dust around the room.
To prevent or stop the sneezing, coughing, and running nose, be sure to wipe down the fan blades with a wet washcloth before turning it on.
Box fans also need to be cleaned. You can do this by unplugging the fan, removing the cover and wiping down the fan blades with a damp cloth before reassembling and turning it on.
Furnace filters are a surprising culprit among allergy-causing home mechanisms, considering they were made to trap allergens and keep them from escaping into the air. However, if you don’t change your furnace filter regularly, it becomes clogged and allows more allergens to escape into the air.
To prevent this from happening, replace your furnace filter every 30 to 90 days. Not only will this reduce household allergens, it will boost your furnace’s energy efficiency.
Last but certainly not least, open windows allow outside allergen pollutants such as pollen to enter your home.
If it’s a beautiful day out and you want to open your windows to enjoy the sunshine and gentle breeze, install window screen filters to reduce exposure to allergens. Remember to clean your window screens in the spring and fall to remove the pollen that gets trapped in the screen.
To clean window screens, simply scrub them with dish soap and leave them out to dry.
To learn more on common environmental allergens, visit Healthline.