Reducing Allergens in the Home

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Here are five ways to keep the sneezing at bay.

1. Dry Out Your Dwelling.
Dust mites and mold thrive in moisture. Keep humidity in your home lower than 50 percent with a dehumidifier, air conditioner, or heating system. Be sure to change your air filter every three months.

2. Check Your Curtains.
Allergens collect in places like carpet, curtains, blinds, and upholstered couches and chairs. When you can, choose furnishings that are washable or made from materials such as wood or leather. Otherwise, look for cleaning products that say they’ll denature or deactivate dust mites and animal dander.

3. Go Carpet-Free.
Choose hardwood floors, vinyl, or linoleum instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. If you can’t shake your shag, clean it regularly with a vacuum using microfilter bags or a HEPA filter. Steam clean carpets every few months; a study showed that when followed by vacuuming, such cleaning reduced dust mites for eight weeks.

4. Disrupt Dust.
Clean your home frequently. Vacuum, dust, and wipe down flat surfaces with a damp cloth or mop.

5. Clear the Air Naturally.
No sense in masking smells It’s better to use natural ventilation: Open windows or turn on exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors. I like to open my windows for ten minutes a day even in the middle of winter!

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