Spring is in the air—which means a whole lot of pollen soon will be too. But even if you’re among those lucky enough not to suffer from seasonal allergies, you’re not entirely off the hook: there are plenty of allergens lurking inside your home. Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep these irritants under control. Follow these suggestions to make your home a no-sneeze zone:
1. Keep it Clean
Common allergens like mold, dust, and dust mites are drawn to dirty places. Make them feel unwelcome by avoiding clutter, giving your home a thorough cleaning at least once a week, and regularly taking out the trash and recycling.
2. Upgrade Your Vacuum
If you have a pet, you’ve seen how much hair can collect in your carpets and rugs. And if the fur’s there, you can be sure sneeze-inducing dander is too. Invest in a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to suck up as many allergens as possible.
3. Bleach the Bathroom
Mold and fungus thrive in warm, damp bathrooms. Give them the boot with a weekly bleach wipe-down. An ounce of bleach in a quart of water will do the trick.
4. Beware of Crumbs
Crumbs and other food scraps attract mice and insects. Cut off their food supply by keeping the floors swept, the counters scrubbed, and the sink free of dirty dishes.
5. Combat Humidity
If mold is your enemy, a dehumidifier is your best defense. Set it between 35 and 45 percent and, if you live in a house, keep it in the basement where mold often breeds.
6. Close the Windows
During allergy season, the choice is yours: breezes or sneezes. If you’re plagued by seasonal allergies, fresh air is, unfortunately, not your friend. Keep the windows closed during peak pollen hours (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). In warm weather, using the AC helps keep indoor air pollen-free, as long as you regularly change the filters.
Get even more ideas for allergy proofing your home at health.com.