Newer, energy-saving homes that are built with double- or
triple-paned windows and more insulation keep heat as well as
allergens indoors. You may be able to prevent or
minimize reactions to indoor allergens.
Use an air conditioner or air purifier with a
high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Keep the house aired
out and dry. Keep the moisture level below 50%. Use a dehumidifier during humid
Dust and vacuum 1 to 2 times a week. Use a vacuum cleaner
with a HEPA filter, which collects dust-mite particles and pollen. Standard
paper bag filters may allow the stirred-up allergens to escape back into the
To help reduce the amount of dust blowing
around the room, keep the vacuum tank outside the room, or attach another hose
to the air outlet so the air blows outside the room.
Wear a mask if
you do the cleaning yourself.
Be aware that vacuuming stirs up
dust, making the air more irritating until the dust settles.
Avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy
drapes that collect dust. Vacuuming doesn't pick up dust mites.
Remove rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. Talk
with your family about this measure and how this will affect family
Replace drapes and blinds with roll-down shades or washable
Damp mop the floor once a day. Vacuum the walls,
ceiling, closet, and the backs of the furniture once a week to get rid of as
much dust as you can.
Use baking soda, mineral oil, club soda, or
vinegar to clean instead of harsher cleaning solutions that can produce
Contact a pest control service, if necessary,
to get rid of cockroaches. Cockroaches and other insects may provoke allergic
responses if you have allergic asthma.
Avoid tobacco smoke, smoke
from wood-burning stoves, and fumes from kerosene heaters.
registers closed if there is a pet in the house. This will reduce the amount of
animal dander circulating in the house, especially in
Repair any water-damaged areas from leaking roofs or
basements. These areas can be prime mold-growing areas.
heating or air-conditioning ducts and vents cleaned regularly.
It may be hard to control dust in your whole house. You may wish
to focus on the bedroom, where adults spend one-third of their time and
children spend half of their time.
Remove items that collect dust, such as stuffed
toys, pictures, books, knickknacks, and artificial flowers.
use wool or down blankets, feather pillows, or foam rubber, all of which
attract dust mites.
Wash bedding, including pillows, once a week
in hot water [130°F (54°C)] or
cover the pillows with an allergen-proof casing.
Cover your mattress
and box springs with dust-proof cases and wipe them clean once a
Keep plants and fish tanks, which increase humidity, out of
the bedroom. Dust mites thrive where humidity is greater than 50%.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.