Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Cleaning Indoor Air: Pet Allergies
If you have pets that you love, but you also have pet allergies, there are
some ways to improve the air you breathe. “Keep the pet outside or at the very
least outside of your bedroom,” Calhoun says. “Just reducing the allergen
burden in the bedroom will likely have some benefit because we spend eight
hours in the bedroom a night.”
Bathing your pet regularly can also reduce allergen burden, according to
Better Air Quality Indoors: Evicting Dust Mites
There are the pets we love and invite into our homes and beds, and then
there are those uninvited guests like house dust mites.
These creepy, crawly microscopic critters are the most common cause of
allergies from house dust. They can be found where you sleep (your pillows and
mattresses), where you relax (upholstered furniture), and where you walk (your
carpeting). What’s more, they float into the air when you vacuum, walk on a
carpet, or ruffle your bedding.
What can you do? Plenty!
Dust mites love humid air, so keep house humidity below 30 or 35 percent.
“House dust mites don’t tolerate dryness well, so you don’t want to run a
humidifier in the bedroom to encourage their growth if you are allergic,”
Air conditioning can keep humidity down and reduce dust mite allergens
tenfold. If you don’t have air conditioning, try a dehumidifier.
You can measure humidity with a hygrometer, available at hardware stores.
Impermeable covers on mattresses and pillows can also help keep these
unwanted guests off your bedding. Wash bedding (and washable stuffed toys) once
a week in hot water and dry them thoroughly.
Reduce dust by dusting often with a damp (not dry) cloth or dust mop.
Vacuum upholstered furniture, drapes, and rugs thoroughly once a week,
preferably with a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Better yet, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and large area rugs, especially in
the bedroom. “These can be havens for dust mites,” Calhoun says. “We don’t like
to get out of bed and have our feet hit a hard wood floor, but a smooth, hard
surface is best if you are sensitive to dust mites.”