Clean the air
- Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in furnace and air conditioning systems.
- Replace all filters, including water, range hood, and air vent filters. You should replace these filters every 3-6 months, depending on the type of filter you have.
- Window and door screens also trap dust, mites and allergens. Carefully remove your window screens, wash them with warm soapy water, spray rinse with clean water, and dry them before reinstalling.
- Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 am and 3 pm, and in windy conditions.
- Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mudroom, and take a shower.
- Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air.
- Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures; inspect water pipes for leaks and fix.
- Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.
- Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath.
- Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.
- Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, and living areas — with a sponge, brush, and non-toxic soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets.
Test your alarms
- Test smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s inexpensive, only takes a few minutes and can save your life.
- The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.
- Get rid of old rags, newspapers, books, magazines, clothes, knickknacks and other dust catchers that you don’t use or enjoy.
- Fabrics and carpeting generate dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting, and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens.
- If you have carpeting, vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Damp-mop your hard floors, and wipe down other hard surfaces, regularly with water and a non-toxic cleaner.
- A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.