Colorado is one of the most picturesque places to call home and a pretty good option for people with allergies. We are known for excellent air quality, and our frequent cold weather means fewer periods of pollen in the air than in other states. Unfortunately, we’re not completely immune…
Now that spring has sprung in the Mile High City, so have the sniffles. Everything’s blooming, everyone’s sneezing. With this perfect storm of pollen season and home improvement month in May, what better time to share allergy-proofing tips for home?
Tree allergens are especially common for residents of Denver and Colorado Springs this time of year, in particular, cottonwood, cedar, elm, oak, and maple, to name a few. But there are even more culprits indoors.
Here are the main sources of indoor allergens, followed by tips to avoid them:
- Wall-to-wall carpet
- Soft furniture
- Stuffed toys
- Damp areas
- Indoor plants
- Pollen tracked in from outside
- Mattresses without allergy covers
- Bedding you can’t wash in hot water
- Dust mites on surfaces
- Mold and mildew
Steps To Control Indoor Allergens
Here are steps you can take to remove allergens and improve indoor air quality quickly and efficiently:
- Stop Mold & Mildew
Whether or not you have allergies, there are various health problems that are attributed to or exacerbated by dampness and mold. Here are some ways you can reduce moisture and mold around your home, especially in the bathroom, kitchen, and other areas where there is a lot of water:
- Don’t leave showers running for a long time before getting in
- Use dehumidifiers to reduce both mold and dust mites
- Use humidity monitors
- Limit your number of houseplants
- Fix all leaks
- If you see mold on a surface, clean it immediately and again each week to keep it from returning.
- Remember to wear a mask whenever handling mold.
- Check Outdoor Allergens At The Door
Implement a no-shoe policy to avoid tracking outdoor allergens like pollen inside. Create an area by your door(s) where people can remove and store footwear, and vacuum the area regularly during allergy season. You can take this a step further by treating all outdoor layers the same way – remove and store coats by the door to prevent further exposure.
- Draw The Curtain On Hard-To-Clean Window Treatments
The best window treatments for allergy season are ones that are easy to clean. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades or curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric.
- When All Else Fails, Keep Windows Closed
You may want to keep your windows closed altogether in warm weather to control dust mites and reduce humidity during warm seasons. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills, then secure them closed. If you live in a colder area, consider installing double-paned windows.
- Change Filters Often
Regularly clean your HVAC filters to keep the air free of allergens and dust (especially if you’re keeping windows closed.)
- Skip The Roaring Fire
If you or a loved one at home suffer from respiratory allergies, avoid the use of wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, as smoke and gases can worsen them. If you still want to cozy up, natural gas fireplaces are a better alternative. If you’re considering installing a new fireplace, give our contractors a call for a free consultation at 303-833-4715 or complete our form online. Likewise, if your oven or woodburning stove is not properly ventilated, stop using it until it can be prepared professionally.
- Replace Carpeting With Hardwood (or LVP)
Carpeting traps common allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, making it especially problematic in bedrooms because it exposes you to dust throughout the night. If you or someone in your home are susceptible to allergies, we recommend replacing your carpets with hard-surface flooring such as vinyl, tile, or hardwood, which are much easier to keep clean.
In fact, hardwood floors are consistently rated as one of the most allergy-friendly choices on the market. When properly installed and sealed with an allergy-friendly polyurethane coat, hardwood floors will not harbor microorganisms or trap dirt, dust, and other tracked-in allergens.
If removing wall-to-wall carpet isn’t an option, shampoo the carpet often and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Low-pile carpets are preferable alternatives to high-pile ones, as are washable rugs, like those from RugUSA or Ruggable.
- Launder Bedding At Least Once A Week
Whether they’re on the floor, windows, or furniture, regular washing is a good rule of thumb for home fabrics during allergy season. For best results, wash your bedding, uncovered pillows, and stuffed toys in water 130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter each week. Dry them in a hot dryer cycle to kill dust mites. We also recommend researching dust mite covers or “allergy covers” for mattresses and pillows, as well as hypoallergenic bedding options.
- Keep Pets Clean (& Out Of The Bedroom)
At the height of allergy season, long-haired pets may track in pollen and other outdoor allergens. Keep your symptoms at bay by giving your pets regular baths, wiping their paws when they come inside, and keeping them out of bedrooms if possible. If you suspect you have a pet allergy, see a board-certified allergist for allergy testing.
- Invest in Medical-Grade Air Purifiers
You can improve your home’s indoor air quality by using air cleaners, also known as air purifiers or sanitizers, which reduce pollution by removing very small particles from the air. Air cleaners with CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filters can filter almost 98% of allergen particles in the air. You can see examples online: here.
- Vacuum Often
Vacuuming weekly keeps allergens low. If you’re concerned that your vacuum could be poor quality and putting dust into the air, look for CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® vacuums. If your allergies are severe, wear a mask while doing housework to avoid inhaling dust or other irritants.
- (Re-)Organize Your Bathroom Vanity So You Can Find Your Medicine More Easily
Last but certainly not least – Empty your bathroom vanity, clean it, and reorganize it so you easily access allergy medicine when you need to! Remember to dispose of and replace any expired medicines at the same time. This simple step will go a long way in soothing allergy symptoms.
Don’t let your allergies hinder your ability to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of your Colorado home. Use these tips to keep your allergies at bay. If you want professional help replacing floors, installing a new fireplace, or otherwise personalizing your space, contact our contractors for a free consultation by calling us at 303-833-4715 or completing our contact form online here.
Christie’s Design Build Remodel is committed to giving you a realistic timeline and 30-day price lock-in once you have signed. We can’t wait to hear from you.