apartment allergies

9 Ways to Reduce Allergies in Your Apartment

It’s one thing to have an allergy attack while out for a nature walk. But if you regularly find yourself sneezing uncontrollably in your apartment or wake up with watery eyes and a stuffy nose, it can seem like a personal attack. The culprit, believe it or not, is likely apartment allergies.

Most U.S. homes are chock full of dust mites, pollen and pet dander. Some apartments may even have cockroaches, disgusting little buggers that cause allergic reactions in some people.

Tips for reducing apartment allergies

Before you start cringing too much, rest assured that there are solutions!

Here are some tips for banishing allergens faster than you can say dermatophagoides farinae (a fancy way of saying “dust mite”).

1. Cover your bed and pillow

Cover your bed and pillow

Some bedding manufacturers have developed product lines specifically to help you bust dust mites, which are microscopic relatives of ticks and spiders that take up residence in household dust. Mattresses and pillows are prime locations for dust mites, which is unfortunate since people spend so much time in bed. People who are allergic to dust mites typically complain of common allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose, but more serious reactions like wheezing can occur.

Anti-bug mattress covers and pillowcases are essentially sheaths that fit over your mattress and zip closed. The material used in these products repels dust mites and other bugs, preventing them from settling where you sleep. No more cuddling with your allergens! You can find anti-dust mite coverings wherever you buy bedding. For example, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Sears all carry a version of such covers. Be sure you get the right size for your mattress and pillows to banish those apartment allergies.

2. Wet dust your apartment

Wet dust your apartment

Many people’s apartment allergies are triggered by dust, which settles on surfaces in your apartment at annoyingly frequent rates. Dusting can get rid of these pesky particles, but only if you use the right plan of action. Dry dusting simply lifts the dust off one surface and makes it airborne until it settles on another.

Instead of getting out your feather duster, reach for a wet or clinging alternative. Furniture sprays, wipes and clinging dusters trap the dust motes and mites, preventing them from moving to another spot in your apartment. Do consider wearing a mask when you dust so you’re less likely to inhale the particles. You can even tie a bandanna over your nose like a robber in an old Western, which might make the chore a little less tedious.

3. Minimize clutter

Minimize clutter

Decorative elements in your home are nice, but too much of a good thing can be bad for apartment allergies. Whether you have a huge collection of Precious Moments figurines or an affinity for leaving piles of junk mail lying all about, clutter tends to attract allergy-causing dust.

By organizing your apartment and clearing out the things you don’t need, you’ll reduce the production of dust mites in your living space, which means less sneezing and more easy breathing.

4. Wash bedding frequently

Washing bedding

Your sheets, pillows and blankets can accumulate mites, even if your covered mattress doesn’t. You’ll kill the most mites and reduce the number of allergens in your apartment by washing bedding (and even stuffed animals) once a week in hot water.

If you can choose the temperature of your water, you should select 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher because mites definitely can’t withstand such a hot temperature.

Don’t forget to grab throw blankets and pillow covers you have in other rooms of your apartment and launder them, as well.

5. Ventilate well

bathroom fan

If your apartment doesn’t have a fan in the bathroom or over your stove, ask your landlord to install one. Exhaust fans pull moisture from the room to prevent the accumulation of mold and mildew, which cause serious allergy-related discomfort.

Once you have exhaust fans, don’t forget to use them. Run the bathroom fan until after your mirror is defogged. If you’re having the fan installed, ask your landlord to add its own switch. That way, when you use the fan, you won’t have to keep the light on, which is just such a waste of electricity.

6. Change air filters regularly

Changing air filters

Many air conditioning and heating units contain air filters, which capture dust and pollen. Check the filter every month. In many cases, you’ll want to wash or even replace it, but the weather, time of year and amount of allergens in your apartment will affect how frequently you really need to do it.

7. Vacuum weekly or biweekly

apartment allergies Vacuuming

Be sure to frequently vacuum the carpets and rugs in your apartment, no matter how much you hate the chore. Doing so helps remove allergens of all types. As with dusting, vacuuming can potentially spread allergens around, so you should use the right machine, ideally one with a HEPA filter specifically designed to suck up pesky allergens.

8. Embrace hard floors

hardwood floors

Carpets and rugs are havens for allergens, making them a bit of a nuisance to allergy sufferers. If your apartment has hardwood floors or tile floors, however, you’re lucky. Simply don’t put down a rug — probably the easiest tip on this list!

If you must have a fluffy surface on which to walk or your landlord requires some type of floor coverage, there are allergy-friendly options. In particular, choose a low-pile rug, as these models trap fewer particles than fluffier, high-pile versions.

9. Clean often and well

apartment allergies cleaning

Pet hair, dust mites and pollen can sneak into your apartment despite best efforts to keep them out. Your best line of defense at this point is to clean religiously and thoroughly.

Dust, vacuum, sweep and mop regularly. Ideally, you should also wipe down your kitchen and bathroom counters daily. Don’t forget to use a lint roller to remove pet hair from your sofa. You can also employ the attachments on your vacuum to clean the fabric with extra gusto.

Cleaner space, fewer sniffles

With just a few minor tweaks and a little extra effort, you can easily escape your apartment allergies. Now, if only there were a concrete answer to fighting off stuffy, sneezy sniffles outdoors and in other people’s homes…


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