Ah, it’s spring at last! But for some people, they’re not saying “ah”: They’re saying “achoo!” as allergy season kicks into high gear. At this time of year, there’s plenty of pollen in the air, but that’s not the only cause of people’s sneezes. In fact, one of the biggest sources of allergen exposure is probably right under your feet: your carpet. Rugs act like sponges, providing a comfy home for dust and dust mites, dander, pollen, and even mold. You don’t necessarily have to rip up all of your wall-to-wall carpeting to find relief, though. Instead, follow my advice to keep the rug from ruining your health.
Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum
You might vacuum the carpets once a week, but if you have severe allergies, that might not be enough. First off, make sure you’re using a vacuum with a HEPA filter that will trap allergens. Then, try increasing the frequency of your vacuuming; you might even need to make this a daily chore. But hey, it’s better to spend a few minutes every day pushing the vacuum around than to spend the whole day sniffling, right?
Four-Legged Dander Factories
Fluffy and Fido might be cute, but they also make plenty of allergy-causing dander. Clean up their act by brushing them daily to keep those allergens from reaching your carpet and staying there. Don’t forget to give your pets frequent baths, too, to keep them nice and clean. (You may want to invest in taking them to a groomer if they’re particularly bath-avoidant.)
A Perfect Climate for Mold. Dry air in your home might dry out your sinuses, but if your home is too humid, it will be a welcoming place for mold to settle down and stay a while. If you’re allergic to mold, consider investing in a dehumidifier. Keep it running in your home, especially during the warm, damp spring and summer months. It’ll help keep mold from being able to put down roots in your carpet.
Don’t Just Vacuum: Clean the Carpet
You wouldn’t just brush your hair and call it clean, would you? (OK, maybe you would if your morning was just that hectic, but you wouldn’t if you had a choice.) Vacuuming won’t get your carpet entirely clean, either, though it certainly helps. It’s important to give all of the rugs in your house a thorough steam-cleaning a minimum of once a year to really scrub those fibers clean.
While you’re at it, if your cleaner has a wand attachment, use it to go over your upholstered furniture and throw pillows. Those can trap allergens, too, though not as much or as easily as your carpets do. Also, when you steam-clean the rugs, take down the curtains and throw them in the washer. Remember that while carpet fibers are the worst culprits, any fabric can hold onto things like dust mites and dander. That goes for your bedding, too, of course: It should go without saying that you should strip the bed and wash the sheets and pillowcases at least once a week.
Author: Denise Perreault