Home Free: Allergy-Proofing the House
Risks: dust, pet dander, chemicals
Solutions: The average mattress is estimated to double in weight over a decade from dust mites and their droppings. To reduce such exposure, shield the mattress and pillows with dust-mite blocking covers. Keep pets out of the bedroom, and definitely off the bed.
Clean clutter off dresser tops, and dust once a week with a damp cloth. Install hardwood or tile, and vacuum frequently, including curtains, mattress and bed skirt. Air out dry-cleaned clothing in a ventilated area before hanging in the closet. Use cedar in closets instead of mothballs.
Risks: dust, dander, chemicals
Solutions: Follow the same guidelines as in the bedrooms. Stuffed animals are havens for dust mites and bacteria, so buy plush toys that can be washed frequently. Consider a portable air purifier to minimize airborne contaminants.
Risks: mold, chemicals, bacteria
Solutions: Remove mold as soon as it appears. To reduce humidity, run an exhaust fan when showering, and for 15 minutes afterward. Use non-toxic cleansers to destroy mold, mildew and bacteria, and use baking soda and water as a scouring agent and vinegar for disinfecting and cleaning chrome. Avoid air fresheners, which can trigger asthma or sensitivities. For some, styling products, scented shampoos and perfumes are troublesome. Opt for unscented products and use essential oils instead of chemically based fragrance.