But the worst offender in your home may be the bedroom. That’s because it’s a magnet for allergy and asthma triggers such as dust mites, mold and pollen—and the place you stay put for eight or so hours every night. Not to fret, though. There are seven steps you can take to make your bedroom allergy-proof.
1. Start with your bed
Ground zero for allergens in the bedroom is your bed. That’s because you not only spend a lot of time there, but it’s also a place where dust mites can thrive. Your best move: Cover your mattresses, box springs and pillows with hypoallergenic casings. Pillows are especially important—your face, after all, is resting on them for hours at a time—so use washable ones filled with cotton or cotton-alternatives. In fact, all your bedding should be washed weekly in water that’s at least 130 F. (And use a hot dryer). In addition, remove decorative elements like fancy quilts, throw pillows and stuffed animals that can harbor mites. And don’t forget things stored under the bed.
2. Focus on the floor
It’s best to ban carpeting from the bedroom, since it’s a likely place for dust mite particles to reside. Instead, replace it with hardwood floors or linoleum. If you can’t do without a carpet, use washable area rugs or carpeting with a low-nap, and vacuum regularly.
3. Just say no to pets
No matter how much you love your furry friends, their dander and saliva can carry allergens. And even if you’re not allergic to dander, their fur can be an allergy-bearing vehicle, too. For that reason, keep pets out of the bedroom and, most important, off the bed. If you want your little ones to have a comfortable place to curl up, get them their own cozy berth and put it in another room.
4. Go easy on window treatments
If your taste runs to heavy drapes and blinds, it’s wise not to indulge such choices in your bedroom, since they can attract dust. A better option is washable curtains. And be sure to wipe off window frames and glass regularly to ward off mold.
The more things you have lying around the bedroom, the greater the opportunities for allergens to hide. That means reducing the number of knickknacks throughout your room. All those treasured decorative items and books? Just put them somewhere else.
6. Keep it cold—and clean the air
Dust mites don’t breed in temperatures below 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so consider turning the heat down or the AC up.
7. Clean the air
An air purifier with a HEPA filter can also help keep the air clean—and keep your bedroom a restful place to lay your head down at night.
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