Most people tend to associate allergies as more of a spring and summer problem, and pay less attention as the cooler air roles in because there’s no pollen in the air. However, allergies still severely impact many people because of what’s inside their homes: cats, dogs, dust mites, mold, cockroach droppings, harmful chemicals and more.
Robin Wilson is founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Home in New York City, an ambassador to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and has a hypoallergenic bedding line at Bed Bath and Beyond. She says most people don’t realize that their home is probably making them sick, but there are simple solutions to help eliminate the “wheezes and sneezes.”
- For allergy and asthma sufferers, make sure and use hypoallergenic pillows and anti-allergen or hypoallergenic pillow cases and covers. Wash your pillow case once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and wash your pillow at least twice a year. Replace pillows every three years.
- Don’t use a vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and off gases. Use a nylon curtain instead. It’s also less expensive.
- Use non-VOC paints which won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up asthma or allergies. It looks just as good on the wall as regular paint.
- Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Shake out and vacuum area rugs on a regular basis as well. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Watch for mold in the dishwasher and refrigerator pan which can build up quickly in the kitchen.
- One of the biggest trends today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains. Consider frameless cabinets which won’t collect as much dust.
- Use slip covers on sofas and chairs which can be washed regularly to eliminate dirt and dust.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom, and bathe them often to reduce the dander.
- Freeze stuffed toys for 24 hours to kill dust mites and other bacteria that may have built up.