Family movie night doesn't have to be a sneeze-fest, not with these basic living room and family room allergy-proofing tips
Try these simple steps to help make your living room or family room a sneeze-free zone for your child with allergies.
Say Bye-Bye to Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
Wall-to-wall carpeting is comfy and cozy, but it's not necessarily the healthiest choice for a family with allergy-prone kids. Carpet padding is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially if you have a lot of spills or pets that sometimes wet the rug.
Carpeting can also be a haven for pet dander and dust mites, plus if your family is not in the practice of removing shoes before entering the house, "you can track in pollen on your shoes, which can stick in the carpet," says Dr. Chiu.
Area rugs are a better solution because they can be taken up and aired out should there be a spill, but the best option is hardwood, linoleum, or laminate flooring.
It's Curtains for Fabric Window Dressing
Heavy fabric drapes and curtains tend to harbor airborne allergens like dust, dander, and pollen. If you can't live without them, vacuum them regularly and launder them monthly. A better option? Washable or natural fiber shades or blinds.
You may also want to consider vinyl or leather upholstered couches and chairs in lieu of fabric covered furniture when possible, says Dr. Chiu. They're easier to clean and less likely to attract pet dander and dust mites.
Invest in Proper Cleaning Tools
Redecorating your entire living or family room might not be a feasible option. A more economical solution would be investing in cleaning tools that can help you keep the allergens at bay. Consider the following:
- Home Steamer - use these convenient steamers to sanitize and deodorize drapes and curtains, fabric covered blinds and window shades, mattresses, even your pet's favorite sleeping spot.
- A quality HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) Vacuum these vacuums have a special filter that traps allergens and keeps them from being redistributed into the air.
- Microfiber Cleaning Clothes - feather dusters or dry dust rags scatter allergens into the air; these dust-attracting clothes are made of fibers that cling to dust and pollen.
- Air Filtration System - designed to "clean" the air by removing airborne allergens, these machines work best when the machine is large enough for the room where it is placed.
More Allergy-Proofing Tips
- Don't go overboard on potted plants, advises Dr. Chiu: Mold can grow in the soil.
- Vacuuming kicks up dust, so try to vacuum when your child is not home, or keep her out of the room for up to 15 minutes after vacuuming.
- Don't store firewood in the house: Wood might have mold growing on the bark.
- Get your family in the habit of not wearing shoes in the house. Set up shoe racks or baskets in the mud room, by the front door, or in the garage so that family members and guests can remove their shoes before entering.