Allergens are everywhere and your home is no exception.
In fact, the air inside your home can be two to five times as polluted as the air outside.
If indoor allergens like mold, dust mites and pet dander have you congested, sneezing and wheezing while trying to find comfort in your own home, it might be time to consider making some changes.
While some of these allergen reducing projects can be more costly than others, there are a number of things you can do to improve your at-home health on any budget.
And if you need a little more financial flexibility to tackle some of these bigger undertakings, you can utilize a personal loan for home improvement to complete those projects ASAP, so you can enjoy the improvement to your quality of life both now and in the long-term.
Free and Low Cost Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home
1. Dust at least once a week to remove allergens from surfaces.
A dusting wand, microfiber cloth or wet rag can trap more debris than a regular towel or duster. Estimated cost: $5 per cloth.
2. Establish a pet-free zone.
You don’t have to give up your pets if they give you allergies, but consider designating one room, like the bedroom, as an animal free zone.
Bathing your pet one or twice a week can also help reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed. Estimated cost: $0.
3. Keep the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees.
Depending on where you live and the time of year this can actually be a money saver.
Hot and humid houses are breeding grounds for dust mites and mold, so you want keep the temperature down. Estimated cost: A/C in the summer.
4. Keep your windows closed.
Though it might seem like a good idea to have the windows open on a nice day, it’s inviting the mold and pollen in from outside. It’s better to keep your windows closed, especially on humid days and times when pollen counts are highest. Estimated cost: $0.
5. Keep your fridge clean.
Pay special attention to door gaskets, drip pans and any other places you might find moisture in your fridge as that’s where mold tends to grow. Estimated cost: $0.
6. Switch out your shower curtain.
Vinyl shower curtains can emit potentially lung-irritating compounds. A nylon curtain can be washed as needed and is a better choice for both your health and the environment. Estimated cost: $10-$20 per shower curtain.
7. Cut the clutter.
Toss items that collect dust like books, magazines, newspapers and knickknacks that you no longer use or enjoy – and store any items that you want to keep in plastic bins.
The less stuff you have in your house, the fewer places there are for allergens to hang out. Estimated cost: $60 for bins.
More Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home
8. Use curtains or shades you can wipe down or launder.
Curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic cotton are typically washable. You can also skip the curtain altogether. Estimated cost: $20-$30 per set.
9. Put dust mite proof covers on mattresses, box springs, comforters and pillows.
These covers can help prevent critters from penetrating your bedding. Wash your sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in hot water as well. Estimated cost: $25 per cover.
10. Install a ventilation fan in the bathroom.
Run the fan during every bath and shower to reduce mold-friendly moisture. And wipe around the sink, tub and toilet at least once a week. Estimated cost: $100-200.
11. Invest in a quality vacuum.
Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter and a certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Estimated cost: $200-$500.
12. Filter your air.
Air purification is one of the most effective ways to reduce indoor allergen levels, especially if you use HEPA filtration.
Use a filter that has a MERV rating between 8 and 12 and replace your filters regularly based on the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have pets, smoke or live in an arid region, you’ll likely have to change your filter more often.
The most important place to run an air filter is in your bedroom. Try adjusting your air filter so that it directs clean air toward your head when you sleep. Estimated cost: $25-$30 per filter or $100-$200 per air purifier.
Major Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home
13. Mold remediation.
This means calling in a specialist to remove serious mold problems from tough places to clean such as the attic and crawl space. This type of work can also become quite costly. Estimated cost: $500-$6,000.
14. Install an exhaust fan over the stove.
You want to make sure your exhaust fan has a vent that leads outside to get rid of cooking fumes and reduce moisture in the kitchen. Many stove top hoods simply filter cooking particulates without actually venting outside. Estimated cost: $200-$1,000.
15. Opt for new, easy to clean furniture.
Leather, wood, metal and plastic furniture is less likely to harbor allergens. If you want to hang onto your upholstered pieces, be sure to run a HEPA vacuum over it at least once a week. Estimated cost: $2,000+.
16. Replace carpeting with hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs.
If you must have carpeting, make sure it’s short, tight pile and vacuum and shampoo it frequently. Estimated cost: $4,398.
Consider a personal loan of up to $35,000 for home remodeling and repairs. No collateral needed and you can get funds in a matter of days.