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Home decor decisions to create an allergen-free home

Posted Monday, October 31st, 2016
create an allergen-free home

Cozy, beautiful, and allergen-free

If dust and mold trigger your allergies, it can be hard to enjoy the comforts of home in Saugatuck. Fortunately, expert designers know how to curate home decor in a way that keeps allergens at bay—and can still be beautiful and uniquely yours.

What causes home allergies?

Mold and dust mites are some of the most common causes of allergy symptoms in the home. Dust mites thrive in pet dander and dust, and mold loves damp, humid conditions. If you can reduce dust and mold, you’ll reduce allergens. So where do you start?

Start by clearing away clutter.

You know all those toys, knick-knacks, and stacks of clutter that don’t do anything but collect dust? They collect dust. Go for a clean, minimal look to reduce the surfaces that attract dust.

Some items in your home are necessary or valuable to you—children’s toys, family heirlooms, things of beauty—and you’ll probably want to keep these. To reduce dust in your living areas, consider displaying a few of these items at a time and placing the rest in storage. When the season changes or you get an itch to reorganize—or when the kids get bored with their toys—rotate a few items out of storage.

Before storing them, wipe off any dust with a damp cloth and allow them to dry completely to avoid the potential for mold.

Choose your furniture and upholstery carefully.

Opt for light, washable curtains, leather furniture, and lamp shades that can be easily wiped or washed. Heavy drapes can look stylish and dramatic, but they collect dust and moisture, which encourages mold growth. Washing your drapes frequently will remove allergens from your home.

In addition, leather furniture can be wiped down easily, making dust less of a problem than with cloth furniture. If you can, reduce the number of flat surfaces, including coffee tables and end tables, since dust will gather on the tabletops.

Pay attention to humidity levels, and decorate accordingly.

Aim for 50 percent humidity: Too much humidity invites mold; too little invites dust.

Bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms are notorious for high humidity, so target your dehumidifiers in these areas and use mildew-resistant paint. In addition, avoid carpet in high-humidity areas. If the hard floor needs a splash of color, go for a washable rug—and wash it regularly.

Don’t let allergens drive you up the wall.

You want your walls to look nice, and there are plenty of options available for allergy sufferers. For example, choose paint over wallpaper, since mold and dust are less attracted to painted surfaces. If solid colors aren’t your thing, consider painting the trim a different color or using stencils to add designs and patterns.

When selecting and placing wall art, remember that you’ll want to dust it regularly. It’s easier to remove, clean, and replace solid frames that hang in easily accessible areas. Intricate, textured items and items hanging far out of reach are more difficult to clean.

The gap between kitchen cabinets and the ceiling is a favorite place for dust, and most people rarely get around to cleaning this area. If you’re remodeling your kitchen, change your cupboards for ones that reach the ceiling.

Curbing the green thumb.

Plants can add life and color to any house, but if your allergies are sensitive, select them carefully. Broad leaves can collect dust, which will need to be wiped or sprayed down, and moist environments like terrariums can encourage mold growth. With this in mind, choose a small number of plants that prefer a dry environment and find decorative pots that really pop.

Bringing in the outdoors

If you’re lucky enough to avoid seasonal allergies, open windows when weather permits to encourage airflow and discourage dust. Fresh air can liven up any room! But grass and mud are another story. Keep them at bay with a no-shoes rule, which you can accent with a colorful boot tray and cheerful, effective welcome mats.

Wash linens in hot water.

Mites and mold don’t easily make it through the hottest cycle, and they’re even less likely to survive bleach. You can cut down on allergens in your home by washing your sheets, comforters, curtains, towels, and rugs in hot water.

Allergens won’t survive this treatment, but you want your linens to come out looking great. When you’re selecting your decor, check the care instructions, and try to find items that fit your style and can retain their look after several hot-water washings.

Regular cleaning is important.

Any house looks better when it’s clean, but if you’ve got allergies, it’s even more important. A cleaner house will keep your sinuses happier.

The person with the fewest household allergies should take the dustiest jobs, but if you’re on your own, you can wear a dust mask or hire a cleaning service like Modernistic. Our anti-allergen programs can reduce your home’s allergens by 90 percent, including common ones from pet dander and dust mites.

However, be careful when considering renting a shampoo or steam cleaner for your carpet. Most shampoo cleaners don’t heat water to a temperature that will make a noticeable difference in the allergens in your home, and steam cleaners can leave moisture in your carpet fibers that encourage mold growth.

In through the nose…

With a clean, low-allergen home, you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere you’ve created without a stuffy nose or watery eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose—because you can.

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