Seven surprising spots allergens hide in homes

Get to know allergens’ most unexpected home hangouts, so you can do something about it.

You may think you’re getting a break from allergens when you step foot into your home, but the reality is, there may be allergens where you least expect them, setting off your allergy symptoms. Read on to get familiar with some of the unexpected places allergens could be lurking in your living space—and how they may have gotten there—so you can make a plan to avoid them.

1. Bathrooms

Even if you keep your bathroom spick and span, the reality is, warm and humid places are breeding grounds for mould. That’s why bathrooms, especially those with poor ventilation, can be problematic for people who have mould allergy. To help prevent your bathroom from making your allergy symptoms worse, try keeping the room as dry as possible after your shower by using an effective room fan to suck out the moisture, or by opening the window to keep the space well ventilated.

Bathrooms

2. Kids’ rooms

Kids' rooms

Your child’s bedroom might be his or her favourite room in the house, but it might also be a favourite hangout for allergens. Allergens, such as mould and dust mites, can hang out in some truly surprising places, such as beds, stuffed animals, toys and damp clothes. A few things you can do to help prevent allergens are as follows: use mite-proof mattresses and pillow covers, wash sheets and stuffed animals in hot water weekly, and make sure clothes are not at all damp when you put them away.

Kids' rooms

3. Couches (for pet dander)

You may not own a pet, but that doesn’t mean pet allergens aren’t hiding out on your couches and other plush furniture. That’s because human visitors can carry pet dander on their clothing from their family pets, track it into your home, and if they sit on your couch... well, you get the picture. We’re not suggesting you stop inviting people over to your house, but you may want to try cleaning your home and couches with a HEPA-filter vacuum.

4. On carpets—and under them!

Pollen can stick to clothing and shoes. It may not be realistic to change your clothes every time you step inside, but it is easy enough to make a habit of taking off your shoes to minimize the amount of pollen you’re tracking in. Experts recommend removing your shoes to cut back on the pollen that’ll otherwise end up on your carpets and rugs. Another good idea (which isn’t as simple as removing your shoes) is to remove rugs and even wall-to-wall carpeting from your home, as mould can be hiding underneath them—literally!

5. Humidifiers that aren’t clean

You may love your humidifier because it relieves your dry sinus passages, but if you suffer from allergies, your humidifier might be doing more harm than good. That’s because the dust and mould from the appliance might be setting off your allergy symptoms. What do we recommend? Dig out the old instruction manual and be sure to follow your humidifier’s cleaning and maintenance instructions.

6. Windowsills

Yes, mould likes to grow on windowsills, and it’s often because of a condensation buildup. Mould often looks like a stain or a smudge, and usually has a musty smell associated with it. If you suspect you have mould growing on your windowsills, the first thing to do is remove it using a rag, water, and dish detergent. However, the best thing you can do is to fix the cause of the mould.

7. Old books

Those old books you picked up at a garage sale may add charm to your décor, but they may also be triggering allergy symptoms because mould spores can thrive on them. It’s best to play it safe and reduce possible exposure to mould in your home by recycling those vintage novels.

Knowing where allergens might be hiding at home is the first step to reduce them. So what are you waiting for? Start trying to make your home an allergy–friendly zone today.

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