How Do I Remove Allergens From My House? Take Control

Your in-home air quality is important to think about yet is easily overlooked. You may be suffering from allergies at your home and not even realize it. How do you remove allergens from your house?

Remove allergens from your house by vacuuming often, removing clutter, washing your bedding weekly, and maintaining a clean bathroom and kitchen. Dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold are all common contributors to in-home allergens and can be easily controlled by regular cleanings.

How Do I Remove Allergens From My House? Take Control
Is there something in your home causing allergies?

Common mistakes include shampooing carpets or using highly scented cleaners. This could lead to your allergies getting worse.

There are several ways to address allergens in your home. Now let’s get some of your questions answered.

How Do I Remove Allergens From My House?

Here are some easy ways to keep your home clean, and your allergies under check.

  • Dry your laundry inside. Your clothes will catch mold and pollen. Instead, use the clothes dryer.
  • Clean outside entryways. You can reduce the likelihood of someone bringing dirt or pollen into your home by cleaning your path to the door as well as the patio.
  • Wash sheets once a week in hot water. It should be at least 130 F. This temperature is hot enough to kill dust mites. Do the same for any washable toys if your child has allergies.
  • You can ask another family member to do the chores. If you have allergies to dust mites, it’s best to avoid vacuuming and dusting.
  • Vacuum one to two times per week. Make certain your vacuum has a HEPA filter. Some allergens pass right through regular vacuum filters. 
  • It means that when you vacuum, you could be sucking allergens from the floor and shooting them into your lungs.
  • Remove clutter. Boxes and clothing can trap dust, and hide allergens like dust mites.
  • Do NOT shampoo your carpets. Mold growth or increased dust mites could occur.
  • For cleaning, you can use a damp mop and cloth. These will trap allergens, not let them escape.
  • Use a mask when cleaning. Once you’re finished cleaning, get out of your home for a few hours. This will reduce your exposure to allergens you’ve stirred up into the air.
  • Keep your bathroom clean and free of mold. Take care to scrub the tile and keep the shower curtain clean. Tossing a shower curtain into the washing machine is an easy way to keep a shower curtain clean.

Other Changes You Can Make at Home

These are not cleaning tricks, but they will make it easier to clean and could help avoid allergy flare-ups.

  • Say goodbye to your rugs, as rugs and carpets can trap allergens. Vinyl, tile, and/or hardwood floors can help reduce triggers. 
  • Use a smaller, washable rug that can be tossed in the laundry.
  • Make sure you have special bedding. Dust mites will not be attracted to pillows or mattresses that have dustproof covers.
  • Stop using horizontal blinds or drapes. They trap dust and allergens. Use roll shades instead.
  • Avoid using fragranced cleaners and detergents. Allergic reactions can be triggered by cleaners. You should look for fragrance-free alternatives.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the house. Pollens and other triggers will not be tracked.
  • Do not allow pets to sleep in your bedroom. This might be a tough one for your pet lovers, but pets shed pet dander. Pet dander is a prime feast for dust mites. If you have allergies, do not allow pets to sleep on the beds.
  • Install air conditioning. Avoid opening windows during the heat. A conditioner can filter the air to prevent pollens, molds, and other allergens from entering.

What Causes Indoor Allergens?

Asthma and allergy control starts at home. People suffering from allergies often stay indoors, especially when pollen and mold levels are high. What causes indoor allergens?

Indoor allergens are caused by dust mites that live in bedding, carpets, and upholstered furniture. Pollen is an allergen brought in from outside. Mold is a fungus that can cause allergic reactions and thrives in humid places in a home. Pet dander is another allergen that becomes airborne and inhaled.

There are many allergens that can make indoors uncomfortable.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends three options to improve indoor quality:

  • Eliminate contact with indoor allergens  
  • Ventilate indoor areas well  
  • To clean your indoor air, use an air purifier

80% of people in the U.S. are regularly exposed to dust mites. Six out of ten are exposed to pet dander. Cockroaches can cause allergic reactions in those who live in southern areas or inner cities.

A healthier environment can help to reduce allergies and triggers such as asthma.

Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in some people. 

Allergens get spread through the air and settle on flooring and furniture. They can range in size and are measured using microns.

Below are four of the most common allergens found in a home:

1. Dust Mites

Dust mites, which look like insects, are tiny pests that can cause allergic reactions or asthma in many people. 

Dust mites can be found in mattresses, carpets, curtains, upholstery, and carpets in homes all over the world. They feed on dead skin cells in the dust.

Dust mites don’t infest our bodies and they aren’t parasites. Their fecal fragments and fecal pellets are what cause the harmful allergen. Nearly all dust mites can be found in homes.

In the United States, approximately four-fifths of five households have at least one bed containing dust mite allergen.

2. Pet Dander

Pet dander is dead skin cells that are shed from cats, dogs, and other pets with feathers or fur. These dead skin cells may cause allergic reactions in individuals who are particularly sensitive to these triggers.

3. Pollen

The most common trigger of seasonal allergies is pollen. Pollen allergy is often referred to as “hay fever” by many people. Experts call it seasonal allergic rhinitis.

In spring, summer, fall, and winter, tiny pollen grains are released from plants to fertilize the plants of other species. 

Most allergens are caused by pollens from trees, weeds, and grasses. These plants produce tiny, light, dry pollen grains that are carried by the wind.

When we are outside, the airborne pollen settles onto our clothing, hair, and bodies which we then bring into our homes. Pollen is also tracked in homes by one’s shoes.

4. Mold

Mold is a fungus that grows in humid areas of a home such as a bathroom and a bedroom. In climates where humidity levels are high, mold can be found in all areas of a home.

Allergies to mold are very common and can be severe or mild. An allergy to mold can lead to asthma attacks for those suffering from asthma. 

Mold exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs for both mold-allergic patients and those who are not allergic to mold.

How Do You Get Rid of Dust Mites in Your House?

Dust mites are tiny little creatures that consume your dead skin cells and can be found in your bed, your carpets, and your furniture. How do you get rid of dust mites in your house?

To get rid of dust mites, clean your bedding weekly and use an allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers. Replace pillows regularly, vacuum carpets frequently, and clean your upholstered furniture often. Using a dehumidifier in humid climates will also reduce dust mites significantly.

For dust mite allergy control, the best strategy is to avoid dust mite exposure. 

Although dust mites cannot be eradicated completely, they can be significantly reduced. Here’s how:

  • Use an allergen-proof cover for your bed. Use dustproof and allergen-blocking pillow covers to protect your mattress. These covers, made out of tightly woven fabric protect your pillows and mattress from dust mite infestation. Cover box springs with allergen-proof covers.
  • Wash bedding weekly. To kill dust mites, wash the bedding in hot water of at least 130 F (54.4 C). If it is not possible to wash the bedding hot, then dry them in the dryer for 15 minutes at a temperature greater than 130 F (54.4 C). 
  • Dust mites can also be killed by freezing items that are not washable for 24hrs, but this will not remove them.
  • Keep humidity low. A relative humidity level of between 30-50% is a good goal. A dehumidifier can keep your home cool and is a worthy investment.
  • You can use a hygrometer (available at hardware shops) to measure humidity levels.
  • You should choose your bedding carefully. Avoid bedcovers with dust-trapping capabilities and that are difficult or impossible to clean.
  • Purchase washable stuffed toy toys. Wash stuffed toys often with hot water and dry them well. It’s also recommended to not put stuffed toys on a bed.
  • Remove dust. For dust removal, you should use an oiled or damp mop or cloth rather than dry materials. This prevents dust particles from getting into the air and settling back down.
  • Vacuum often. Although vacuuming carpeting or upholstered furniture removes most surface dust, vacuuming is not effective at eliminating dust mite allergens.

    For a cleaner that emits less dust, use a vacuum cleaner that has a double-layered microfilter or HEPA filter. If your allergies are severe, you should not be in the area being vacuumed. 

    Wait for at least two hours before getting back into the vacuumed rooms. Vacuuming stirs up dust, and you do not want to inhale it.
  • Reduce clutter. It collects dust and dust mites. Be sure to get rid of any unnecessary knickknacks.
  • You should get rid of carpeting and other dust mite habitats. Carpeting provides dust mites with a comfortable environment. This is especially true if carpeting covers concrete which retains moisture and provides a humid environment.
  • You can replace wall-to-wall bedroom carpeting with tile, wood, vinyl, or linoleum. You may also want to replace dust-collecting bedroom furnishings such as upholstered furniture.
  • Your furnace and air conditioner will benefit from a high-efficiency media filter. 
  • A filter should have a minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), of 11 or 12, and the fan turned on to create an air filter throughout your house. It is important to change the filter approximately every three months.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Mold in Your House?

There are several ways to get rid of and prevent mold in a house.

Mold on Walls

When you see mold on your walls, that’s a red flag that you have a possible water leak somewhere. Drainage issues can also contribute to mold on walls.

Ventilation issues, especially in high humidity, could also be the cause. Bathrooms are notorious for growing mold.

Check for leaks or drainage problems first, then address cleaning the moldy area on the wall. One thing you can try is to clean the wall and then watch how quickly the mold comes back.

If mold returns within a short period of time, you will want to hire a professional to help you figure out where the excess moisture is coming from.

Clean the mold off of the walls by using a large sponge and bleach water. Make sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from harsh bleach.

Soak the bleach water onto the surface where the mold is located for about 5 minutes. There are also mold removers you can purchase that would be great mixed with the bleach/water mixture.

Bathroom Mold Removal

There are several solutions that can help clean the mold problem in a bathroom:

  • White vinegar mixed with baking soda
  • Commercial cleaning products
  • A bleach solution of 8oz. of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water
  • Soap and water

A sponge with a scrubby side the size of the moldy area is recommended for the most efficient means of cleaning the mold.

If your tile grout is moldy, use a scrub brush as well as a toothbrush to reach the tiny crevasses such as the corners where the larger brush cannot reach.

Preventing mold from thriving in a bathroom can be a challenging task, as bathrooms tend to be humid and allow an environment that is ideal for growing mold fungus.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Mold

  1. Open bathroom windows for improved ventilation when hot water is running.
  2. Run the fan when taking hot baths or showers.
  3. Wipe water off of wet sinks and shower walls after use.
  4. Repair water leaks.
  5. Remove mold as soon as it’s noticed to prevent more mold accumulation.

Additional Tips to Control In-home Allergens

Is It Possible for Indoor Allergens to be Controlled?

Indoor allergens may be controlled through home cleaning and typically come from these main sources:

  • Pets
  • Wall-to–wall carpet
  • Soft furniture
  • Stuffed toys
  • Bedding
  • Damp areas
  • Indoor plants
  • Mattresses with allergy covers that aren’t on the mattress
  • Pillows, bedding, and other items that aren’t suitable for hot-water washing can’t go in the washer.

The allergens that are found on surfaces may be greater than the ones in the atmosphere. It is easy to introduce allergens to the air from surfaces by sitting down or dusting.

Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air cleaning devices might help. It is important to get rid of your home of allergens. It is important to take preventative steps to minimize your contact with allergens.

You should also try to increase the airflow from outside into your home, as well as reduce the humidity levels inside your home.

Mold growth is inhibited by reducing humidity. Also, air conditioners can help to reduce humidity. 

Keep your doors and windows shut when running your air conditioner and recirculate your air conditioner to help reduce outdoor allergens like pollen and mold.

Filtering allergens can be done with air purifiers equipped with allergy-friendly filters.

Just be sure to avoid the air purifiers that use ozone to function. There are plenty of 5-star ozone-free air purifiers that will work for your home.

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Indoor Allergic Reactions?

Control dust mites. Keep surfaces clean and neat in your home. The bedroom is the most important area of your home, so it’s best to keep walls and floors clean.

Avoid wall-to-wall carpet if at all possible. If you have to use carpet, make sure it is low-pile and washable. Use roll-down shades or washable drapes to replace blinds.

For pillows, mattresses, and box springs, use zippered or plastic covers that are allergen resistant. These covers are highly effective in controlling dust mite contact.

In order to reduce allergy symptoms, mattress covers are better than vacuum cleaners. 

You should use a mask when doing housework if you have any allergies. Use dampening cloths or polish to dust. After cleaning the house thoroughly, allow it to dry for several hours.

There is no hypoallergenic pet, so keep pet dander under control by regularly bathing your pets and cleaning their bedding areas often. 

Keep pets out of the bedrooms by closing the doors. 

The ability to bathe and brush your pet often can help to reduce symptoms. If you have an allergy to pet dander, wear a mask when grooming your pet.

Long-haired pets are more likely to bring pollen into your home during high-pollen months like spring and fall.

To test for pet allergies, you should see an allergist who is board-certified.

Keep out pollen by keeping windows and doors shut. In warm weather, air conditioning can be used to regulate humidity and control dust mites. Replace filters regularly.

Avoid mold spores. Reduce moisture in the bathroom, kitchen, and other areas where there’s a lot of water. Here are some methods to reduce mold.

  • You shouldn’t leave your shower on for too long before taking a bath or shower.
  • To reduce mold and dust mites, use dehumidifiers.
  • Use humidity monitors.
  • Limit yourself to only a few houseplants.
  • Resolve all water leaks.
  • It is important to remove any visible mold from surfaces. You can wear a mask while cleaning surfaces every other week to prevent mold from returning.

Take control of cockroaches. Avoid leaving food and garbage exposed. Use poison baits, boric acids, and traps to replace chemicals. Chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and cause asthma.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.