If you have an allergy or allergic asthma, here are some simple steps to reduce allergens in your home. Because you spend a third of your life in the bedroom, start there when tackling allergy triggers in your home, then work on other rooms where your spend most of your time. By reducing your exposure to allergens, you can help lower your need for medications and improve your symptoms.

  1. Bed and bedding. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C). Remove, wash or cover comforters.
  2. Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs. If that isn’t an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Shampoo the carpet frequently.
  3. Curtains and blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades.
  4. Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  5. Furnishings. Choose easy-to-clean chairs, dressers and nightstands made of leather, wood, metal or plastic. Avoid upholstered furniture.
  6. Clutter. Remove items that collect dust, such as knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, books and magazines. Store children’s toys, games and stuffed animals in plastic bins.
  7. Pets. If you can’t find a new home for your dog or cat, at least keep it out of the bedroom. Bathing pets at least twice a week may reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.
  8. Air filtration. Choose an air filter that has a small-particle or HEPA filter.
  9. Plants. Find a new home for potted plants or spread aquarium gravel over the dirt to help contain mold.
  10. Fireplaces. Avoid use of wood-burning fireplaces or stoves because smoke and gasses can worsen respiratory allergies. Most natural gas fireplaces won’t cause this problem.