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How to make your home more allergy-friendly

13 April 2016

Yvonne Manomano, Cleaning Operations Manager at DIY and cleaning services company Handy, shares her tips for keeping allergies at bay around the home, including ways to reduce pollen and dust.

Woman laundering clothes and bedding
Wash bedding regularly and dry indoors to reduce the chance of it coming into contact with pollen

Avoid chemicals

If you, or one of your family members is suffering from allergies, it is a good idea to avoid harsh chemicals like ammonia when choosing your cleaning products. You will find that certain furniture polishes, detergents and fabric softeners will contain chemicals that can cause an allergy to flare up. Instead, opt for ‘green’ products, or make your own with baking soda, vinegar and lemon.

Related: make your home more eco-friendly

Thorough cleaning

While it isn’t a good idea to obsessively clean on a daily basis, if you are suffering from allergies it is worth it cleaning your home thoroughly once or twice a week. I would recommend getting a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, as that will pick up tiny allergens that other vacuums will simply dislocate.

Reduce clutter

During pollen season, or if you have allergy-sensitive guests visiting, it is a good idea to clear away as much clutter as you can. Whether extra cushions, boxes of clothes or various other knick-knacks, it is always good to keep spaces as clear as possible, making it difficult for allergens to attach themselves to anything.

Related: how to declutter your home

Keep your bathroom mould-free

To prevent allergies from triggering, keep the bathroom free from mould: scrub the tiles regularly and make sure to regularly clean the shower curtain (some can be washed in the washing machine). It is also a good idea to towel-dry the the tub and wet areas once you’ve use it, as that prevents mould from building up and keeps the air from being too humid.

Dust properly

Dusting is a great way to get rid of allergens, however, you need to do it properly. It is advisable to always use a damp cloth, so that allergens can stick to it, instead of just lifting into the air and falling back down.

Look after your bedroom

As we spend so much time in our bedroom, it is important to minimise the amount of allergens in that particular area of the house. During the height of hay fever season, make sure to wash your sheets at least once a week in hot water, letting them dry indoors. If you have children staying in your home, it is advisable to wash their soft toys regularly, as those will collect allergens also.

Leave the pollen outside

During hay fever season, it is important that you minimise the amount of pollen you carry into your home, especially if you have grandchildren who will be playing outside. Place a doormat outside the front door and ask everyone to take their shoes off as they come inside. It is also a good idea to change as soon as you are back home, as pollen tends to settle on clothes.

Know when to open windows

It is difficult to predict when the particular type of pollen that you, or someone in your home is allergic to, but as a general rule, plants pollinate between 5am and 9am. If you can, rely on air conditioning during hay fever months. ff that isn’t an option, keep the windows closed at those times and open them around sunset, when the levels of pollen are at their lowest.

Pet care

Allergens like dust and pollen tend to settle in animal fur, which means that as soon as they come in after being outside, these will spread around the house. Before letting pets in, give their fur a brush and make sure to vacuum your home a couple of times a week. If none of the above help, just make sure to keep pets from coming into your bedroom.

Related: hayfever survival guide

Yvonne Manomano, Cleaning Operations Manager at DIY and cleaning services company Handy (

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.