Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Allergen Hide and Seek: Learn How to Locate and Kill Household Allergens


The Top Offenders: Targeting Allergens Where They Hide

You're probably never going to get every single allergen out of your home. For one thing, their numbers are massive. A recent report by CBS News suggested that as many as 2 million dust mites reside in a single mattress. That's just one type of allergen on one surface in your home. Another problem you'll face is that, despite the allergens you get rid of, many more new ones are entering your home each day. But don't fret; you don't have to quit your day job and become a professional housekeeper just to put a dent in your home's allergen levels. There a number of simple changes (and a few big ones) you can incorporate into your lifestyle and cleaning routine to help reduce the number of sneezes in your home. Start by knowing what you're targeting.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the allergens most people react to are pollen, mold, pet dander and dust. While these particular offenders are pretty common, they're also fairly easy to control.

Pollen travels into your home through your windows and doors, on your clothing, in your hair and on your pets. Cut the numbers of this substance entering your house by keeping doors and windows closed and relying on air conditioning for temperature control. If you spend a lot of time outdoors -- especially in spring and fall -- it's a good idea to shower and wash your hair at night so that you don't carry pollen with you into bed. And if your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, keep him out of bedrooms, when possible. You'll also want to dry your clothes indoors rather than outside on a clothesline.


More to Explore