Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How can you clean your house to prevent winter allergies?

Spring brings with it outdoor seasonal allergies, when airborne pollen can make life miserable for those who suffer from hay fever. Staying indoors when the pollen count is high is one way to avoid contact with allergens in spring, but in the winter there is no place to escape potential indoor allergens. Winter keeps you indoors, and people with allergies to dust mites and pet dander need to keep their house clean of the offending allergens so they can breathe without developing allergy symptoms. The combination of moisture and oxygen can cause mold to develop anywhere, and allergies to mold are more common in winter. To stay allergy-free, top to bottom allergen cleaning is essential at home.

Clean your house regularly to lower allergen levels. Carpets and curtains are great dust traps, so try to avoid them if you know that you are allergic. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to get rid of dust, and wear a mask while dusting. Keep windows open while cleaning so that the allergens can escape. One way to prevent mold and dust mites from accumulating is to keep the humidity level below 35 percent. Allergies to household pets are a common year-round problem, so close contact with cats or dogs while indoors may present a problem, as well as breathing in their dander. Keep pets out of the bedroom, and wash bed linens and nightclothes frequently with hot water. Keep surfaces dry and clean visible mold with a solution of bleach and detergent, and make sure you wear latex-free gloves to protect your hands from contact. Allergies may trigger asthma attacks, so stay clear of potential irritants in the house, such as household cleaners, gas fumes and smoke.