How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

How to Allergy-Proof Your Basement

All sorts of allergens can lurk in the depths of a basement. Often neglected, this area can be ripe with mold spores, cockroaches, pet dander, and dust mites.

If you don't pay attention to the basement, you'll defeat the purpose of cleaning upstairs. Allergens easily migrate upwards via the stairway's air currents and heating ducts, not to mention your feet.

General Basement Tips

The following are some basement pointers:

  • People with mold allergies should never have their bedroom in the basement.
  • You aren't a troglodyte (cave-dweller), so don't keep the basement like a cave. Dampness in the depths causes an increase of humidity throughout the house, and it creates prime conditions for mold spores, dust mites, and cockroaches. It is extremely important to control basement humidity by using a dehumidifier, air conditioner, or electric heater. It's best to keep the humidity between 30 to 50 percent. And be sure to regularly clean the humidifier that's on the furnace and to change furnace filters.
  • Vinyl or tile is the best flooring for the basement. Seepage or flooding causes mold to grow in carpets, and the temperature difference between the basement's concrete floor and carpeting can cause moisture buildup, resulting in you-know-what.
  • Cover up exposed dirt in the crawl space, preferably via a permanent method. Otherwise, cover it with a mold-resistant plastic barrier, but only on a temporary basis, and use a mold retardant.
  • Is the basement a warehouse for dust-collecting stuff? Seriously consider how much of that stuff you need. Donate some to charity and write it off as a health benefit for your poor suffering nose. If you do store stuff, keep it off the floor in easy-to-dust plastic or metal containers.
  • Resist the urge to put grandma's old couch in the basement or to decorate the wall with the macrame you removed from the bedroom. Introducing castoffs that are full of dust mites and mold defeats all your cleaning efforts. If you must keep old furniture for posterity's sake, consider having it restuffed and reupholstered.
  • Put mold retardant in the sump pump.

Laundry Room Tips

The laundry room doesn't require much upkeep, but here's some hints to keep your laundry area allergen-free:

  • Keep dust bunnies and lint balls from playing freely in the laundry room by occasionally using a damp cloth to wipe around the appliances.
  • Keep the room well-ventilated, especially if you use bleach.
  • If you have sensitive skin, use fragrance- and dye-free detergents or run your clothes through an extra rinse cycle.
  • Once in a while, wipe in and around the washing machine lid, a favorite hideout for mold and scum.
  • Avoid hanging wet clothes in an enclosed laundry room.
  • Leave the washing machine lid open after use, unless you have a snoopy pet that might fall in.
  • Dust underneath the washing machine and dryer.
  • Don't allow the drier to vent into the house.

Air conditioners and furnaces are not often cited when it comes to allergen producers in your home. But both can have a tremendous effect. Learn more about allergy-proofing both in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.