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

Dust and Dander

It's a common misconception that pet hair causes allergies. In fact, it's the proteins in pet dander -- sloughed off dead skin -- that can cause reactions in people. Dander can collect in dust and on many surfaces of the home, like carpeting and sofas, so thorough dusting and vacuuming is recommended on a regular basis. And, if possible, remove carpeting from your home and keep pets out of sleeping areas. If you decide to keep your carpeting, shampoo it frequently. However, you'll want to use a quick-drying machine to keep mold from building up in your carpet. An air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is another option for keeping dander at bay.

Many of the strategies used for reducing pet dander, such as dusting, vacuuming, using air filters and removing carpeting, can also be used for dust removal. When dusting, use a microfiber or damp cloth; when vacuuming, use a machine with a HEPA filter. In addition, you might consider having your mattresses and pillows encased in allergen-proof covers. Your allergist may be able to recommend products for these purposes. Other dust-removal steps include eliminating clutter, buying washable curtains or blinds, and washing all of the bedding in your home in hot (130 degrees Fahrenheit/ 54 degrees Celsius) every one to two weeks.

If you'd like to learn more about ridding your home of allergens, keep reading for lots more information.

Related Articles


  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Tips to Remember: Indoor Allergens." 2010. (June 24, 2011)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "Allergies: Things You Can Do to Control Your Symptoms." September 2010. (June 24, 2011)
  • CBS News. "Spring Cleaning Allergens out of Your Home." March 20, 2010. (June 24, 2011)
  • Good Housekeeping. "5 Cleaning Tips for Allergy Relief." (June 24, 2011)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Allergy-proof your house." March 9, 2011. (June 24, 2011)
  • Turner, Bambi. "5 Ways to Create an Allergen-free Bedroom." HowStuffWorks. (June 24, 2011)