Try these tips to help control allergens in your home.

It’s tempting to hide indoors when spring allergies make your trips outside sneezy, miserable adventures. But you might want to reconsider just how safe you are from allergens inside the house.

Of course, it all depends on what triggers your allergies. If mold or fibers from new carpet send you reeling, you’re probably better off enjoying the great outdoors. But if seasonal pollen makes your eyes itch and water and your nose run or plug up a few times each year, try these tips for keeping your house extra clean and allergy-free.

  • Nobody wants to get rid of the family pet, not should they! You love Tabby and Buster all year long. But your furry friends bring pollen into the house every time they run through the pet door. That’s in addition to dander, which can be an allergy and asthma trigger. Pets even can bring mold into your home from outside. Control some of the pet-borne problems by keeping them off beds and other furniture and washing your pets’ beds once a month.
  • Keep your home well ventilated, but windows sealed during the height of seasonal pollen season. That means you might have to run your air conditioning unit at night instead of opening windows until pollen counts subside. A HEPA filter in the A/C system helps control some of the allergens. Be sure to replace it regularly.
  • When you come in for the day from mowing or working outside, remove all of your clothes (the windows are shut, right? How about the blinds…) and leave your clothes in the laundry room or mud room. Then head to the shower to wash off your body and hair before bedtime.
  • Use dampened microfiber cloths and dusters to pick up more dust (and bacteria) from every surface you can hit, and dust more often during allergy season. Pollen settles in carpets, and on blinds and upholstery. Wipe down air vents and any dust-collecting nooks and crannies.
  • Wash bed linens more often, at least weekly, and in water that’s hot enough to kill allergens. That means about 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Vacuum more often and consider purchasing a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. If your allergies are really severe, wear a dust mask when vacuuming or dusting.

If your allergies seem to be a year-round problem, or a family member has asthma, you might need to spend more time or money trying to find what triggers the symptoms. If the pollen comes from the juniper outside your window, it might be time for a landscape change. Mold spores and cockroaches are triggers for some people. You can take more drastic measures like replacing carpet, which is an allergen hotel, with hardwood, laminate or tile flooring. It might be time to replace a mattress or to replace a down comforter with a synthetic one.