Spring is in the air and so are many people's allergies.
7 On Your Side partnered up with Consumer Reports on the best ways to allergy proof your home.
The pollen count outside may not be the only thing that has you reaching for an antihistamine. Allergens can lurk indoors, too. Consumer Reports has some tips on how to make your house a safe haven for allergy sufferers.
Reducing allergens in your home is nothing to sneeze at. A good place to start is bedding. Washing sheets weekly in hot water and running them through a hot dryer can ease allergy symptoms.
"Hot water reduces pet dander. Dust mites will either drown or die in the hot-air cycle," said Sarah Goralski of Consumer Reports.
Next, cover box springs, mattresses, and pillow cases with a tightly woven fabric that's dust-mite proof.
"It's also a good idea to control the moisture in your home. Humidity at 30 to 50 percent helps reduce mites and mold," Goralski said.
The right-size air conditioner helps cut humidity. Dehumidifiers also work, but they generate heat, so, save them for your basement.
Air purifiers can also be useful for removing dust and pollen. Consumer Reports tested their effectiveness in a sealed chamber.
Top-rated portable air cleaners include a Honeywell for $250.
"If you have a heating or cooling system that is forced-air, you may want to opt for a thicker filter, which we found more effective. But it may require professional installation to accept them," said Dave Trezza of Consumer Reports.
A good choice is the $29-dollar Filtrete Healthy Living Filter, available online.
And don't forget, your vacuum can kick up dust and aggravate allergies.
Consumer Reports finds these vacuums are good for emissions: the Hoover Wind Tunnel Max for $180 and the Kenmore for $350.
Allergy and asthma suffers might want to stay away from bagless vacuums, which can stir up dust.
Consumer Reports says there are other simple remedies. Dust can harbor allergens, so keep your house clean. Also, ban smoking and make sure your home is well-ventilated with exhaust hoods or fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports offers tips to allergy-proof homes
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