Do your pets make you sneeze and wheeze? Millions of pet owners are allergic to their own animals, but it’s impossible to give up a beloved family member. Most pet allergies are triggered by the proteins in a pet’s saliva or dander (shed skin cells) so if you can control the dander, you should get relief from your symptoms. Here are some of the best ways to reduce pet dander in your home.
Maintain Your HVAC System
Image via Flickr by No_Water
Your heating and cooling system is your first line of defense in removing dander from the air. Use high-quality filters and replace them regularly. Have your system serviced by pros every year to keep it running at peak efficiency, and consider getting your ducts cleaned every couple of years to remove built-up dust and dander.
Use a HEPA Filter
A HEPA filter removes even more microscopic particles, including dander, from the air. The devices come in a wide range of sizes and prices. You can use a portable HEPA filter in the room where you spend the most time or have a whole-house system installed. A HEPA filter will only remove airborne dander, though. You’ll still need to keep dander off the floor and other surfaces with another method.
Keep Surfaces Clean
You’ll need to vacuum your floors and upholstery and wipe your furniture a couple of times a week to keep dander down. A feather duster could push dander into the air, so use a damp cloth for dusting instead, and rinse it often. Carpets and upholstery will need to be shampooed or steam cleaned regularly, too.
Remove Your Carpets
If you’re committed to long-term pet ownership, you might consider removing your carpeting altogether. Hard flooring like wood, tile, or laminate is easier to keep clean. Top the new floors with washable rugs for comfort and convenience, and keep them clean with a damp mop.
Train Your Pets
If your pets are allowed on the furniture, you will always be sitting in a cloud of dander. Teach your pets to stay on the floor, or allow them only on particular pieces of furniture with washable coverings. Also teach your pet to sleep in its own bed or crate, preferably in a different room from the one you sleep in. Look for washable pet beds in smooth materials that won’t harbor as much dander.
Groom Your Pets
Brushing and bathing your pets helps to eliminate dander at its source before it ever gets on your furniture or in your air. Dander can cling to your pets’ hair, so keeping their coats trimmed short means less room for dander to hide. Even wiping your dog or cat down with a damp cloth can remove a lot of allergens, so you might want to make a quick wipe-down part of your cuddling ritual.
Many people manage to live happily with their pets, even if they have allergies. Controlling dander is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from symptoms while enjoying your four-legged friends.