Pet dander is one of the leading causes of household allergies. To stave off red eyes and sneezes, take these steps to reduce dander accumulation in your home.
We love our pets, but it can be difficult to reconcile their faithful companionship with the allergic reactions they can cause. It’s not the cats and dogs themselves who give us so much trouble, but rather their dander—the dead skin and other particles they shed. Hypersensitive immune systems mistake this unremarkable substance for a threat, which often sends sufferers into sneezing fits, and it can cause itchy eyes and other cold-like symptoms as the body overreacts. If you can’t find a hypoallergenic pet or can’t part with the pet you have, here’s how to reduce pet dander in your house.
Clean Carpets Regularly
Your carpet fibers are quite effective at trapping pet dander. Unfortunately for you, they don’t dispose of it after they catch it—that’s your job. Regular vacuuming and the occasional steam clean will help to prevent dander and other allergens from accumulating in your carpeting. If you have it in your budget, switching from wall-to-wall carpeting to hardwood flooring with well-placed area rugs will make a big difference in dander retention.
As your cat or dog goes about its life constantly shedding, you won’t be able to fully eliminate pet dander. But you can give that dander fewer places to collect and settle. Try to reduce your clutter, as this reduces dust and dander buildup throughout the home. While shelves of knickknacks may have sentimental appeal, the extra space they create could be aggravating your allergies.
HEPA Air Filter
If your pets spend most of their time in one part of the house, a HEPA-filtered air purifier can go a long way in reducing dander. These purifiers send air through a fine mesh that traps particles such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander while forcing cleaner air through, leading to fewer ambient allergens in proximity to the purifier. Think of your purifier as a space heater for air filtration—they’re highly effective at close range, but not effective throughout the home. For that, you may need to think about a centralized solution.
Improved HVAC Filtration
Furnace filters come in all shapes, sizes, and performance levels, and if your filter isn’t up to the task, you may need an upgrade. One of the best ways to reduce pet dander in your house is to get a more effective filter. All HVAC filters come with a MERV rating, which tells you roughly how effective the filter is at capturing particles. The higher its rating, the more effective a filter is at capturing airborne particles, with the highest-performance filters able to catch bacteria and smoke.