As winter approaches, it’s common for pets to spend more time indoors, which can be a problem if you suffer from pet allergies. Contrary to popular belief, pet allergies are not caused by pet hair, but by a proteins contained in their skin and saliva. These proteins get mixed into their fur, but also into carpets, clothes, and furniture around your home. If you love your pets, but can’t stand the way they irritate your nose, throat, and eyes, here are five techniques proven to reduce pet dander.
- Keep Pets Off Your Furniture. Pet dander is sticky and has an incredibly long lifespan. Keeping your pets off couches, chairs, and beds prevents the dander from adhering to the fabric and aggravating you whenever you sit down.
- Clean Your Home. Vacuum your carpets and furniture once a week to remove as much dander buildup as possible. Pay particular attention to the nooks and crannies in your sofa and around the edges of the room. Windowsills, baseboards, drapes, and even lampshades can become havens for pet dander. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap as much dander as possible. HEPA filters remove 99.97 percent of all of the particles that pass through them. For serious cases, consider steam cleaning your carpets and drapes once or twice a month. They provide a deep clean that ordinary vacuums aren’t capable of.
- Wash Your Bedding. Cleaning your bedspread and pillow cases reduces long term contact with pet dander. Cover your bed with allergen-proof blankets and pillow covers as well. They are specially designed fabrics that trap particulate matter and keep you from inhaling it.
- Wash Your Pet. Regularly bathing your pet cuts dander off at its source, but you need to do it once a week in order to be effective. Make sure you wash their face and ears, not just their body and tail. Between bathes, use hypo-allergenic pet wipes to reduce the amount of dander on your pet’s fur. If your dog or cat is amenable, you can even use your vacuum nozzle to vacuum their fur directly.
- Install an Air Filter. Air filters are designed to remove pollutants and impurities from the air you breathe, including pet dander. Installing one in your living room, bedroom, and other common areas will drastically reduce the amount of dander in the air. If you can’t afford a filter, covering your air vents with cheese cloth will also help reduce the amount of dander being circulated by your central air system, which is capable of carrying dander from one part of your house to another.
Got any other tips for dealing with pet dander? Leave a comment and let us know!