8 Hidden Allergens in Your Daily Routine

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Diana Rodriguez on July 20, 2021
  • Portrait of woman sitting with laptop and blowing nose
    If you're allergic to outdoor allergens, you probably know what to do to ease your symptoms. But what about allergens that are inside your home? Even in your bed? A number of allergens can hide indoors, making you sneeze, cough and feel miserable. Keeping your home clean is one of the first steps to getting rid of allergens that might be lurking in your home. Here's what you need to know about common culprits, plus tips on what to do.
  • dust mite
    1. Dust Mites
    Tiny dust mites are often to blame for allergy symptoms. They're hiding everywhere in your home. Dust builds up on hard surfaces, like table tops, bookshelves, and hardwood floors. Dust mites especially love warm areas and high humidity. That makes soft surfaces where you sit and sleep good hiding spots. They include bedding, carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Curtains hide dust mites, too. To battle a dust mite allergy, vacuum your home often. Wash rugs and curtains often. Dust regularly. Run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.
  • Dog in bed with owners
    2. Pets
    Pet allergens are more than just dander and fur. People who are allergic to pets are also allergic to saliva and urine. You might have to get rid of your pets if your allergies are severe. If you can manage, take steps to reduce pet allergens in your home. Bathe your pet each week. Also wash your pet's bedding and toys each week. Ask someone else to clean up pet waste. Wash your hands after petting an animal. Keep the animal out of your bedroom.
  • young woman sleeping soundly in bed
    3. Your Bed
    You spend lots of time in your bed. Unfortunately, it's a prime spot for household allergens. Dust mites and pet allergens settle in your mattress, sheets and pillows. Limit allergens by covering your mattress and pillows in an allergen-proof protective cover. Use a protective cover on your comforter if it isn't washable. Or, protect it with a zipped cover that doesn't allow in any air. Wash all your bedding each week. Wash bedding in hot water that is at least 130 degrees. Dry bedding on the hot setting. Don't allow pets in your bed. Also, keep stuffed animals out of an allergic child's bed.
  • woman in bathrobe filling up bathtub
    4. Mold
    Your bathroom, basement and kitchen are just the right spots for mold to grow. Any area that's damp and any area where water leaks can have mold. Mold spores are common indoor allergens. Fix any water leaks or problems in your home right away to prevent mold growth. Run a dehumidifier in your basement and any humid area. Clean it often. Don't put carpeting in areas that get moist or humid. Make sure there's good air flow in rooms that get a lot of moisture. This includes bathrooms and kitchens. Any time you spot mold, clean it with bleach and water solution.
  • Roach
    5. Cockroaches
    Cockroaches can creep into any home. Cockroach droppings and pieces of skin they shed can trigger allergies. Cockroaches are more likely in a cluttered home with a food source. Food left out on countertops or in pantries can attract cockroaches. Clean up spilled food or crumbs right away to avoid attracting cockroaches and other insects. Don't allow dirty dishes to sit in the sink. Store any opened foods in sealed containers. Pick up piles of laundry, newspapers, and other clutter. Seal all cracks and openings into your home.
  • Breathing smoke out
    6. Smoke
    Tobacco smoke is an irritant. It can worsen allergy symptoms and asthma. It can cause coughing and wheezing. Don't smoke inside your home or car. Don't allow other people to smoke inside your home or car. The smoke builds up in your furniture, carpets and curtains. This will irritate your airways and make other allergies worse. It's especially harmful for children to be around secondhand smoke. Research shows these children are more likely to get sick. Also, don't use a wood-burning stove or fireplace in your home if you have allergies. This smoke also aggravates airways.
  • Woman Drinking Coffee Looking Out Window
    7. Bringing the Outside In
    Pollen can enter your home and make you miserable even indoors. You bring pollen inside on your clothing and hair. Pets carry pollen inside on their fur. If you leave your windows open, pollen blows into your home. And, letting laundry air-dry outside brings outdoor allergens in. Take steps to keep pollen out of your home. Keep windows closed and run your air conditioner. Change clothes after you've been outside, and take a shower right away. Don't dry laundry outdoors. Bathe pets regularly to wash away pollen.
  • couple-house-cleaning-with-vacuum
    8. Air in Your Home
    Getting rid of the sources of allergens is the best thing you can do to make sure the air in your home is clean. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA air filter to catch tiny particles of allergens. Use a HEPA air filter on your air conditioner and furnace too. You might want to try using an air purifier with a HEPA filter. Don't run your car in the garage if the garage is attached to your home. Don't store chemicals, such as pesticides, inside your home. These things can irritate your airways and worsen allergy symptoms.
Beware These Hidden Household Allergens | Dust Mites, Pets & Mold

About The Author

  1. Control indoor allergens to improve air quality. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/control-indoor-allergens.aspx
  2. Indoor allergens. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/indoor-allergens
  3. Allergy-proof your home. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy/art-20049365?pg=1
  4. Home allergy management. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/resources/tools/home-allergy-management
  5. Pet allergy: Are you allergic to cats or dogs? Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/pet-dog-cat-allergies.aspx
  6. Cockroach allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/cockroach-allergy
  7. Tobacco smoke and asthma. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/secondhand-smoke-environmental-tobacco-asthma.aspx
  8. Seasonal allergies. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 20
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