Room Redos for Kids with Allergies
Here are some tips to keep kids’ rooms as allergen-free as possible, and hold the sneezing, wheezing and misery to a minimum.
- Pets: Ideally, don’t have any. The next-best thing is to keep the pet out of your child’s room. Also, bathe your pet a few times a month.
- Flooring: Get rid of carpet if you can. If not, opt for low-pile and clean well and often. For warmth underfoot on smooth surfaces, buy machine-washable throw rugs and wash them weekly.
- Window coverings: If you have blinds, vertical ones are best since the dust slides down. Natural fiber Roman shades are a good choice as they can be machine-washed or vacuumed. Curtains can be OK as long as you regularly throw them in the washer. (In hot water 130° or above). Shutters and window shades can be wiped down weekly.
- Bedding: Avoid down products, and use zippered dust mite-proof covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs. Don’t store anything under the bed. Wash linens weekly in hot water. Don’t dry them outside. If you’re in a pinch, at least wash the pillowcase.
- Air: The ideal temperature is between 68° and 72° and humidity needs to be at 50% or lower. If you use a dehumidifier, maintain it properly. Clean or replace air filters on HVAC or air-conditioners monthly. For the child’s room, consider an air cleaner with HEPA filter. When it’s warm out, don’t open windows; run the AC. Ceiling fans are dust magnets, so avoid using in your kid’s room, or grab a stepladder and wipe it clean every few weeks.
- Furnishings and toys: Adopt a sleek, minimalist décor and declutter the room often. Avoid upholstered furniture and instead opt for plastic or wood that’s easily wiped clean. For coziness, use washable pillows, cushions or throws. Store toys in plastic bins with lids. Stuffed toys are not a good idea, but if your child wants one, make sure it’s machine washable and kept off the bed if possible. A good trick is to put them in a plastic bag and keep in the freezer for one or two days, then toss in a hot dryer. That’ll kill and clean off the dust mites.
- Cleaning: Try to clean when your child will be out of the house for a few hours, and avoid cleaning within a couple hours of bedtime. If your child is nearby, have them wear a dust mask.
- Maintaining: After playing outside, have your child shower and throw their dirty clothing in the laundry room not in a bedroom hamper. Keep off shoes in the bedroom, to avoid tracking pollen everywhere. Especially avoid sitting on the bed while wearing outdoor clothing.