Updated: Dec 15, 2018
Originally posted on the NADCA Blog on 11/01/2017
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has some advice for the millions of Americans for whom “allergy season” never ends: Reducing the dust in your home can make a big difference. Most indoor environments, it says, actually trap airborne allergens, where they can pose a risk to respiratory health. If you suspect indoor allergies are causing your symptoms, see your doctor. You can limit your exposure.
Tiny Particles, Big Problem
House dust is present in even the cleanest homes, and the majority of indoor dust actually comes from tracked-in soil and outdoor air particles, which means it can contain trace amounts of arsenic, lead, and other poisonous substances—so you might want to nix the five-second rule for food you’ve dropped on any floor that hasn’t recently been cleaned. Other substances found in dust include dead skin cells, carpet fibers, pet dander and, if you’ve ever in your life made a craft project, trace amounts of glitter. Dust mites and their waste products are also mingled with the dust, and those waste products can be the cause of allergic reactions. All that dust is stirred up whenever you vacuum, walk on a carpet or make the bed. In addition, forced-air heating systems, which distribute heat throughout your home via ductwork and vents, tend to blow dust into the air.
Fortunately, reducing the amount of allergens in the air can be a relatively simple endeavor. If you frequently wash your bedding, clean all the surfaces in your home weekly and schedule periodic air duct cleanings, you can go a long way toward reducing potential allergens in the air. Clearing out any extra clutter and keeping items stored under beds and in closets in sealed containers can also help keep the dust in your home to a minimum. In the long-term, you might also consider replacing carpets, which can hide dust, with wood or tile floors.
To help reduce potential allergens in the air, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends that air-handler units be inspected at least annually and cleaned as needed. When hiring an HVAC inspection, maintenance and restoration contractor, be sure the company is a member of NADCA, which requires all members to adhere to a high standard of performance.