Throughout my years selling real estate, I’ve worked with many clients who suffer from allergies – mild to severe – and because of this they have to be selective about the type of property in which they choose to make a home. The problem has been so prevalent that my colleague Terrence Harding and I began compiling research on how to best serve our allergy and asthma affected clients, which lead to our founding Allergy and Asthma Friendly Real Estate, a new company dedicated to creating healthier indoor environments.
While steps taken to thoroughly allergy-proof a building are extensive, there are a few simple steps we suggest to all our clients for maintaining good air quality in the home:
1. Control Temperature and Humidity – According to the Mayo Clinic, maintaining a temperature of 70 F (21 C) and relative humidity no higher than 50 percent is optimum for fighting against dust mites and mold. Small-particle filters in central heating and cooling systems and in room conditioners should be replaced once a month.
2. Develop an Allergy Friendly Cleaning Routine -- Mop wood or linoleum floors and vacuum carpets at least once a week -- use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter – and clean the tops of doors, windowsills, window frames and other dust-attracting surfaces with a damp cloth. Use green cleaning products – there are even some made specifically for allergy sufferers like Anti-Allergen Solution by The Ecology Works -- and remember to wear a dust mask while cleaning.
3. Wash With Hot Water – Studies show clothes need to be washed at 140 F (60 C) or hotter to kill dust mites.
4. Keep Windows Closed Overnight – Open windows allow outdoor allergens to enter your home, especially during peak allergy seasons of spring and fall. If you must open the windows, do so during the afternoon; the highest outdoor pollen counts usually occur between 4am and 10am.
5. Watch Your Shoes – Outdoor irritants can hitch a ride inside on our shoes. If at all possible, have quests remove their shoes when they come into the home. Alternatively, you can lay down two doormats at each entryway – one outside and one inside – to help keep allergens from spreading.
For more information on allergy and asthma friendly homes, please visit www.aafre.com.