When winter comes, you'll likely spend more time inside. If there are allergens such as pet dander and pollen lingering throughout your abode, this increased indoor time will make your reactions to these allergens more pronounced. Fall is the perfect time to allergy-proof your home, so the coming months are filled with family time and great meals instead of sneezing and wheezing.
Have your heating ducts cleaned.
Preferably, you should have your ducts cleaned before you turn on the heat for the winter. This way, all of the pet dander and dust that has accumulated in them will not be blown out into your home. A cooling and heating services company in your area should be able to tackle this task in a few hours. While they're on site, they can also look over your ductwork for leaks that may contribute to dust accumulation and mold formation.
Replace your furnace filters.
Furnace filters do a great job of trapping pet dander, dust and mold spores -- when they're new. Once they get clogged with debris, they can start letting these particles slip through. If you use disposable air filters, they should be replaced every month. Re-usable filters should be cleaned monthly. Replace or clean yours now before you start the furnace for the winter, and buy some extra filters so you remember to replace it regularly. You may even want to set a reminder on your phone once per month so you don't overlook replacing or cleaning the filter.
Vacuum the back of your refrigerator.
If you've never looked at the back of the fridge before, you'll likely be surprised by the amount of dust back there. The cooling coils on your refrigerator attract dust rather quickly. Unplug your refrigerator, and then use your vacuum cleaner to clear away the dust. Plug it back in, and in the future, remember to check in this secret hiding place for allergy-causing dust bunnies.
Dust all of your furniture and surfaces.
Wait until after your ducts have been cleaned to dust, so you can clear away any dust that becomes unsettled during the duct cleaning process. Start at the top of your furniture, and then work your way down. Remember to dust off all of the items on your shelves, and not just the shelves themselves. Use a cloth moistened with all-purpose cleaner rather than a dry feather duster, since the moist cloth will hold onto the dust rather than just dispersing it into the air.
Give your carpet a deep-cleaning.
Dusting will cause some dust to rain down onto your carpet, so you should vacuum after you dust. Make the last vacuuming session before winter a very thorough one. Pull out all of the furniture from the wall, and vacuum the dust out from behind it. If you have pets, sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet and letting it sit for an hour before vacuuming it will help loosen the dander and hair.
Launder your curtains.
When was the last time your curtains went through the wash? Though commonly forgotten in the cleaning process, they can accumulate dust. Give them a good wash and dry according to the instructions on the tag. Most curtains can be washed on the delicate cycle with a small splash of mild laundry detergent, and then air dried. Tackle this task on a warm fall day, so you can hang the curtains out to dry in the fresh air.
Many people find that their allergy symptoms subside in the winter once the pollen has died down -- as long as their homes are kept clean. By following the above tips, you'll start the chilly months off with a clean home. Keep up with regular dusting and vacuuming, and remember to change your furnace filters, and you should be in good shape until spring.