Stop sniffling and take action. According to Allergy UK, about one in three people in the UK are affected by allergies and most of it is unnecessary.
Dust, house mites and household chemicals are the key culprits in the home, and can cause unpleasant reactions, from respiratory disorders such as asthma to skin conditions. Here’s your guide to the worst offenders – and how to make simple, stylish décor swaps to perk you and your home right up.
For more information about allergies, and a list of approved allergy-prevention products, visit Allergy UK.
1. Sort your flooring:
Swap your carpet, a breeding ground for dust and house mites, for marmoleum flooring (£43.90 per square metre). It’s a natural product – made from jute, rosin, limestone, wood flour and linseed oil, is hardy and durable (it comes with a 15 year warranty!), and known for its natural bactericidal properties. Plus the British Allergy Foundation awarded Marmoleum their Seal of Approval.
2. Pinboard wizard:
A notice board is a great way to highlight important events and must-dos, and it gets stuff off your desk surface to give you room to actually work. Lavender and Sage’s Window Notice Board (£45) is charming and functional, or try the Harry Organiser for a more quirky style (£25 from Not on the High Street).
3. Set your windows free:
Who knew that house mites are happy as Larry living in your thick, heavy curtains? Allergy UK suggest swapping yours for roller blinds – ideal for lighter window dressing for summer anyway, and not the residence of choice for your average dust mite. Try this John Lewis Linen Roller Blind (£45).Blinds are easier to dust too.
4. Carpet rug in the bathroom?
You’re asking for trouble. When damp, it will attract mould and encourage dust mite growth. Instead, swap it for a washable cotton rug – we love this M&S pure cotton bath mat (£15). It’s easy to wash so it’s ideal for the bathroom.
5. Rethink your bed:
Allergy experts say that divan beds aren’t the best choice for allergy sufferers as the air beneath can’t circulate and dust can settle under the base. Instead, swap yours for a slatted bed or one with a metal base, such as this Pluto metal bed frame (£478) from Sleeping Solutions, with a fully sprung slatted base. It’s also helpful, say experts, to choose a bed with enough room underneath to give it a regular vacuuming. No excuses now.
6. Fortify your mattress against an invasion:
Here’s a thought before bedtime – each night, you may be sharing your bed with over 1.5 million house dust mites (a key trigger for asthma) – not to mention all of their droppings. Nice. Throw your unwanted sleeping partners out of bed with anAnti Allergy Pillow Protector from Heal’s.
7. Keep the bed fires burning:
Newsflash – those dust mites that cause the sneezing, coughing and rashes are happiest in warm, damp environments. So keeping your bed dry and well-aired is key to reducing any likelihood of a mass visit. Try leaving your bed unmade during the day to remove moisture from the sheets – and so dehydrate, then kill, the squatters. For winter, the experts at Allergy UK recommend an electric blanket with an anti-allergy material, like the Morphy Richards Anti Allergy Heated Mattress Cover (£39.99 for a single) from Amazon.
8. Sensitive homes need a bit of leather
Unlike fabric, leather isn’t a natural stamping ground of dust mites, so it’s worth considering swapping your usual suite for a leather one, such as this Sardinia 3 seater leather sofa, (£450) from Stylish Homes UK. Alternatively, make sure you vacuum your fabric sofa every couple of weeks, and wash the covers regularly (at 60 degrees). Or invest in a washable throw like the Milano (£24) from Wallace Sacks.
9. Leave the balls alone:
Moths may be the bane of a householder’s life, but chemical-imbued mothballs and mothproofer products aren’t always good news for sensitive folk, as they can cause respiratory problems or skin reactions. Instead, opt for natural solutions such as dried lavender, dried rosemary or cedar chips. Or try the Natural Cedar Moth Repellants (£9.95) from Scotts of Stow.
10. Be selective about vacuum cleaners:
They’re not all created equal, and allergy sufferers need to seek out those with a high ‘hepa’ filtration, which means they won’t allow any of the allergen to seep out from the exhaust. Always look for the British Allergy Foundation’s Seal of Approval on the product. Brands to check out include Morphy Richards, Dyson and Sebo. The Dyson DC14 Animal upright vacuum cleaner (£239 from John Lewis) is powerful enough to remove teeny allergens including charming dust mite faeces that you might otherwise miss…
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