There’s a common belief that pet allergies are caused by hair, but most allergies are actually triggered by pet dander. Dander, which is composed mainly of dead skin cells, contains proteins that can cause an allergic reaction.
If you suffer from a pet allergy, then it’s important to reduce the amount of dander in your home. Here are seven ways to reduce dander and relieve allergy symptoms.
1. Vacuum Regularly with a HEPA Filtered Vacuum Cleaner
Once skin is shed from your pet, it often gets stuck on carpets, hard floors, and furniture. Dander is then stirred up into the air when these surfaces are disturbed, which is why allergies can be triggered even when your pet isn’t nearby.
Regular vacuuming is one of the most important ways to reduce pet dander. Ideally, people with allergies should vacuum daily with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are much more effective at catching allergens before they can be released back into the air.
Daily vacuuming is time-consuming, but it becomes much easier if you have a robot vacuum with a pet brush to do most of the work!
If you have a Neato robot vacuum, you may also consider buying the Neato True HEPA filter accessory. It fits most Neato robot vacuums and reduces the amount of dander that escapes back into the room.
2. Brush Your Pet Outdoors
Regular grooming is important for many furry pets, but brushing can release lots of dander into the air.
If possible, the best way to prevent this is to brush your pet outside while wearing old clothing. Put your clothes into the washing machine when you come inside to avoid spreading dander around your home.
Note: If you suffer from allergies, you may want to ask someone else in the household to brush your pet.
3. Use a HEPA Air Filter
Vacuuming takes care of particles on floors and upholstery, but it doesn’t remove allergens in the air. For this, you’ll need also need a HEPA air filter for your home’s HVAC system.
Air filters remove dander (and other allergens) that are floating around your home. As a bonus, filters can also reduce or eliminate unpleasant pet smells.
5. Restrict Your Pet’s Access to Certain Rooms
It’s important to have a least one room in your home where pet dander is kept to a minimum, and the only way to do this is to have a strict “no pets” policy for that space.
You can choose any room, but it makes sense to keep your pets out of the bedroom. Doing so can greatly reduce allergic reactions during the night, while also providing a hygienic place to relax.
6. Replace Carpets with Hard Floors
Carpet fibers trap pet dander much more effectively than hard floors. For this reason, some people find their allergies improve after replacing carpets with hard floors (such as laminate, hardwood, or vinyl). These floors are also much easier to clean – as long as you care for them correctly.
Similarly, dander is hard to remove from sofa throws, curtains, and other fabrics. Replace or remove these items to reduce the amount of dander trapped around your home.
7. Wash Pet Bedding Frequently
If you have a dog or a cat, then their bedding is one of the biggest reservoirs of pet dander in the house. Wash all bedding on a regular basis at a high temperature to remove as many allergens as possible.