Pollen, dust, mold, and other allergens can feel unavoidable to allergy sufferers, but you are not powerless in the fight against runny noses and watery eyes! While no home can be completely allergen-free, thorough cleaning on a regular basis can help reduce the number of allergens to which you’re exposed. Try these tips for minimizing indoor allergens, and breathe easier from now on.

Dust smart

Dust and mold particles, along with pollen, are common allergy culprits. When dusting, clean from top to bottom to avoid spreading dust on areas you just cleaned. Also, don’t just brush the dust away with a feather duster or cloth. Damp microfiber cloths will trap the dust instead of just moving it around. Make sure you remember to clean ceiling fans, blinds, and curtains.

Vacuum to reduce allergens

Vacuum in areas that accumulate more dust, such as carpeting and furniture. This can help control allergens in your home. But as with dusting, vacuuming can also send dust particles into the air and cause problems for anyone with a dust mite allergy. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which can trap small particles and prevent them from spreading into the air. Try to vacuum at least once or twice a week.

Change air filters

First, make sure the filters you already have are in good shape and clean, like those in your air conditioning units or your central heating and air conditioning system. Check that they’re the right ones for the job. You can also add filters to your home if you don’t have them, either as stand-alone room units or in your central heating and air system.

Wash and cover pillows

Washable pillowcase dust covers are a must. Wash those and your usual pillowcases every week. Depending on the kind of pillow you have, it can be washed or dry cleaned every 3 to 4 months.

Keep your bed and mattress clean

A dust cover is a must-have accessory for your mattress too, which is also prone to becoming a haven for dust mites over time. Be sure to clean your headboard and bed frame, especially if either is covered in fabric.

Limit how much pollen you let inside

Keep the windows closed if you have air conditioning to avoid pollen being blown inside. Take off your shoes outside, or have a mat at the door where you can wipe your feet. Keeping inside temperatures cool also helps prevent humidity. Humidity creates the perfect environment for mold and dust mites.

Ditch the drapes

Blinds or shades trap fewer allergens than fabric window treatments, but if you insist on curtains, opt for the machine-washable kind, which are easier to keep dust-free. Remove dust by vacuuming once a week with a brush attachment, and wash them frequently during months when you keep the windows open.