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Creating an Allergy Retreat for Your Bedroom

A 10 step guideline to create a safe haven for people with allergies and asthma

September 20, 2008

Janet Millan - Co-founder, Project Allergy

For people who are allergic to dust mites or have asthma, an allergy-free bedroom is the perfect retreat to allow the body to rebuild itself without fighting allergens. Here are some ideas that can help your family sleep soundly and symptom free.

1) Remove carpeting. Carpeting traps dust and pollen as well as gasses-off chemicals into the air. Even the high quality wool carpets are a potential allergen. Avoid plastic flooring too since often this can be an allergen. Install pre-finished wood or bamboo flooring. High gloss lasts longer than semi-gloss especially for high-traffic (or little children’s) use. When removing the carpet, run a large room hepa filter just outside the room to capture all of the dust from the removal. Then place the filter inside the room and run it on high for a day or two before installing the flooring. Repeat the process when the wood floors are installed and allow the room dust to settle. Then sweep the walls and ceiling for dust and clean the floor with an organic cleaner, like the one we suggest you make yourself for wood floors on ProjectAllergy.com’s homemade cleaner page.

2) Remove old metal or plastic blinds and soak them in the bathtub with a dish cleaner or mild bleach, and dry with a soft cloth. Plastic blinds are preferable to wooden blinds as you can soak them. It is really preferable NOT to have blinds as they are dust traps.

3) Remove any curtains. If you must have them, they should be washed frequently in hot water and dried in a dryer to remove allergens.

4) Remove books, stuffed animals, toys, and toy boxes. Books should be kept in another room. Keep only 1 favorite stuffed animal and run it through the wash frequently. Also, you may want to buy 3 of the same animal if this is a ‘favorite” that way 1 will always be available. Toy boxes and toys should have their own place somewhere outside of the bedroom.

5) Rugs should be avoided, but if needed use one that can be washed weekly in hot water and dried in the dryer (not outside).

6) Cover not only the mattress, but the boxspring in a dust cover that zippers around the entire mattress. Cover each pillow too. If necessary, place a waterproof cover on top of the dust cover. Wash the sheets, waterproof cover, and comforter each week. We recommend All-Free and Clear with no perfumes or dyes.

7) Purchase a room HEPA filter, such as the models we reviewed on the product page and run the machine 24/7. Also, install a high quality whole house disposable hepa filter. We recommend Safe Home Filters, available at www.SafeHomeFilters.com. They have an excellent product that fits better than those at your home stores and removse chemicals as well as allegens from the air.

8) Clean the air ducts in the house and install a filter over the vent in the room to trap any dust returning from the unit. These are sold at any home store.

9) Purchase real wood furniture. Avoid particle board pieces or pieces with drawers or backs that are particle board. The particleboard "off-gasses" and this is a hazard for those sensitive to chemicals or have asthma. Often, you can find a vintage solid wood piece for a fraction of the cost of a new piece. Look for these in the local classifieds or on such free classified sites such as www.Craigslist.org. Try to find one with an old finish that does not need refinishing to avoid the off-gassing of the new finish!

9) Clean the floors, and furniture weekly with a water based solution to remove dust, vacuum with a hepa filter vacuum. Do not use a harsh chemicals or toxic polishes. Do not use air fresheners either plug-ins or sprays of any kind anywhere in your house. To paint the walls, ProjectAllergy.com recommends Mythic Paint, a Zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint that is safe for people and pets. Visit www.MythicPaint.com or call 1-888-714-9422.

10) Close closet doors and drawers at night.

Follow these suggestions and you will see a significant improvement in the quality of sleep you have and the air you breathe.

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