From nuisance sneezing attacks to full-blown illness, hay fever can make life pretty miserable during pollen season – and if you’re a sufferer, chances are you have a few tricks up your sleeve for when you head outdoors during spring and summer.
But what about when you’re indoors at home? Pollen sticks to just about everything (yep, that means clothes, shoes, hair, skin, pets) and gets carried in the air, so it’s inevitable that some of the pesky particles will end up infiltrating your home too. Cue broken sleep, rotten evenings and starting the day with streaming eyes before you’ve even set foot outside.
So, what can you do to keep your house a pollen-free zone? While it may not be possible to banish it from your home entirely, these steps will certainly help…
1. Keep windows closed as much as possible
Pollen can waft indoors through open windows, so it’s advisable to keep them closed as much as possible during pollen season. Naturally, nobody wants a stuffy house, and you may need to let some air through occasionally – but be savvy with your timings to minimise pollen infiltration. Allergy UK points out that keeping windows closed is especially “important in early mornings, when pollen is released, and in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again”. Keep an eye on daily pollen forecasts too, so you can judge when it’s best to let some air through.
2. Wash curtains and fabric covers
Despite your best efforts, there’s still a good chance some pollen will get into your home – so it’s a good idea to wash your curtains, along with any removable sofa or cushion covers. There’s no set rule as to how often you should do this, but if your symptoms are flaring up while you’re at home, a thorough top-to-toe clean is probably in order!
3. Don’t hang laundry to dry outdoors
Sure, being able to hang washing out to dry in the garden during spring and summer is super-convenient, but for hay fever sufferers, it’s a no-no, as by the time it’s dry, your laundry could be coated in pollen.
4. Invest in an air purifier
So you’re keeping the windows closed more than you’d ideally like and your laundry has to be dried indoors (not everything can go in the tumble-dryer, assuming you even have one of those) – it’s not exactly a recipe for a nice, airy indoor environment, is it? Investing in a quality air purifier could be a good bet if your symptoms are troublesome. The Vax Pure Air 300 Air Purifier, billed as the ‘UK’s most effective way to clean the air in your home’, removes 99% of harmful particles from the air, monitoring and trapping pollen – plus particles like dust and pet dander, which are often a ‘trigger’ for people with hay fever too.
5. De-pollen your pets before they come indoors
Got a dog or cat that spends time outdoors? Pollen can stick to their fur, so to prevent them traipsing this all over your house (and transferring it to your sofa, carpets and bedding), Allergy UK recommends wiping their coats with a damp microfibre cloth before they come in.
6. Up your vacuuming game
Being a bit more gung-ho with your vacuuming is a good idea during pollen season. And don’t just do the floors; run the vacuum-cleaner across soft furnishings, sofas, cushions, curtains and beds if required too. Airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg, who’s working with organic allergen barrier balm HayMax, recommends investing in a vacuum with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter. The Miele Blizzard CX1 Comfort PowerLine Vacuum Cleaner has a unique filtration system ideal for household allergies, and is approved by Allergy UK.
7. Have an arriving-home wash ritual
You might normally wait until right before bed to have a wash, but during pollen season, it’s a good idea for hay fever sufferers to adopt a quick washing routine as soon as you get home. Pollen can stick to skin and hair, so a speedy shower will help prevent you ‘sitting’ with it for the rest of the evening, and transferring it to your sofa and bed. Keep your shoes and jacket by the front door, or shut away in a closed-off utility room or cloakroom if you have one too, as these will bring pollen inside.
8. Avoid mowing the lawn
This might sound like a no-brainer, but if you’ve got hay fever, you probably want to avoid gardening – particularly mowing the lawn and raking leaves – during pollen season. If you really can’t put these tasks on hold, or rope in somebody else to do them, then at least wear a filtration mask (you can find recommendations on the Allergy UK website).