If you or one of your family members suffer from allergies then this season can be especially hard on you. The reports are all around us, of how many of you are saying that your allergies have been worse than ever. And yes, our hard winter is partially to blame. If you have a colder than normal spring you usually have a more concentrated pollen season where everything buds all at the same time. In addition as there was so much moisture around, all the snow moulds have been more aggressive too. So to create an allergen-free zone at the cottage you’ll want to get your space as allergen-free as possible. Whether you are allergic to dust, pets, mould, pollen or all of the above, it can be hard to know where to begin. Try these tips to combat allergens and create a cleaner, healthier environment.

1)       Stick to a regular cleaning schedule.  When allergies are a concern, it’s especially important to keep dust and pet dander at bay continuously. Be sure to wipe surfaces with a damp rag rather than dry dusting which just moves dust back into the air. If you have bad allergies and must clean, wear a mask, or delegate the dustiest jobs to an allergy-free family member.

2)      Start a no-shoes policy and beef up on doormats.  Keep dust, pollen and more from entering your house in the first place by encouraging visitors to slip off their shoes at the door. Provide ample interior and exterior doormats to trap shoe muck, and have a basket of synthetic slippers for guests.

3)      Upgrade your vacuum cleaner.  Get one with a HEPA filter to trap allergens. Also be sure to choose a vacuum cleaner with a bag that can be changed easily without spewing dust everywhere.

4)      Swap out heavy drapes.  Thick drapes with lots of folds and pleats are notorious for trapping dust and other allergens. Choose blinds you can wipe down or machine-washable curtains.

5)      Remove carpeting.  Traditional wall-to-wall carpeting is very difficult to get and keep clean. Whenever possible, change to hard flooring (wood, tile, linoleum) instead.

6)       Steam clean; don’t shampoo carpets and area rugs. If you really want or can’t remove carpeting, in addition to regular vacuuming, deep clean with a steam cleaner. Most rented carpet shampooers don’t get hot enough to remove allergens, so consider making the investment in a good steam cleaner of your own.

7)      Cover mattress and pillows. Zip on dust mite covers to protect your sleeping areas.

8)      Keep under the bed free of clutter. Clutter attracts dust bunnies and makes it more difficult to vacuum the entire space. Keep this area clean and clear, and be sure to reach under with a hose attachment to vacuum regularly.

9)      Streamline kids’ spaces. Children’s rooms accumulate clutter like nowhere else in the house. If allergies are a problem, having lots of toys, especially soft toys, will only make matters worse. Try rotating toys to keep things fresh. Wash and store extras in an out-of-the-way closet.

10)   Wash linens in hot water. Bedding, towels and kitchen linens should be laundered in hot water. Remember when you are shopping to choose fabrics and colours that can stand up to the heat.

11)    Store only clean, dry items in closets. Putting away slightly damp clothes or linens can create the perfect environment for mildew and mould to grow, while dirty clothes and blankets attract fabric-eating moths. Keep your closets fresh and bug free by washing and thoroughly drying items before storing them for the season.

12)   Remember, no matter how much you love your pets, if you are dealing with allergies, keep pets out of your bedrooms.  Sorry about this one!

At Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka our great team of  REALTORS® are here to help you so give us a call today if you need to buy or sell a Muskoka cottage, home or piece of vacant land.