How to keep pet allergens at bay

With new research showing that one in ten pet owners is allergic to their furry friend, here’s some advice on how to reduce allergens in your home

Nearly one in ten (8%) homes with a pet has a family member who is allergic to it but wouldn’t consider giving up their pet as they love it too much (61%) and it’s part of the family (53%), according to new research.

Adding to the impact, almost half of households with allergies (48%) don’t have any special cleaning measures to reduce the impact of their allergy, making it worse for their loved ones.

Pets are the second most important cause of domestic allergy, after the house dust mite. The allergens are found in the pet’s dander, hair, saliva and urine.

The cat allergen is very small so can quickly and easily spread, often settling in dust from floors and soft furnishings, in the air and even on walls. Dog allergens are larger particles which may be the reason why fewer people show allergic symptoms to dogs than they do to cats.

Here are some tips on how to reduce pet allergens in your home

  1. Keep pets away from your bed. It’s important to keep pets away from your bed to avoid them from spreading their allergens all over the area where you sleep.  Use allergen-proof barrier covers on all mattresses, duvets and pillows and wash your bedding regularly at at least 60 degrees.
  2. Put soft toys in the freezer.  If your child is allergic to house dust mites put soft toys in the freezer for 24 hours once a week to kill the mites. Wash the toy in the washing machine afterwards and leave to dry before allowing your child to play with it again.
  3. Replace carpets with hard flooring. Replace your carpets with vinyl or wood flooring as these accumulate less allergens. If you have rugs in your home wash them regularly. 
  4. Vacuum regularly. Where carpets can’t be removed, make sure you vacuum regularly along with vacuuming beds and soft furnishings. It’s important to use a high filtration vacuum cleaner which is able to collect and contain very small particles and clean a variety of surfaces such as the Kobold VK200 home cleaning system.
  5. Decrease home humidity by increasing the ventilation. Try to keep your windows open and use extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms to keep the house dry and ventilated. However if you are allergic to pollen windows should be closed during the grass and tree pollen seasons.