Pet allergies might not be a problem for you, but there’s a decent chance one of your guests can’t sit among dander without sneezing or coughing. And even if a pet is taken out of the house, it takes a certain amount of time for dander levels to go down significantly.
“Studies show that it may take as many as six months before allergen levels become low enough so as not to cause a clinical reaction,” says Andrew S. Kim, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Centers in Virginia.
But we challenge you to find a pet owner who would be willing to send their furry friend away for half a year—it’s not going to happen! So let’s focus on more realistic solutions.
Luckily, Kim says that “aggressive cleaning of homes may reduce allergen levels.” And while hours and hours spent vacuuming, dusting, and sanitizing your home doesn’t sound like fun, it’s one reasonable way to ensure your guests will be comfortable in your house during the holidays and beyond.
Here’s what you can do to get your pet-friendly house ready for pet allergy–prone guests. (Or even owners!)
1. Give your pets the spa treatment
A good bath can temporarily reduce the number of allergens on your pet, says Kim. Sadly, the results are only temporary. Two to three days afterward, your pet’s allergens will be back to baseline.
To make a long-term difference, “washing must be done at least two times per week,” Kim says.
2. Roll up your rugs
“Carpets are a greater reservoir of pet allergens versus a polished floor,” says Kim. Therefore, remove those fur catchers from your hardwood or tile floor so you can vacuum up pet hair.
3. Turn on your air conditioner
Doing so will help keep humidity levels in your house low.
“Higher numbers of airborne allergens are found in homes with high humidity,” Kim says.
4. Dust before your guests arrive
Aim to do this a day or two before their arrival.
“This will give dander time to settle out of the air,” says Leslie Reichert, cleaning coach and author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning.”
5. Take up vacuuming as a hobby
“Regular vacuuming or three-times-weekly vacuuming may temporarily reduce allergen levels,” Kim says. So get into it!
Make sure you use the best vacuum for pet allergens and hair, such as the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150.