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Tackle Allergy Hot Spots

Minimize seasonal sneezing with these tips for targeting hiding places for household allergy offenders

Cooler weather means latched windows and closed storm doors are soon to follow—potentially trapping seasonal and year-round allergens indoors. Here's how to reduce irritants in three key areas.

At the front door

Ragweed hits its peak in late summer, with each plant releasing up to a billion grains of pollen. It makes its way indoors on clothing, shoes, and even hair.

The fix: Wet-mop hard floors to keep from kicking particles back up into the air. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter weekly on soft surfaces. Lay down doormats inside and out.

In the bedroom

Dust mites thrive in beds, where they live off dead skin cells and moisture.

The fix: Washing linens on cold or warm will get rid of most of the mites, but only hot water will kill the eggs. Use a mite-proof cover to keep them from burrowing into the mattress. In the mornings, leave bedcovers turned down to allow moisture to evaporate more quickly.

In the bathroom

Mold and mildew thrive in damp areas, such as tubs, showers, and under the sink—and summer's humidity makes the situation worse.

The fix: Scrub hard surfaces using a bleach-based cleanser, with windows open. Run the bath's vent fan for at least 20 minutes after bathing.

Illustration by Serge Bloch