If you’re on the hunt for your first apartment and you just so happen to suffer from allergies, there are a few extra things you may want to consider before pulling the trigger and signing a lease. The right environment is important to helping keep severe allergies under control so that you have a comfortable, enjoyable place to relax, study, entertain and work.
Scouting It Out
You’ll want to take note of a few important factors before settling on a space in order to make sure that your allergies aren’t exacerbated in your new environment.
Before you embark on your apartment-hunting adventure, make a list of things that you know will help eliminate your allergy symptoms so that you don’t forget them when hopping from place to place.
Here are a few things to consider:
Choose Hardwood Over Carpet
Carpet is comfortable and cozy, but it does present some obstacles for allergy sufferers. The small carpet fibers are the perfect place for dust mites, pollen, pet dander and other particulates to accumulate, while hardwood flooring is less apt to collect and trap these particles. At the very least, make sure to avoid rentals with carpeted bedrooms, as this can expose you to carpet dust throughout the night and worsen your allergy symptoms.
Inquire About Past Tenants
Make sure to ask your potential landlord about who lived in the apartment before you. If you have a significant allergy to pet dander, you’ll want to make sure you’re not renting a space that was previously inhabited by four-legged tenants. You also want to ask the landlord whether the previous tenants smoked and whether or not there have been any incidents associated with bed bugs.
Pick a Place with Central Air
When it’s hot out, you’ll feel much more tempted to open the windows, which is an invitation for those airborne allergy particulates to take up your space. Central air is a better choice for allergy sufferers, as it keeps you comfortable without regular exposure to the allergens swirling about outside. HVAC systems have easy-to-change-filters (which you can offer to change yourself if you’re worried your landlord won’t be on top of it) to help fully filter out the air.
Check for Signs of Dampness
In some states, your landlord will be required to disclose the presence of mold to any renter. With that being said, your potential landlord isn’t necessarily required to tell you whether or not the space may become hospitable to mold in the future. To make sure that you don’t suffer from mold allergies in your new space, try to do a thorough dampness reading. Observe the basement for any standing water and closely check the baseboards and ceilings for signs of mold accumulation.
Spring for the Place with a Washer and Dryer
If it’s in your budget, going for the apartment with in-house laundry facilities can significantly ease your allergies. Regular launderings of clothes and bedding can help rid your environment of the particles that get trapped in clothing fibers and affect your symptoms. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of removing your clothes and tossing them straight into the wash when you get home during the peak of allergy season.
Setting Up an Allergy-Friendly Apartment
Once you’ve found the allergy-friendly apartment of your dreams, there are a few things you can do to get your place prepped and ready for a comfortable life free of allergy triggers. One of the most important things you can do before you move in is to perform a deep clean. Thoroughly sweep, dust and wipe down surfaces to remove any settle particles.
You may also consider investing in some products that will help simplify life with allergies. Consider purchasing a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner and an allergy air purifier.
We recommend the following tips for setting up your apartment to deter allergies:
Purchase an Air Purifier
The right apartment air purifier can significantly lower your exposure to airborne particles that can trigger your allergies and cause you to sneeze, wheeze and experience itchy eyes and skin. Purchase a HEPA air purifier with highly efficient filters in order to trap more microscopic particles, including pollen, dander, dust mites, chemical vapors, tobacco smoke and much more.
Invest in Allergy-Friendly Bedding
Swap out your regular old bedding in favor of allergy bedding—sheets, blankets, comforters, duvet covers, mattress covers, mattress pads and pillow covers—as a strong defense against dust mites, bed bugs, mold spores and other allergens that tend to hang out in the bedroom. These specialty bedding options provide a physical barrier to trap the allergens inside your mattress or pillows so that they don’t contaminate the air you breathe.
Start with a Deep Clean
Of course, your rental company or landlord will likely provide a deep clean before you move in. With that being said, you can further prepare the environment when you perform an all-over sweep (including a sweep of all carpeting, rugs, draperies and upholstery) using a HEPA vacuum cleaner. These vacuums have highly effective HEPA filters which trap minuscule particles down to 0.1 microns without the risk of reintroducing them into the air. You’ll also want to wipe down hard surfaces with an anti-mold spray and change any air filters before moving in.
If you’re the type of person who loves knickknacks and lots of décor, take moving as an opportunity to downsize. Unfortunately, extra clutter means more places for dust, dirt and allergens to hide, and more places that will require regular dusting. We also highly recommend investing in a microfiber cloth and dusting solution so that you can effectively remove minuscule dirt and dust particles on every surface during your regular cleans.