When you suffer from allergies, the outside world is filled with sneeze-inducing triggers everywhere you turn, from tree pollen to ragweed to your co-worker's dog-hair-covered sweater. So the last thing you want to do is come home to a house that just continues the pain. "Finding the source of your allergy woes, from heavy carpeting to dust mites in your pillows, and removing them will bring you a world of relief," says James Sublett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Work to keep the outdoors out of your home with these editor-approved allergy control products in three categories: bedding, air purifiers, and vacuums. Talk to your allergist about which products might be best for you.
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One of the most common allergens nestles right into your bedding. Dust mites are tiny bugs that eat skin cells, and they thrive in humid environments, which is why it's extremely important to get encasements for your pillows and mattress. "It doesn't take much of a gap for them to come in, so find tightly woven encasements with zippers that fully seal," advises Dr. Sublett, and be sure to wash all of your bedding once a week in hot water. Here are seven anti-allergy bedding products to consider for your home.
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MISSION: ALLERGY Dust Mite- and Allergen-Proof Pillow Encasing
To buy: $19;
These medical-grade covers zip tightly for a mite-free night of sleep, but still allow enough air through to be super-comfy and prevent you from getting hot and sweaty. All of MISSION: ALLERGY's products are designed by a board-certified allergist.
MISSION: ALLERGY Dust Mite- and Allergen-Proof Mattress Encasing
To buy: $140;
MISSION: Allergy also makes a highly recommended mattress cover. While it's pricier than others on the market, the tightly wound microfiber will actually keep out dust and dander as you snooze. It's also bedbug-proof.
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Allersoft 100-Percent Cotton Dust Mite & Allergy Control Standard Pillow Encasement
To buy: $12;
Another solid pillow protector, this 100%-cotton, 280-thread-count case gets high ratings for its softness, unlike many encasements. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is made in the USA.
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AllerEase Hot Water Washable Allergy Protection Pillow
To buy: $21;
When you toss your sheets in for their weekly wash, this pillow can go right in with it. Designed to withstand hot, mite-killing temperatures, it'll fluff right back to its initial shape after a spin in the washing machine.
Natural Comfort Classic Down Alternative Comforter
To buy: $63;
Allergy sufferers don't get to enjoy the cushy comfort of a natural down comforter. Luckily, there are plenty of hypoallergenic down alternatives on the market for your bed topper, like this machine washable option from Natural Comfort.
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Allersoft 100-Percent Cotton Dust Mite and Allergy Control King Duvet Protector
To buy: $80;
This protective cover goes over your duvet and seals out allergens with a tight-yet-breathable 100% cotton weave. You can still pick out a pretty cover to match your bedroom's décor.
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Elf Sleep Safe Bed Bug, Dust Mite, and Allergen Proof Mattress Cover
To buy: $56;
Concerned about your allergies and your environmental impact? This mattress cover from Elf (aka Eco Living Friendly) zips tightly, and is made with environmentally safe, raw materials.
"Air purifier" is a bit of a misnomer, according to Dr. Sublett, because these devices can't actually purify. That said, these machines are extremely helpful in cleaning the air. Be sure to buy one with a HEPA filter, which forces air through a mesh that traps pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens. Stay away from a filter with a built-in ionizerin most cases these filters produce ozone, small particles that can actually be an irritant. Get cleaner air in your home with the following six anti-allergy air purifiers.
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Honeywell Bluetooth True HEPA Air Purifier
To buy: $198;
This purifier can connect to your Android or iPhone with Bluetooth technology to track the pollen count in the air, and adjust its cleaning levels accordingly. This filter works in rooms up to 380 square feet, or roughly 17' x 18'.
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Airocide Air Purifier
To buy: $599;
Probably the most gorgeous air purifier you'll find, this beauty is also an (extremely quiet) workhorse. The filter is actually developed with NASA technology (so unfortunately, they're pricy). Vineyards use this device to prevent their grapes from getting ruined by mold.
What this air purifier lacks in the looks department it makes up for in quality. The carbon outside seals in everything it sucks in, leaving you with a cleaner room.
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Whirlpool Whispure APT40010R True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
To buy: $150;
Are you an apartment dweller? This tall, thin purifier takes up very little space, and gives off little to no ozone. Best of all, it's one of the cheapest high-quality appliances on the market.
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RabbitAir BioGS 2.0
To buy: $370;
Known for its excellent design, RabbitAir's curvy air purifier has four purification stages for increased efficiency, and a long filter life. You'll barely notice when it's on, thanks to its quiet whir, but you'll definitely notice the cleaner air it leaves behind.
When buying a vacuum, the key is finding one that has a HEPA filter. "All vacuums have to have an exhaust, because the air they suck up has to go somewhere, so make sure you get one with a good filter," advises Dr. Sublett. He prefers cyclonic, bagless vacuums, but a vacuum with a bag is fine too. "Bag or bag-free doesn't matter, as long as you're going outside to dispose of the dust it sucks up." Read on for seven allergy-control vacuums.
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Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus Bagless Upright
To buy: $89;
This lightweight vacuum has a patented WindTunnel that easily sucks up everything it comes across. The removable HEPA filter is easy to clean with a rinse in the sink, which means there's no need to purchase replacement filters.
If you're an allergy sufferer but love your furry friends, this is the vacuum for you. It's designed for homes with pets, and the brush will pick up pet hair without tangling. Plus, the entire system uses a HEPA filter, so it actually expels cleaner air than what came in.
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VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick and Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA and Sponge Filtration
To buy: $40;
Sick of your giant, clunky vacuum? This small, stick vacuum will fit neatly in your closet, but it still delivers on filtration, boasting a HEPA filter that locks in particles. And as an added bonus, it can detach into a small, handheld vac.
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Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner
To buy: $949;
Worth the splurge, this vacuum rotates easily, and has an Active AirClean filter that actually neutralizes and absorbs pet odors as you go.
iRobot Roomba 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies
To buy: $400;
If you just don't have time to pace back and forth with a traditional vacuum, the Roomba's for you. Schedule this vacuum to clean ahead of time, and sit back as it picks up dirt and dust, while trapping them in the filter.
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Electrolux Upright Vacuum Brushroll Clean EL8807A
To buy: $182;
With a 12 foot reach (and a 25 foot cord!), you can get to almost any crevice in your home with ease. The washable HEPA filtration system eliminates 99.7% of dust, dirt and allergens so you can breathe easily.
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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded, 33A1
To buy: $28;
For small messes, grab this four-pound, handheld vacuum, perfect for picking up pet hair. The HEPA filter ensures allergen-free air, and at $25, it's a great buy.