• Know your guests' pet peeves. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), about 10 percent of the general population is allergic to dust mites, and another 10 percent live with pet allergies. If you have pets, make sure you let your invitees know, and offer to keep your animals in a separate room during the gathering. Some potential guests may be so allergic that they might not attend. Bathe your pets the week of the party to reduce dander.
• Take on dust mites. For guests spending the night, make sure you wash covers and pillowcases in hot water (130 degrees) to kill off lingering dust mites. Since the sun's ultraviolet rays can also kill them, hang linens outside to dry if it's sunny—you’ll also save energy and money on your electricity bill. According to ACAAI, there may be up to 19,000 dust mites in a gram of dust! So don’t cut any corners when vacuuming or mopping. And consider keeping toys and other dust-gathering items in a container with a lid to prevent dust buildup. Keep your home's humidity as low as you can while staying comfortable; dust mites die if the humidity drops below 40 percent.
• Smell good naturally. Most spray and plug-in air fresheners contain synthetic fragrances that contain a chemical soup of volatile organic compounds, some carcinogenic, and ozone that can trigger breathing problems. Opt to use beeswax candles for candlelit ambiance, and brew your own natural air freshener on your stovetop.
• Vent it. Mold can also send people into sneezing fits and make them sick, so after cleaning your bathroom with nontoxic cleaners, make it a habit to open a window or run the exhaust fan during showers to deter mold growth. Do the same in the kitchen when you're cooking.
• Consider enforcing a no-shoe policy. This may seem a bit extreme, but if you’re going to great lengths to keep your floor not only clean, but also uncontaminated, ask guests to slip off their shoes at the door. Speaking of prohibitions, you should also enforce a strict no-smoking policy in your home to protect everyone’s lungs.
Published on: November 12, 2009
Updated on: November 17, 2011