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Published: Tuesday, 6/5/2007

Find Your Home's Hidden Allergen Hot Spots

(NewsUSA) - People know about dust mites in their beds, pet dander in their carpets and other dust and allergens on their floors and furniture, but they may be missing some other hot spots where allergens collect in their homes.

Allergens can settle on hard surfaces and fabrics around the house, but they can also get into smaller, hard-to-reach areas, and in hidden places you might not think to clean on a regular basis.

"Allergen avoidance and reduction at home is critical to allergy control," says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "The first step is to identify the problem areas, and then take the necessary steps to reduce hidden indoor allergens."

Procter & Gamble, which makes household cleaning products such as Swiffer Dusters and Febreze Allergen Reducer, and the AAFA provide the following tips for controlling these top allergen hot spots:

* Door jams and window sills: Constant airflow in these areas means that dirt and dust collect here. Clean thoroughly here.

* Plush toys: Dust mites are common in plush toys, so wash them frequently in 130-degree water. If toys are too fragile to wash, place them into a zip-lock bag, then into to the freezer for 24 hours, then rinse them in cold water to remove the allergens.

* Walls: Although walls have twice the surface area of floors and ceilings, they are largely overlooked during housecleaning. However, walls are some of the biggest collectors of allergens. To prevent allergen buildup, pay close attention to furniture and carpets near walls, and dust the walls weekly.

* Closets and drawers: Allergens from pollen can often be carried on your clothing. When you put clothes into closets and drawers, these allergens can cling to other items nearby and build up in these closed spaces over time. Clean clothing before storing it.

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