Summer’s over, but your allergies are not. Rid your house of dust mites, mold spores, animal dander, pesticides and toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in mattresses, carpet and household cleaners. If this sounds like “Extreme Home Makeover: Allergy Edition” with a hefty price tag, try these budget-friendly allergen busters. (All prices are estimates.)
If this breaks the bank: Organic mattress (queen size): $2,000 plus.
Try this first: Hypoallergenic organic-cotton or wool mattress cover (queen size): $200
If this breaks the bank: All-natural wool carpeting (dust mite resistant) or VOC-free cork flooring to cover 2,000 square feet: $10,000 and way up
Try this first: VOC-free sealant to cover 2,000 square feet of existing wood flooring: $250. Organic wool area rugs: $500 apiece. HEPA filter vacuum: $500.
If this breaks the bank: Whole-house water filter: $900
Try this first: Shower filter (removes chlorine): $75. Kitchen-sink filter: $150
If this breaks the bank: Central electronic HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter system to reduce airborne dust mites, mold spores and pollen: $600 to $1,000.
Try this first: Portable HEPA air filter in sleeping area: $150 to $300.
If this breaks the bank: Closetful of natural, nontoxic household cleaners. Bathroom cleaner: $5, all-purpose cleaner: $6
Try this first: Bottle of vinegar: $1. Bottle of tea tree oil: $10. (Both are effective, safe disinfectants that require small amounts added to water.)