5 tips for surviving house renovations with asthma and allergies

Having internal building work done to your house is a very stressful business. Dust can and will get EVERYWHERE! And I’m talking thick, red, sticky, grimy dust. We decided to take the plunge and reorganise our house from ‘slightly dark and dingey with bad use of space’ to ‘open-plan, light and much more easy to use’ space. Sounds like a no-brainer, but when you have allergies and asthma it’s a big upheaval.

I thought I’d share with you my tips on how to survive building work and come out the other side unscathed by allergies and asthma attack free!

  1. Move out! – Living in a house that is having walls smashed down and steel joists put in is not easy. The amount of dust created is astounding and the only option for me really was to move out. Ask your parents, a good friend with a spare room, there will be someone. I had to move out (thank you Julia!) and I’m glad I did because even visiting and walking round to see progress had me struggling to breathe. The air was like a smog of dust and you could see it swirling around whenever you entered the house.
  2. Pack carefully! – Pack up anything you won’t need, get lots of boxes and just seal stuff up inside and store it in a room that can remain sealed and closed up itself for the duration of work. This is especially important for clothes and bedding that is clean, unless you want to clean everything after the work is finished! This actually seemed to work. Even rooms which just had the door shut for the duration of work and not entirely sealed stayed relatively dust free.
  3. Carefully seal up rooms – Using parcel or packing tape, seal up rooms that you don’t need to use by sticking the tape along the edges of the door. If you can rig up a dust sheet to cover doors too this will help even more. Stuff an old towel or rag along the bottom of the door and leave the room sealed until work is finished and the dust has well and truly settled.
  4. Wear a dust mask whilst cleaning – When you move back in you could wear a mask while the house is really dusty and epescially whilst cleaning. Try Protec Direct or Allergy Best Buys to buy a dust mask. Always wear gloves too to avoid dust allergens being transferred to your face and eyes.
  5. Clean from top to bottom – Start at the top of the house and work down. Open all the windows and get a bucket of warm soapy water and just wipe down surfaces. You will probably need to redo with clean water, it seemed to take a few sessions in each room to get them all completely clean. Remember the skirting boards and doors! Hoover a few times too as dust may still be settling.

Our renovations are far from finished but the hardest dustyest part is done. I’ve moved home, cleaned the house and settled back in. I will be sharing more information about the materials you can use e.g. VOC free paint, the best floor coverings for allergies and bathroom and kitchen pitfalls. For instance, it seems from a recent shopping trip that all new shower heads contain easy clean rubber nozzles! More investigation needed as it may be allergen free silicon but the shops all call it rubber and have no idea what it’s made of. The taps also seem to be a mix of metals including nickel – which always seems to be declared as a great thing! Not if you’ve got a nickel allergy it’s not!

So have you renovated your house with asthma and allergies? Do you have any other tips you would like to share? It can be a very stressful time and if it makes you ill, even more so. Stay safe and make sure you’ve got your inhaler!

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. You and your readers might be interested in my Non-Toxic House & Home factsheet which has tons of info and tips on this type of subject. I’ve put a link to the books page below as I can’t link in this reply. I will send a copy to you, of course, Ruth. Hope you all find it useful. A hobby horse of mine! Yes, another one…

    The link is on this page here: http://purehealthclinic.co.uk/supplements-non-toxic-toiletries-books-supplies/holistic-living-books/

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