• Most houses contain triggers that could make symptoms worse in people with asthma.
  • Eliminating dust is an effective way to cut back on many allergens.
  • Remove any suspect plants from your garden.
Most people with asthma find their symptoms get worse when they are exposed to certain triggers. Some of these triggers can be found in and around the average home. There are many ways in which you can transform your home into an asthma-friendly environment.

Household triggers for asthma

Some of the more common household triggers include:
  • dust mites – which love warm, moist conditions and thrive in bedding and carpets. Their droppings cause the allergic reaction
  • moulds – which need moist environments with poor ventilation
  • pollens – from trees, plants and grasses
  • pets – because of their fur, skin or scales (called 'dander')
  • other triggers – including cold dry air, smoke, certain foods, chemicals and perfumes.

Improve air quality in an asthma-friendly home

Make your home a smoke-free zone. You should also pay attention to ventilation, heating and cooling. Ideally, the air in your home should be fresh and not too humid.

Improve ventilation by:
  • Install extractor fans with external vents in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, vented externally rather than into the roof space.
  • Use an efficient externally vented range hood over your stove top to remove steam and cooking smells that can irritate people with asthma.
  • Have fixed air vents in all rooms to improve air circulation.
  • Use electric cooking appliances as they do not produce gaseous fumes, allow minimal heat loss and are easy and safe to use.
Improve heating and cooling by:
  • Choose radiant heating that doesn’t collect or circulate dust.
  • Avoid open fires because wood smoke can be a trigger.
  • Avoid fan-forced ducted heating because it circulates dust.
  • Choose refrigerated reverse-cycle systems because they take the moisture out of the air and allow for adjustment of temperature.
  • Avoid evaporative cooling systems because they humidify the air.
  • Use foil or polyester insulation.
  • Avoid un-flued gas heaters because they produce indoor air pollutants as a result of combustion, including nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. They also produce water vapour that can increase the growth of moulds and dust mites.

Reduce your dust mite population

Dust contains many allergen particles. Some suggestions on how to cut down on the amount of dust in your home include:
  • Avoid carpets – if choosing carpet, select short pile or loop carpet, nylon and solution dyed.
  • Vacuum or mop floors daily (preferably when the person with asthma is not in the vicinity).
  • Hot wash all bedding above 60 °

    C every two weeks and dry in direct sunlight.

  • Cut down on fluffy toys and put them in the freezer for 24 hours once a week.
  • Air blankets weekly in direct sunlight.
  • Use a damp cloth to dust furniture instead of dry dusting.
  • Replace curtains with vertical or roller blinds, which are easier to clean.
  • Put doors on any open shelving units.
  • Regularly clean ceiling fans and air conditioning vents.
  • Vacuum and clean furniture frequently.

Pets and an asthma-friendly home

If you don’t want to get rid of any furry pets, there are ways of minimising their impact, including:
  • Have your pets live outside.
  • Keep pets out of the bedrooms.
  • Brush or groom pets outside.
  • Wash your pets every week to reduce the spread of animal dander.
  • Clean out cages or litter boxes regularly.
  • Choose non-shedding or low-shedding pets.

Grow a ‘low-allergen’ garden

Ways of reducing the amount of allergens in your garden include:
  • Weed regularly.
  • Replace lawn with bricked or paved areas.
  • Avoid rye grass.
  • Choose plants that are pollinated by birds or insects, rather than plants that release their seeds into the air.
  • Replace mulch with pebbles or gravel.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Pharmacist
  • Asthma Victoria Tel. 1800 ASTHMA (278 462)

Things to remember

  • Most houses contain triggers that could make symptoms worse in people with asthma.
  • Eliminating dust is an effective way to cut back on many allergens.
  • Remove any suspect plants from your garden.

More information


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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Asthma Foundation of Victoria

Last updated: March 2015

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.