Why you should stop pre-rinsing your dishes today

Sustainability as a holiday tradition has taken its place alongside twinkling lights, celebrations with families and friends and presents under the tree. A 2021 Accenture survey found that steps toward sustainability – making homemade gifts, secondhand shopping and not using traditional wrapping paper – had emerged as serious holiday season trend in the U.S. In Canada, according to a 2022 EY survey, people are working to reduce food waste on food waste, seeking ways to use less energy at home, and looking for information about more sustainable shopping choices this holiday season.

It’s clear that many are looking to make less of an environmental impact with their holiday celebrations. If you are among them, one easy way to use less water is to stop pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into your dishwasher.

If you consider the number of dishes and utensils that go into an average-sized dishwasher load, those quick rinses can add up to serious water savings.

But habits can be hard to break, and a few questions might be running through the minds of habitual pre-rinsers right now, like…

Is my dish too dirty for the dishwasher?

Scrape the excess food off your dishes, ideally into a food waste disposer. A dish is rarely “too dirty” for a dishwasher. When dishwashers are tested under AHAM’s test procedure, testers apply a mixture of egg yolk, creamed corn, oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, ground beef, coffee, raspberry preserves, peanut butter and tomato juice. That’s almost certainly a bigger mess than anything served at your holiday party. Trust that your dishwasher to do the job for which it was designed.

Doesn’t hand-washing save water?

In the vast majority of cases, no. Washing a full load of dishes in the sink can use 10 or more gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A kitchen faucet runs at a rate of about 2.2 gallons a minute. Compare that to newer ENERGY STAR dishwashers, which use a maximum of only 3.5 gallons of water per cycle. Even newer non-ENERGY STAR models max out at 5 gallons of water per cycle.

Should I still run my dishwasher if it isn’t full?

Yes. Some models include “half-rack” or “half-load” settings for smaller loads of dishes. The dishwasher will still save water, even if it isn’t full.

Do I have to hand-wash pots and pans?

No. Place them face down on the bottom rack, where they are close to the full force of the water. Just make sure they are not blocking the spray arms.

I have four dishes left over and my dishwasher is full. Should I try to cram them in?

Put them aside until your next load of dishes. Overloading your dishwasher can interfere with the cleaning cycle. Remember, any water you use by hand-washing dishes will be in addition to the water used during the dishwasher cycle. Save yourself the water and the work.

I heard you can cook in a dishwasher. Since I’m saving water, should I try that to save energy?

No. It’s unsafe and is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Save your holiday cooking for your range, oven and other cooking appliances.

Holiday Cooking: What to Freeze and What to Prepare Fresh

If you are getting ready to host a big holiday meal, your freezer can make the job a lot easier. Beyond their obvious advantage for food storage, freezers can help you stay ahead of the clock as you prepare for the big feast. Preparing certain dishes and freezing them in advance can be great for keeping your kitchen less busy and your stress level low as Thanksgiving and other major holidays draw closer. And your guests will never know the difference.

What to freeze is up to you, but you can freeze just about any foods you tend to find at a traditional holiday meal. We spoke with an expert, Lan Lam, senior editor of Cook’s Illustrated and a regular on America’s Test Kitchen to get her advice on what holiday favorites are best to freeze, and which are better to prepare fresh.

Turkey: We’ll start with the main course. Most people won’t be reheating frozen cooked turkey, but thawing a turkey is practically a holiday tradition in itself. Defrost it in the refrigerator, especially for larger roasts, Lam says. Give it enough time to thaw. “If they’re partially frozen, you’re going to run into food safety issues,” she says.

Mashed potatoes: Save time by preparing this beloved comfort food in advance. “Mashed potatoes are great for freezing,” Lam says. They might look a bit soupy during the reheating process, but don’t worry. “When you first defrost them, they’ll look like a soupy mess,” Lam says. Frequent stirring as you warm them up should take care of the problem.

If you opt for scalloped potatoes, consider making them the day of instead of freezing, as freezing can dry out the dish.

Sweet potatoes: The same rules apply. “If they are mashed or pureed, go for it,” Lam says. “If you’re scalloping them or putting them in a casserole, it’s not a great candidate for freezing.”

Stuffing: Whether stuffing should be frozen depends on the recipe and consistency. “If you have a stuffing that doesn’t contain a ton of cubed vegetables, you could fix that in advance” and freeze it,” Lam says. “If there are huge chunks of vegetables, you might end up with something that’s a little soggy.”

Dinner rolls: These comforting carbs store well in the freezer. Lam recommends warming them in a 300-degree oven and wrapping them in foil to maintain moisture and avoid charring. (Accept right now that you probably are going to eat one too many.)

Gravy: This one gets an enthusiastic “yes” on freezing. “Make it two or three weeks in advance if you can. It holds really well and saves you so much time,” Lam says. Need a recipe? Try Lam’s “Game-Changing Gravy.”

Fruit pies: “If you are going to make pies, you can prepare the dough, even up to six weeks in advance,” Lam says. “Make sure it is tightly wrapped so it doesn’t dry out in the freezer. Pull it out two days before you make your pie and put it at fridge temp.” Fruit pies also freeze well. “You can make your entire pie, start to finish, and pop it into the freezer raw,” Lam says, though she advises against egg washing a pie that will be frozen. “You can bake them frozen. Just follow the recipe.” Lam suggests adding 10-15 minutes cooking time and keeping a close eye on the pie as it bakes. “Cover the rim or entire crust with aluminum foil if it happens to be browning quickly.”

Pumpkin pie: Keep these out of the freezer. “I wouldn’t try to make that frozen,” Lam says. “When you freeze a custard pie, pureed in that way, the ice crystals kind of pull water out. When you defrost, the water isn’t perfectly incorporated. You end up with a curdled pie instead of something creamy and luscious.”

Lam stresses that there are recipes for these favorites that are designed to make the food easy to freeze. So, there are ways to freeze pumpkin pie and other dishes that she might choose not to freeze.

Ready for leftovers? They should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours, and generally, eaten or discarded within four days – about the amount of time it will take for many of us to eat what’s left over and swear off eating for the next few weeks.

Keep Your Freezer Organize

Preparing a holiday meal can be hectic, especially if you are serving a large crowd. Staying as organized as possible, so you can find what you need at the right time, will make your life easier. Label the dishes as you freeze them, and create “zones” in your freezer for certain kinds of foods (vegetables, desserts, etc.) Maximize space by freezing foods as flat as possible.

Freeze and Refrigerate the Thanksgiving Leftovers Safely

Leftovers are a treasured holiday tradition in many households. Whether you will be freezing or refrigerating leftovers, allow them to cool first. Freezers should be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and refrigerators at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Your Recipe for Safer Holiday Cooking

With the holidays in full swing, kitchen appliances, from major appliances like the oven and range to portables like the stand mixer and immersion blender, are being put to good use across the U.S. to turn out holiday favorites from turkey to cookies to pies. Appliances are extremely safe when used properly and are tested for safety long before they make it to your kitchen. However, the holidays are busy times in the kitchen, and it is easy to get distracted and lose sight of kitchen safety, especially if you are hosting a large group.

Unattended cooking is still the leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In fact, NFPA reports that Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

While you’re putting together your menu and planning for the big meal, it’s a good idea to take a step back and review basic cooking and kitchen safety practices. Follow these steps to keep your kitchen safe and your holiday guests happy and well fed:

Always monitor what is cooking: If you have to walk away for a minute, ask a family member or guest to keep an eye on the range.

Wear close-fitting clothing or short sleeves to reduce the risk that clothing will catch fire.

Clean your oven and range before cooking to prevent food and grease buildup.

Turn pan handles inward to keep them out of the reach of children and prevent dangerous spills.

Watch out for dangling cords: Keep portable appliances unplugged when they aren’t being used, but make sure the cord is in a safe place and can’t be pulled or snagged.

Don’t use appliances near the sink to reduce the risk of electric shock.

Use the right microwave cooking times to avoid overcooking food and potentially starting a fire.

What to do if a cooking fire happens

Fires can happen even in the safest kitchens, and it’s important to know how to respond in the event a fire does break out.

Call the fire department, directly if possible. Often, a direct call (rather than calling 911) will allow the fire department to respond more quickly. Keep the number of the local department on hand.

Smother any grease fires by sliding a pan over the flames. Turn off the heat and leave the pan in place until it cools. Don’t try to carry it outside.

Keep a box of baking soda nearby to put out any other fires. Never use water or flour to put out cooking fires.

Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, within easy reach. Make sure it is a type that will work on cooking fires.

Keep oven and microwave doors closed if a fire breaks out to smother the flame.

Stay organized, stay safe and enjoy the process of putting together the biggest meal of the year. And take advantage of appliances like your freezer to get a head start.

10 Appliances that Can Save You Money

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With the high gas prices and head-wagging inflation these days, what budget-conscious family isn’t trying to save money wherever they can? While there’s certainly nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence or splurge on things that make you happy, if you find yourself stopping off at the local coffee shop each morning, lugging home cases of bottled water, or eating out for most meals, you might want to consider cutting back where you can.  

A variety of home appliances can help save big money in the long run; whether through energy savings or simply saving money by making and doing things yourself. Here are 10 common appliances that can help you save money. Best of all, you probably have many of them in your home right now!  

Coffeemaker: Making your own coffee at home instead of buying it from coffee shops can save a significant amount of money over time. Resisting that daily $3 cup of coffee from a local café can save you more than $1,000 per year!  

Slow Cooker: Slow cookers are energy-efficient and can turn inexpensive cuts of meat and vegetables into delicious, budget-friendly meals. You can even prepare large batches and freeze leftovers for future use. 

Rice Cooker: Cooking rice at home using a rice cooker is more cost-effective than buying pre-packaged rice dishes. Many rice cookers also have steamer attachments for vegetables, making them versatile appliances. 

Toaster Oven: Toaster ovens are more energy-efficient than conventional ovens, and can be used for a wide range of cooking tasks, from toasting bread to reheating leftovers. 

Food Processor: A food processor can help you save money since you can buy ingredients in bulk, and then prepare your own sauces, dips, and snacks instead of buying pre-packaged versions. 

Blender: Making your own smoothies, soups, and sauces with a blender can be cheaper and healthier than buying pre-made alternatives. 

Freezer: Investing in a good-quality freezer allows you to buy food in bulk when it’s on sale, and store it for later use. This can help you take advantage of discounts and reduce food waste. 

Dishwasher: Using a dishwasher efficiently can save on water and energy costs compared to handwashing dishes. 

Water filter: Using a water filtration system on your refrigerator or installing a water filter on taps can save money on bottled water and reduce the need for expensive water delivery services. As an added benefit, water filters can reduce the number of plastic bottles that eventually clog landfills. 

Portable Electric Heaters: Turn down the heat and use portable heaters in rooms that are used frequently. Keeping the thermostat at a lower temperature could save money. 

Remember that while these appliances can help you save money over time, it’s also important to consider factors like energy efficiency and proper maintenance to maximize your savings. When it’s time to replace older appliances, opt for energy-efficient models, such as ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, which can reduce your energy and water bills. 

Everything You Need to Know About Induction Cooking

Home cooks are fortunate to have three solid options for cooking methods in ranges and cooktops—gas, standard electric and induction. While induction ranges make up less than 5 percent of all electric ranges, according to AHAM factory shipment data, that percentage has grown in recent years. In 2022, induction cooktops made up about one-third of all electric cooktop shipments, a 6% increase over the previous year.

Induction technology is not new—it was introduced publicly at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair—but many consumers still are not as familiar with induction cooking as they are with its gas and electric counterparts. We have put together a primer on what you need to know about induction cooking if you are thinking about making the switch from gas or electric.

How Induction Cooking Works

Induction ranges and cooktops look a lot like typical glass-top electric models, but they generate heat differently. Induction cooking takes place on a flat glass surface that is equipped with heating coils that create electromagnetic energy. This field induces electric currents in the pans. These currents are activated by iron in cookware. Restated another way, induction cooktops use those electromagnetic fields to create heat in the cookware by generating a magnetic field that induces electrical currents in the metal of the cookware, creating heat. In other words, the cookware itself becomes the heat source, rather than the cooktop.

Electric cooktops, on the other hand, use electric resistance coils or heating elements underneath a ceramic or glass surface to generate heat. The cooktop surface gets hot, which in turn conducts heat to the cookware. Some infrared transfer from the elements through the glass also helps increase the heat of the pan on the glass.

Gas cooktops burn natural gas or propane to create a flame, and the heat from the flame is transferred to the cookware via direct contact with the flame.

With induction, when the iron makes contact with the magnetic field, the iron particles of the pot or pan agitate, causing the pan to heat up quickly while the cooktop remains cool. The induction process occurs quickly; partly because there is no waiting time for a burner to heat up first. Plus, because of the direct transfer from the magnetic field to the iron in the pan, there is hardly any loss of heat, so whatever is being cooked heats up quickly! And only the pan, and what is in it, gets hot.

When using the appropriate type and size of pan, induction ranges and cooktops heat faster than their electric and gas counterparts, leading to quicker cooking times.

The Induction Cooking Experience

Now that you know a little bit about how induction cooking works, here are six ways your cooking experience might change once you make the switch to induction from gas or electric:

  • Induction cooktops maintain a cool cooking surface. With induction, only the pan and what’s in it get hot. The heating element is not exposed, so there are no fire hazards or risk of burns from the stovetop itself. (Gas and electric ranges and cooktops are also very safe when used as recommended.)
  • Like other smooth-top electrics, induction surfaces are easy to wipe down right after cooking because the surface remains relatively cool. Due to the cooler temps on the glass surface on an induction unit, any spills will not burn onto it. (Gas and electric ranges and cooktops are also simple to clean with the proper technique.)
  •  While it is a popular misconception that you will need to buy all new cookware when you switch to induction, the reality is that most cookware, especially stainless steel and cast-iron cookware, is compatible with induction, as it may already contain iron. If you are shopping for cookware for induction cooktops, look for pots and pans marked ‘induction-compatible’ or ‘induction safe.’ Also, cookware with a flat bottom will provide the best cooking results.
  • Cookware needs to be the correct size and needs to be placed in the center of the heating element in order for it to be properly activated. The pot can’t be too small, off-center, or wobbly, so flat-bottomed pots and pans work best.
  • While most induction cooktops have a setting that allows you to shake the
    pan while cooking, the heating element can cut off prematurely, which can be frustrating until you get the hang of it.
  • Induction cooktops sometimes cause a rattling, whirring, or humming sound as high energy transfers from the magnetic coil to the pan. This sound usually goes away when you turn down the heat or add food to the pot or pan, but it can be surprising (and annoying) for some users. There can also be a sound from the cooling fan for the electronics.

Safety, security, warranty: Why it’s important to have your appliances repaired by authorized providers

Every day, you rely on your appliances to keep yourself and your family safe, clean, fed and comfortable. It’s a disruption when one of them suddenly stops working. When a refrigerator breaks down, it can mean spoiled or unsafe food. A heater or air conditioner that malfunctions means you can be left to suffer through extreme heat or cold. Laundry appliances breaking down mean the clothes start to pile up. The scenarios are at best inconvenient, and at worst put your health or safety at risk.
Regardless of what went wrong, you probably want to have your appliance repaired as quickly as possible. You may call around to a few repair shops to compare prices, availability and expertise. Most will have staff that can repair a refrigerator, clothes washer, range or other appliances. But you also need to make sure they’ve gone through the necessary training to get the job done.

Does it really matter who fixes my appliance?

It does. Authorized service providers have been trained by the appliance manufacturer to service your appliance. This means they have access to both the knowledge and the necessary parts, technical information and, in some cases, software that’s specific to your appliance. Your choice of service providers can have major implications for your appliance’s safety, security and warranty.

Safety: Authorized service providers are required to make repairs with parts and equipment that have been tested and meet specific safety and reliability requirements. Service providers that are not authorized may use substitutes that don’t meet the same rigorous requirements. That, combined with the fact that the service provider may not have proper training on installation, can create safety risks.

Security: Manufacturers, through the development of smart and connected appliances, are bringing consumers to new levels of comfort and convenience. However, as with any connected device, they’re also requiring consumers to pay careful attention to their electronic security. Servicing smart and connected appliances requires special training and access to information that manufacturers make available to authorized providers only. Anyone servicing a smart or connected appliance could potentially have a gateway to the appliance owner’s electronic network. It’s critical that this work be left to authorized providers, who will take the measures necessary to limit exposure.

Warranty: If you still aren’t convinced of the importance of using authorized repair providers, here’s another reason: If you allow an unauthorized repair provider to work on your appliance, or if you attempt to make the repair yourself, you could void your appliance’s warranty. That means that the cost of any future repairs that might have been covered under your warranty will now be your responsibility.

Your appliance’s use and care manual or manufacturer’s website will likely provide information on how you can locate an authorized service provider. In the long run, authorized repairs will likely save you time, increase your peace of mind, and help keep your appliances in top shape.

Kitchen Design Tips for Function and Comfort

For many families, the kitchen is so much more than a place to prepare meals. It’s the heart of a home. It’s a multifunctional space, and often the center of family life. Kitchens are natural gathering places, and they foster connection, communication, and the creation of cherished memories. Kitchens are spaces where culinary skills are passed down from one generation to the next, as parents teach their children how to cook, share family recipes, and instill a love for food and cooking.  

The kitchen is a focal point of the daily routine. It’s where breakfast is prepared before the day begins, and it often serves as a space for family members to grab a quick snack or drink throughout the day. Many families have a kitchen table or island where kids can do their homework or study while parents prepare meals. And of course, kitchens play a central role in celebrating special occasions and holidays, as families gather to prepare and enjoy festive meals, reinforcing the importance of togetherness and tradition.  

With the kitchen being the center of life at home, it’s essential that they live up to their reputation as a multi-use space. That’s where the desire to make the space function at its best comes into play. The good news is that it doesn’t take a massive renovation to make a kitchen more functional! 

Designer Jamie Gold, who is both a Certified Kitchen Designer and Mayo Clinic-Certified Wellness Coach, has vast experience turning kitchens into multi-use spaces. Her book, “Wellness by Design: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness and Happiness,” focuses on designing spaces that promote well-being as well as function. 

Gold breaks down her process into what she calls the five facets of wellness design. They are: 

  • Health and fitness 
  • Safety and security 
  • Accessibility 
  • Functionality 
  • Comfort and joy 

That last facet has particular significance. “People are stressed. They’re anxious,” Gold says. “Adding elements that bring happiness, that lift your mood and add joy is essential to your emotional wellness.” 

Creating a functional space should encompass the following elements: 

First, clear the clutter. When a space like a kitchen takes on multiple functions, non-kitchen objects start to find their way to your kitchen countertops, rather than to their ideal spot. Gold calls these “family landing zones.” You probably have one in your house—it’s where your child puts their backpack or jacket every day when they come home from school. 

“It has been my experience as a designer and as a stepparent that the end of a kitchen island or corner of a counter just becomes a clutter magnet,” Gold says. “You don’t want to have it near your range. It takes up space. It can attract dust and dirt. It can become a fire hazard. The more people you have in your kitchen area at one time, the less clutter you want there.” 

Decluttering can also have psychological benefits. “There’s a definite wellness component,” Gold says. “Clutter can create stress and anxiety.” 

Safety check: Safety should be a priority, particularly around appliances. You might be familiar with the area, but make sure the setup is appropriate for others. “You don’t want someone sitting between your prep area and your cooktop,” Gold says. “You can have seating on an island. Just make sure it isn’t in the cooking zone.” 

Thinking about your kitchen in zones can make it safer and less cluttered. This means each area of the kitchen should be reserved for its intended use. “Your kitchen zones are designed around your appliances and fixtures,” Gold says. “Your dishwasher is part of your prep and cleanup zone. Your refrigerator is part of your food storage zone. Your range is in your cooking zone.” Make sure certain uses don’t encroach on those areas. 

Clear the area of any trip hazards, like pet bowls, charging cables or cords in aisles or walkways. It’s important to make sure the space is accessible for everyone in the house. 

During times when you have more people in the home for longer periods, you should pay more attention to indoor air quality. It’s a good time to make sure your ventilation hood is in working order. A poorly maintained ventilation hood can generate excess noise and affect air quality, neither of which is helpful when you’re trying to cook, or the kids are trying to learn. Add an air cleaner to further improve indoor air quality. 

Assess your portables: Take stock of your portable appliances and decide which should stay in the kitchen and which could be stored elsewhere. You might feel really busy, and you may be looking to save time, so you should also consider what additional appliances might make your life easier. 

This isn’t necessarily about getting rid of portable appliances; it’s about ensuring your kitchen’s maximum function. “Let’s say you have a standard 30-inch cooktop. You might want to supplement with a portable induction burner.” Can you add appliances that give you healthier cooking options? “You might also consider a multi-cook appliance that has sous vide, steam and air frying capabilities.” 

Prioritizing your portables and utilizing multi-function appliances is even more important if you’re working in a small kitchen and need to make the most of your space. A slow-cooker can save time and cut down on foot traffic where space is limited. 

Get away from it all: We live stressful lives. Create a space in your home that allows you to get away from everything that’s happening inside and outside the home. “Have a space that’s electronics free, or where you only allow music through a smart speaker as opposed to news, a space where you can add plants, a fragrance and comforting elements. Scent is a powerful link to comfort and joy.” 

Now that you’ve created a kitchen space that’s usable, efficient, safe, comfortable, and healthy, you’re ready to connect, communicate, and create memories as you celebrate the magic of family time.  

Worrying about Fall Allergies? Follow These Tips to Reduce Triggers


While many people tend to think of spring as peak allergy season, the reality is that millions of people suffer from allergies all year long.  

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases, with more than 100 million Americans suffering from various types of allergies each year.  

Airborne allergens can cause both seasonal allergies and constant, persistent allergies. Many people with allergies have more than one type, with the most common allergy triggers being tree, grass, and weed pollen; mold spores; dust mites; and pet dander.  

In 2021, according to the AAFA, approximately 81 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed withseasonal allergic rhinitis, which is commonly called ‘hay fever.’ That’s around 26% (67 million) of adults and 19% (14 million) of children!  Seasonal allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the Spring and Fall when pollen is traveling in the air. Pollen thrives during warm days and cool nights (that’s why it’s common in spring and fall). 

Seasonal Fall Allergies 

Fall allergies are on the mind of many parents, teachers and students this time of year. Fall can be extremely bothersome for allergy sufferers.  The biggest culprits of hay fever — a general term used to describe late-summer and fall allergies — are pollen and ragweed, according to AAFA.

Ragweed usually starts to release pollen in mid-August, when the days are still warm, and the nights start to get cooler, According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). It can last well into September and October, typically continuing to wreak havoc until the first hard freeze, depending on where you live. It grows wild almost everywhere, especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed pollen is really light, so it spreads far and wide, and even if ragweed doesn’t grow where you live, ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles in the wind!  

Autumn leaves can also trigger allergic reactions for millions of people. While most homeowners find it difficult to keep up with all those pesky leaves, for allergy sufferers, raking leaves presents even greater challenges. It can agitate pollen and mold, releasing it into the air, causing allergy and asthma symptoms to spike. 

Indoor Allergens 

While the great outdoors is the source of most seasonal allergens (which also make their way inside on clothes, shoes, hair, and more), our homes also harbor all sorts of indoor allergens. 

With simple everyday living, all sorts of unseen contaminants and air pollutants are generated, like dirt, dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and even chemicals. 

Then there’s mold and mildew, which can lurk all around your home. If undetected or ignored, mold growth can turn into a serious health issue for everyone living under its roof. 

Tips for Dealing with Allergens 

While there is no cure for allergies many of the appliances you may already have around the house—namely a room air cleaner, vacuum and clothes washer—can help reduce indoor air pollutants and possibly reduce your symptoms. Following are our best tips for dealing with both outdoor and indoor allergens: 

  • Invest in a room air cleaner. Air cleaners can filter out harmful particulates such as tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen, making the air your family breathes cleaner and healthier. 
  • Wash your bed linens and pillowcases in hot water and detergent to reduce allergens; dry them in a hot dryer cycle to kill dust mites. Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce pet dander in your bedding. Use dust mite-proof covers for pillows, comforters, duvets, mattresses, and box springs. 
  • Vacuum frequently. Vacuuming helps keep allergens low, but keep in mind that poor quality vacuums can put dust back into the air. Look for certified asthma- and allergy-friendly vacuums. 
  • Monitor pollen and mold counts. Local media weather reports often include this information during allergy seasons. Try to avoid being outside when pollen counts are highest. 
  • Prevent pollen from getting inside by keeping windows and doors closed. Use air conditioning in warm weather to control dust mites and reduce humidity. Change filters often. 
  • Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. Ask everyone who enters your home to leave their shoes at the door. 
  • Control dust mites by keeping surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered.  

About Portable Air Cleaners 

One of the best tools for combating indoor allergens is investing in an AHAM Verifide® portable room air cleaner. Room air cleaners that are certified through AHAM’s Certification Program have been certified and verified by an independent laboratory, assuring consumers that the product will perform according to the manufacturer’s product claims for suggested room size and the reduction of three common household particulates: tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen, commonly referred to as the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). CADR has been evolving in recent years as more people have become interested in improving their indoor air quality. AHAM has developed standards that measure air cleaners’ removal of microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold, and household chemicals.  

Breathe easier. Learn the facts about clean indoor air here. 

Essential appliances to dry out your home after a flood

Cleaning up your home after a flood can quickly become overwhelming. In addition to property damage, flooding increases the possibility of mold and mildew and can bring other contaminants into the home. You can speed up the drying process by lowering the humidity with dehumidifiers, fans and room air conditioners.

Note: Only use appliances that have not been damaged by flood waters. Appliances may look normal after a flood, but using any that have been immersed in water creates the risk for electric shock and fire.

Follow these tips to reduce humidity in your home during flood recovery:

  • Use a dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air. Position it in a dry area of the house at least six inches from any wall. Make sure the dehumidifier is protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter and avoid using extension cords, as spilled water creates a shock hazard. Set the humidistat to extra dry to remove moisture from room furnishings.
  • Open the house: Open windows when weather permits, if there’s lower humidity outside than inside.
  • Turn on the AC: A room air conditioner can help reduce humidity in the home. Avoid using central air conditioning. If systems are contaminated by dirt, silt or other materials, they’ll spread it around your home.
  • Use fans: Fans will help move humid air outside your home.

How Appliances Can Help You Manage Your Child’s Allergies

If your child is one of the millions who suffers from allergies in the U.S., you know that it can be hard to control their symptoms.  Reducing contact with airborne allergens like dust and pollen can help prevent the onset of symptoms in children. Allergy symptoms can be especially troublesome during back-to-school season, when a combination of illnesses and fall allergies can increase the chances for absences early in the year.

This is where your appliances come in. Air cleaners, vacuums, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can all play a role in reducing allergens and easing allergy symptoms.

Here are a few steps you can take with your appliances that may help ease your child’s fall allergy symptoms:

  • Use a room air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Air cleaners trap many common allergens, including dust and pollen, and can even remove microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold.
  • Keep your room air cleaner running, and operate it in the space where your child spends most of their time. Change the filter as needed.
  • Vacuum the carpet and floors throughout the home on a regular basis and consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If you have a central vacuum, take advantage of its unique abilities. Dirt and pollutants that central vacuums capture are carried through a home’s exhaust system to a central container and don’t require a HEPA filter to remove allergens.
  • Dust mites tend to live on the floor, bedding and furniture. Wash all of them regularly in hot water.
  • Do not hang laundry outside to dry where it may collect pollen and other allergens.  Use a dryer or hang the clothes inside instead.
  • Use a portable room air cleaner in your child’s bedroom to filter airborne particles and help them breathe—and sleep—easier.  A portable room air cleaner that’s received a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) seal may reduce the level of airborne pollutants. CADR is evolving to encompass virus, bacteria and mold as well as the traditional dust, pollen and smoke.
  • If you have an allergy to dust mites or mold, use a dehumidifier. Dust mites tend to thrive in a humid environment. Dehumidifiers can also reduce the humidity that promotes mold growth.
  • Keep windows closed in the car and at home and limit outdoor activities, especially when the pollen count is high.
  • Using a humidifier can help with symptoms like chronic congestion or postnasal drip.
  • Give kids a bath or shower before bed to help remove the allergens that may have collected on them throughout the day. Wash their clothes in hot water, as many allergens can cling to clothing.

Search for and compare models using the AHAM Verifide online directory. You can search by room size to find the models that are most appropriate for your child’s bedroom. Look at the CADR ratings for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen and find the models that have the highest ratings since they will clean your room the fastest.  You can then weigh the importance of product features, such as design and Wi-FI connectivity, to find an air cleaner that fits your needs.