Driving With The Enemy: Tips For Battling Spring Pollen

Cabin Filter Needs Replacement
Replace cabin filter to improve interior freshness

Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Sneezing and wheezing?

A healthy ride starts with a clean cabin air filter and some easy tips to reduce pollen problems.

Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Sneezing and wheezing?

Your vehicle and its cabin may be exacerbating allergic reactions this spring. It can become a traveling petri dish for mold spores, dust mites and pollen.

Consider, your vehicle gets surrounded in a cloud of pollen and dust. Windy spring days are especially troublesome for allergy sufferers, yet rolling up the windows is not enough to keep your cabin allergy-free.

“More than 24 million people in the U.S. have seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly referred to as hay fever,” said Kenneth Mendez, president of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. “Pollen allergies are a major cause.”

For starters, allergens can travel into your vehicle cabin through the ventilation system.

Consider replacing your vehicle’s cabin air filter. A clean cabin air filter can reduce dust, bacteria, pollen and mold spores--contaminants that trigger allergies.

There are some ways to fight back against spring allergies, however. Here are some easy tips for a sniffle-free drive:

  • Replace your vehicle cabin air filter. A dirty cabin air filter can contribute to musty odors, reduce air circulation, hamper the climate control system and lose its ability to catch those small allergen particles such as pollen and dust.
  • Roll up the vehicle windows and set your climate control system to “recirculate.”
  • Clean and vacuum seats and seat covers with products intended for use on vehicle upholstery. Allergens and dust mites can get embedded in the cloth fibers.
  • Drivers and passengers can unwittingly transfer dust mites from their clothes to the vehicle interior. Regular cleaning and vacuuming can keep their prolific populations in check during the warm, moist days of spring.
  • Clean and vacuum floor mats. Dirt and dust accumulated throughout winter are one of the primary causes of allergies as well as dust mites.
  • Invest in all-weather floor mats. They’re easy to wash and vacuum, allergens can’t get trapped in the material and dust mites cannot establish a colony in the rubber material.
  • Remove wet towels, used paper towels or napkins, rags, gym clothes and sweaty gear. They are prime sources of allergens. Mold loves dark, warm and moist environments--keep your cabin and cargo areas dry.
  • Clean up food and spills from the last time you visited a take-out restaurant. They provide an excellent habitat for the growth of mold spores. Promptly discarding sticky wrappers, to-go cups and used beverage containers helps prevent your vehicle from turning into a petri dish.
  • Use a terrycloth or microfiber towel to remove pollen and dust quickly without damaging the vehicle finish. Pollen and dust can find its way into the cabin whenever you brush up against the surface of your vehicle.
  • Wipe off the dashboard, shifter, steering wheel, vents and other surfaces where allergens can accumulate.
  • Remove pet dander from clothes, surfaces and pet travel areas of your vehicle. Brushing and bathing furry friends can help keep your riding partner from triggering your allergies.