The first question we should ask ourselves is why does carpet cause allergies to some people? It is quite important to understand this especially if you have children at home.
So you come home after work every evening, go on the sofa or on the comfortable shaggy carpet in front of the TV or just to relax and read a book. Suddenly, before even taking a deep breath, you start sneezing. Does this ever happen with some other members of the family? What’s going on?
The truth might be just there under your nose… or feet. Maybe you have thought about it, maybe you haven’t, but carpets are virtual magnets for allergens like dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and other potentially aggravating proteins. Allergens are antigens, typically proteins, that provoke allergic reactions like coughing and sneezing in people with hypersensitive immune systems. Allergies can be triggered by many things found in your home such as carpet, which may contain 100 times more allergens than hard floors [source: howstuffworks.com].
As you may assume, anything can find its way into the welcoming fibers of your carpet. Dust mites and pet dander are two major sources of some of the most aggravating allergens, but other irritants such as dust, mold, dirt, and pollen tracked in from outdoors regularly build up as well. But that’s not all…
To add, the dead skin cells, or dander, of our furry friends, also collects on surfaces like carpet. Pet allergens are especially problematic because they’re sticky and cling to surfaces, and when they’re disturbed, they hang out in the air for a long time. Even people who don’t own pets get exposed to pet dander because its hitches rides on clothing. So basically when you have friends visiting, they might as well bring some pet allergens
Last but also very important is the mold! High humidity, spills from coffee, wine etc., that aren’t cleaned up and leaky ceilings (or pets) can all contribute to mold growth. Even shampooing or damp cleaning your carpet can promote the spread of mold and mildew if you don’t dry it thoroughly. Whenever the source of the mold is disturbed, the spores are dispersed throughout the air. Do not allow carpets to remain wet for more than 24 hours. This will only allow mold and mildew to grow underneath your carpet, causing your allergies to flare. Immediately after a spill, spot dries the area by blotting and not spreading the spill further. This will also prevent the humidity to sip through down to the carpet padding causing even more damage and mildew. If unable to contain the moisture be sure to call a professional deep carpet cleaning service. Professionals have machines with high suction rates.
Not only vacuuming daily or frequently will help improve your allergies but also preventing such allergens into your home. Have mats available outside of every entry in your home to allow visitors to wipe their feet. Have runners in high traffic areas and vacuum these runners or rugs as well. If possible have visitors remove their shoes to avoid dirt inside your home. However, what you may not realize is that there’s actually a right and a wrong way to vacuum. Wrong: cursorily going over the carpet a few times a month with the model you inherited from your grandmother. Right: investing in a model with tight connections (to prevent allergens from escaping) and vacuuming thoroughly one to two times a week. If you have severe allergies, try to hand off vacuum duty to someone who doesn’t or wear a dust mask.
On the other side, if you haven’t picked out yet the carpet, do your allergies and your kids a favor by choosing one with a short, tight weave rather than long, loose fibers. The shorter the carpet fibers and the more tightly woven they are, the less inviting the carpet will be to allergens and the easier it will be to clean. Alternatively, you can select smaller machine-washable rag rugs or carpet tiles that can be washed in the hot water necessary to kill mites and other allergens.
Here are some of our suggestions:
Or the beautiful light version
The type of carpet in the home will impact the results of cleaning. Different types of carpet are easier to clean than others. In a study of cat allergen in carpets, the carpets that were easiest to clean were short, low-pile carpets made of high density, low surface area fibers, and coated in fluorocarbon The study did not examine dust mite allergen, but it is likely the type of carpet will also impact the removal of this allergen.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Indoor Allergies.” 2005. (June 25, 2008) http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9
- Carpet and Rug Institute. “Green Label/Green Label Plus.” 2008. (June 25, 2008)http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/selecting-the-right-carpet-or- rug/green-label.cfm
- E-healthy-homes. “Info about Dust Mite Control.” 2008. (June 25, 2008)http://www.e-healthy-homes.com/dust_mite_control.asp
- Green Guide. “Carpets.” Jan.1, 2005. (June 25, 2008)http://www.thegreenguide.com/reports/product.mhtml?id=35
- Howard, Joanna. “Carpet Tiles and Area Rugs.” Green Guide. November/December 2005. (June 25, 2008)http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/111/carpets
- Lundgren, Linnea and Jeff Wald, MD. “How to Allergy-Proof Your Home.” HowStuffWorks. 2008. (June 25, 2008)https://health.howstuffworks.com/how-to-allergy-proof-your-home.htm
- McRandle, P.W. “Carpets: Think Small.” Green Guide. November/December 2003. (June 25, 2008)http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/99/carpet
- Pennybacker, Mindy. “Rethinking Carpet.” January/February 2001. (June 25, 2008)http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/86-87/pennybacker1