Is Carpet Actually Bad For Allergies?

It is a common misconception that carpet can adversely impact allergy and asthma sufferers, when in fact the opposite is true. Not only does carpet add warmth and comfort to any room, it also helps keep the air free of allergens and pollutants with proper cleaning.

Over the past few years, people have been led to believe that carpet aggravates allergy symptoms, by harboring dust and pet dander in the fibres. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, studies around the world have come to a different conclusion: that carpet actually decreases harmful particles in the air by trapping them in the carpet. Properly cleaned carpet is a viable choice for families impacted by allergies and asthma, but the catch is you have to vacuum! Regular vacuuming removes the particles from the surface of the carpet to be disposed of. In the case of hard surface flooring such as laminate or hardwood, the simple act of walking on the floors and sweeping causes them to be expelled back into your air.

Simply put, what falls to the carpet (such as allergens, common dust, pet dander and other pollutants) tends to stay on the carpet until it is vacuumed, unlike smooth surfaces that allow these particles to re-circulate. Properly maintained carpet leads to improved air quality and a healthier indoor environment. Regular vacuuming with an efficient vacuum cleaner locks pollutants in the machine and removes them from the air you breathe.

Here are some stats from the Carpet and Rug Institute:

1. A study in Ireland shows that "effectively cleaned carpets can trap allergens and other particles, resulting in fewer particles escaping into the air."

2. A study on childhood asthma from 2005, known as the Inner-City Asthma Study, concluded that there was no difference in symptom improvement or allergen levels in carpeted homes vs. uncarpeted homes.

3. A 15-year Swedish study found there to be no link between the use of carpet and incidents of asthma or allergy. The study also found that when carpet usage in Sweden decreased by 70%, allergic reactions increased by 30%.

4. Research and toxicology reports in Canada have concluded that children and adults living with carpet do not have an increased incidence of asthma or allergy.

As stated, effectively cleaned carpet is the best way to combat allergies and raise indoor air quality. Here are some tips to help you vacuum effectively.

  • Vacuum regularly and thoroughly. It is simply the best and easiest way to care for your carpet, with the added benefit of improving indoor air quality.
  • Use slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence. A quick once-over doesn't do much!
  • Don't ignore the corners or crevices where dust builds.
  • Use the proper attachments to clean those difficult to reach areas.
  • Clean from the top-down! Dust blinds, windowsills, and furniture surfaces first, then vacuum.
  • Remember to empty vacuum canisters or change bags when they are half to two-thirds full.
  • For best results, professionally deep clean your carpet every 12-18 months.

To read more about the studies that were done by Shaw Floors, including how they performed their studies, click here.

Visit the Carpet and Rug Institute website for the full stats and more tips on keeping your home free of asthma and allergies, and their article: Breathe Easier By Installing Carpet.

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