If you cannot stop sneezing or itching whenever you are home, your plush, beautiful carpet may be giving you more than a dose of house pride. Carpeting can make a room feel cozy. But it can also house allergens, which get kicked into the air whenever it is walked on. This can happen even in the cleanest house.
Carpet fiber, padding, and the glue which are required material to hold them together can also cause allergic reactions in some people. If you cannot figure out why your eyes are itchy or your nose will not stop running when you are home, your carpet may be the thing to blame.
When the issue comes to allergies and asthma, carpets are considered as the biggest enemy. Individuals who are living with asthma and symptoms of allergy have been advised to remove all carpet in their homes because carpets trap allergens in it. It is believed that this exacerbates the symptoms of these conditions. Allergy and asthma sufferers are mostly advised to remove carpeting by a great many reputable sources.
Carpet is a virtual magnet for allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and other potentially aggravating proteins. Allergens are antigens, typically proteins, which 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.
Allergens trapped in the carpet are especially troubling for families with small children. Children’s immune systems are more sensitive to foreign substances like the ones found in the carpet, and they spend a lot of their time closer to the ground.
The carpeting in the bedroom can be especially problematic because it exposes you to carpet dust throughout the night. Hard-surface flooring such as vinyl, tile or wood is much easier to keep free of dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens.
High-pile or long-pile carpeting, such as shag or frieze rugs, are composed of long, loose fibers. These provide allergens with places to stick and mold with places to grow. Low-pile or short-pile carpets have a tighter, shorter weave, so allergens have less room to hide. However, this does not mean that low-pile carpets cannot provide a cozy home for dust, dirt, and pollen.
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. Dust mites hide deep in carpeting, bedding, and furniture, especially in warm, humid environments. High humidity, spills that are not cleaned up and leaky ceilings can all contribute to mold growth. Even shampooing or damp cleaning the carpet can promote the spread of mold and mildew if you do not dry it thoroughly.
Anything that you might be allergic to the outside could also become a potential problem inside. As you traipse into your living room after a nice walk through your yard, you may also be bringing in loads of pollen and dust.
Carpets are composed of two parts, the upper pile you see and a backing layer underneath. It is possible to be allergic to substances in either part. The upper layer can be made of a variety of natural or synthetic fibers. For example; wool, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, jute, sisal, seagrass, and coconut. Carpet padding is made from bonded urethane foam, composed of recycled remnants from car parts, furniture, and mattresses. It may contain a wide variety of potential allergens, including formaldehyde and styrene.
Carpet or no carpet? Timber or tiles? Vacuum or mop? Making decisions about the right flooring for your home can be tricky when you have asthma or allergies. Some sources say people with asthma and allergies should replace carpet with hard flooring, but this is not always the best option. Carpets can trap allergens in their pile, while hard floors allow the allergens to float around. However, some modern carpets contain products that reduce mold and dust mites, which are common asthma and allergy triggers. For anyone with asthma and allergies, it is important to consider what the triggers are in your home to make sure you find the most suitable product.
Carpet Allergy Solutions: Cleaning is Essential
If you are allergic to the materials your carpet is made of, removing your carpets may be your best and most comfortable option. If you are allergic to the irritants hiding in your carpet, allergy-proofing your home may help. If people with allergy or asthma insist on carpet but have not picked it out yet, do their allergies 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.
Some maintenance of carpet is required to be able to truly breathe easy. Vacuuming is a good start. Regular, thorough vacuuming of carpeting is essential in order to remove these allergens from the environment completely. For cut-pile carpets, using a vacuum with a beater bar or powerhead attachment is most effective. Effectively cleaned carpet is the best way to combat allergies and raise indoor air quality. There 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 does not do much!
- Do not 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.
As a wrong vacuuming way, cursorily going over the carpet a few times a month with the model you inherited from your grandmother. As a right vacuuming way, investing in a model with tight connections to prevent allergens from escaping and a built-in HEPA filter and vacuuming thoroughly one to two times a week. If you have severe allergies, you may want to try to hand off vacuum duty to someone who does not or wear a dust mask.
Clean your existing carpet regularly in order to help reduce allergy-related problems. You should vacuum the carpeting in high-traffic or pet areas of your home daily in order to remove dust, pet dander, and other allergy-inducing particles. For medium-traffic spaces, you should vacuum about two times a week and light-traffic areas weekly. Acquire a professional carpet cleaner at least once a year to clean your carpets via hot water extraction to effectively remove embedded dirt that regular vacuuming cannot extract.
Mostly it is also recommended that periodic deep shampooing of the carpeting should be done in homes where allergy or asthma sufferers live. You should also have it professionally cleaned with either steam cleaning or dry cleaning every six months. You have to make sure it dries completely afterward so the dampness will not attract mold or mites. Cleaning up any spills promptly will also help to prevent the growth of mold.
Steam cleaning carpet on a regular basis can help reduce the presence of dust mites and other allergens in your home. If that is not enough, replacing carpeting with hard flooring may be a good idea. Place a heavy-duty mat outside each entry door to wipe your shoes before entering the interior spaces. In addition, get in the habit of removing your shoes upon entering your home to track less dirt on the carpets. To request visitors entering your home remove their shoes in order to keep from bringing in foreign substances could be another step.
The type of carpet in the home will impact the results of cleaning. Different types of carpet are easier to clean than others. The carpets that are easiest to clean are short, low-pile carpets made of high density, low surface area fibers, and coated in fluorocarbon. Many people are allergic to more than one allergen. Even if the carpet cleaning is to remove a large amount of one allergen, the allergy sufferer may not feel relief because carpet cleaning has not impacted their other allergens.
Is Carpet Really Bad for People with Allergy?
If you suffer from allergies it might impact the type of floor you choose for your home. Some people believe that the hardwood floor is best for allergies and carpet is bad for allergies. The reason carpet is recommended due to its function as a filter. Most people do not think of carpet as a filter, but it is. Similar to the filter in your car or vacuum or a HEPA filter in your home, carpet traps various particles and contaminants.
Every allergen imaginable lives on the carpet. If your carpet is dirty it will have dust mites and dust and toxins in it along with dirt and bacteria. This is why people believe it is unhealthy and that you should choose hardwood floors. But think about it. Are the allergens causing any harm if they are trapped in your carpet? Not really. You still want them gone because you want a clean and beautiful home and professional carpet cleaning solves that, but your allergies will not be worse because of it.
Now think about hardwood floors. If dust or particles and allergens are in the air in your home and settle onto hardwood flooring they will not be trapped there for long at all. Soon the allergens will recirculate in the air and swirl around your eyes, nose, and mouth.
What Kind of Carpet is Best for People with Allergy?
In today’s world, there are many carpets made of synthetic materials that you can find on the market. These are much better for allergy sufferers because the materials repel allergens. The most effective allergy-controlling carpet fibers are nylon. The least effective is wool because allergens and mold thrive there. In addition, shag carpeting should be avoided because the shorter the strands the less area there is for particles to be trapped in. Similarly, more tightly woven strands are also better at keeping allergens away. Furthermore, it is important to purchase carpeting with a low VOC level to ensure your home is safe of toxic emissions which, aside from more serious health issues, can also cause allergic reactions.
Not only naturally beautiful, but hardwood floors are also a great choice for people with asthma or allergies as it does not trap allergens or provide an environment for them to grow. The one thing to keep in mind though is that on hard floors, dust and particles are more likely to float around on the surface and hide in corners, so regularly mopping and spot cleaning with an anti-static cloth is important.
If like many people you love the carpet in the bedroom, choose a variety that actively repels dirt and mold. One of the best options is a naturally hypoallergenic wool carpet. Another benefit with wool is that it absorbs common airborne contaminants, associated with day to day living like cooking fumes, deodorants and smoke from fire-places, which helps improve air quality.
When installing a new carpet there are several steps you can take to prevent aggravating allergies. For one, have your carpet installer unroll and air out the carpet in a well-ventilated area before installing it. Additionally, have any sensitive individuals leave your home during and immediately following the installation. Once installed, you have to be sure to ventilate the room properly by opening windows and using fans to increase the amount of fresh air exchanged in the room. This will send away dust and other particles that came with the carpet.
Proper maintenance of your carpet will also help reduce allergy-related problems. You have to be sure to vacuum and clean your carpet regularly. You should also consider hiring professional carpet cleaners to perform a periodic deep clean using steam and other methods.
If you have small children it is especially important to take the precautions. For one, children’s immune systems are more sensitive to foreign substances like the ones found in carpets. In addition, small children spend a lot of their time either on the ground or standing not too high off of it.