Living with asthma or allergies? Carpet is an allergen catcher: studies show that carpeted rooms have lower levels of dust-borne allergens than rooms with hard surface floors. Unlike hard surfaces, which collect dust bunnies, carpet fibers can trap allergens and hold them until you remove them with a strong vacuum.
Remove the majority of allergens from carpet—and significantly reduce mite populations—by regular vacuuming (using a high-efficiency filter) and by periodic cleaning with the hot-water extraction or steam-cleaning method.
Carpets and allergens—answers to some common misconceptions
Some bio-pollutants, such as animal dander, dust mites, and mold, have been linked to allergies and asthma—and many of these substances are commonly found in the home. It’s important to understand that the mere presence of allergens does not pose a hazard. For an allergen to have an impact on human systems, it must be inhaled; and for inhalation to occur, it must be airborne.
Carpet acts as a trap for allergens
Carpet is capable of holding significant quantities of soil, dust, etc., without appearing dirty. Carpet is quite efficient at keeping allergens and other small particles such as pollen out of the air. In fact, data from a Swedish government study indicates that when use of carpet declined, the number of people reporting allergy problems increased.
Regular cleaning using a vacuum with a high-efficiency filter and periodic cleaning using hot-water extraction (“steam cleaning”) removes the majority of allergen from carpet as well as significantly reducing mite populations.
Research on carpet
STUDY: AIRBORNE CONTAMINANTS HIGHER OVER TILED FLOORS THAN OVER CARPET
In 2002, two schools in North Carolina were the subject of a study conducted by Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina investigators. One school had mostly resilient tile floors, while the other was 70-75% carpeted. The study found that airborne contaminants, possible sources of allergens, were higher over the tiled floors than over carpet.
STUDY: PARTICULATE CONCENTRATION FROM FOOT TRAFFIC MEASURED FOUR TIMES HIGHER OVER VINYL THAN CARPET
Also in 2002, Professional Testing Laboratory studied the effect of foot traffic on air quality, using commercial carpet and commercial vinyl flooring. Following 16 minutes of foot traffic over both surfaces, the particulate concentration over the vinyl floor was found to be four times that of carpet.
MISC. STUDIES: CARPET REDUCES EXPOSURE TO PARTICULATES.
Other studies, including one using Computational Fluid Dynamics, have reinforced these findings and concluded that carpets actually reduce exposure to particulates and potential adverse health effects.
SCIENTIFIC PAPER: CONCLUSIONS DISPEL CARPET MYTHS
In a recent paper, “Carpet, Asthma and Allergies—Myth or Reality,” Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT, examined numerous scientific studies and other research contradicting some long-held beliefs on carpet’s alleged negative characteristics.
Sauerhoff concluded, “…based on the available science, carpet does not cause asthma or allergies and does not increase the incidence or severity of asthma or allergies symptoms. In fact, with respect to asthma and allergies, multiple studies have reported fewer allergy and asthma symptoms associated with carpet.”
Decorate with Confidence
Dimensional elements have never been more important. Among the hottest trends are tactile and textural surfaces that feature subtle gradations, contrasting embroidery, or hand-worked qualities like scraping, polishing, and burnishing. These surfaces are appealing to the senses and provide an affordable one-of-a-kind look.