Carpet installations in O’Fallon, Belleville and surrounding areas tend to bring up some of the same questions time and time again for local homeowners.
One of those questions is: are carpets good or bad for allergies?
Carpet flooring can make for an inviting, cushy and insulated floor during the Midwest winter, but what about in spring and fall? Is it a trap for all the allergens that make us miserable? And how is it that there are people arguing both sides of the coin, shouldn’t science have an answer either way?
Historical attitudes toward carpet
Carpets have historically been regarded as bad news for anyone who suffers from allergies or asthma. For generations, sufferers have been advised to the point of extremes like removing all carpet in their homes.
The idea behind this common caution is straightforward: carpet fibers trap dirt, pollutants and allergens that make us miserable. There’s not much arguing about that.
Is there anything to counter that?
In the last 20 years, some high-profile studies have challenged the once-universal idea that carpeting is inherently evil. These studies have had especially interesting findings that take into consideration the new types of carpet materials and styles available today.
Here’s one example…
European Community Respiratory Health Survey
One carpet-related study—including more than 19,000 people across 18 countries—was conducted in 2002 and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The study looked at the relationship between household moisture, mold exposure, and dust mites with asthma in adults.
What did they find? Fitted carpets and space rugs in the bedroom were actually related to fewer asthma symptoms.
How was that possible?
Most recent studies acknowledge that we need more information before making “do or die” statements about carpet. There seems to be a trend, however, in carpet cleaning and maintenance and the flooring’s success in homes with sufferers of allergies or asthma.
The Mayo Clinic, for instance, recommends:
“Carpet can absolutely be used in homes where someone suffers from allergies or asthma. Use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Shampoo the carpet frequently.”
Cleaning is a “must”
Maintenance of carpeting is clearly required to “breathe easy.” If you want to stay healthier at home and think your carpet is in need of some attention, start with regular vacuuming and professional cleanings every 12 to 18 months (depending on your manufacturer’s warranty requirement).
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