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If you’re considering installing carpets in your house, or already have carpeting, you could be undermining your fight against allergy symptoms. How so?
Simply put, carpets act like Velcro to environmental allergens. They catch and hold onto pollen, dust mites, dander, and hair. In addition, carpets are known to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), harbor pesticides, and contain flame retardant chemicals.
It doesn’t matter what environmental allergen you’re allergic to because even outdoor allergens like pollen make their way into our homes. You can keep your doors and windows closed, however, pollen will still enter your home on clothes, shoes, and pets.
I was diagnosed with allergies a few years ago, but I experienced allergy symptoms my whole life (it just took me a long time to realize it). I grew up in a house with carpeting and moved into apartments with carpeting when I went to college.
I always liked carpet. It was soft, warm, and comfortable. I never realized that it played a major role in my health!
In this article, I’ll share my experience with carpets and allergies and I’ll share what my doctor told me about carpets.
#1 Carpets Are Allergy Traps
Have you ever noticed lint or hair stuck to your carpet? Sure you can pick it off the carpet or vacuum it but there are many other substances we can’t see that attach themselves to our carpets.
Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye, as are pollen and pet dander. These allergens stick to materials with fuzzy, soft texture. Carpets have plenty of nooks and crannies for dust and dirt to penetrate.
#2 Carpets Are Extremely Difficult To Clean
Vacuuming removes allergens and dirt from the surface of the carpet but over time, our movement across our carpets pushes dirt and dust deep inside, making it almost impossible for a vacuum to capture.
Your vacuum should use a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter will contain the smallest of allergens like dust mites and cat allergens.
If your vacuum doesn’t have a HEPA filter you vacuum is blowing microscopic allergens around your house!
#3 Carpet Shampooing Is A Wise Idea But Won’t Fix The Problem Entirely
Many people think that a deep cleaning or shampooing is the answer for carpets. It’s a wise decision and great for stains and dirt, but a carpet cleaner still won’t be able to get the dirt and dust on the bottom of the carpet.
#4 Do You Have Carpets and Pets (Yikes)
If you have pets, you might be adding to the misery of allergies. Pets are notorious for dander (the combination of shed skin and hair). Dander is food for dust mites. Pets also bring in pollen and dirt from outside.
If you have pets, consider changing your carpets every 5 years!
#5 Carpets Are Full Of Chemicals
Carpets might make your allergies worse to dust, pollen, and pets, but did you know that carpets often contain loads of chemicals?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most carpets emit VOCs for a period of time after installation. Some include chemicals to make carpet flame retardant and insect free (pesticides).
If you’re installing carpet, look for the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) “Green Label” to view the VOC level of emissions.
There are also carpet options that are 100% wool, however, most carpets are made from nylon.
#6 Observe The Dirt and Dust When You Remove Carpets
If you or someone that you know is removing their carpet, make a point to see how it’s removed. Carpets usually have padding underneath, however, dirt and dust still find their way through it.
Observe the amount of dust that enters the air when the carpet is being removed. Also, note the dirt that needs to be swept up after removing the carpet.
Viewing the removal of a carpet can be an eye-opening experience, after which you may decide not to install it!
Life Without Carpets
If you’ve ever lived in a house without carpets the floor can seem hard and cold. It’s true, carpets are much more comfortable. However, carpets might not be comfortable for your health.
Since removing the carpets in my house I’ve noticed an improvement in my health. The indoor air appears to be cleaner as well.
I’ve noticed that cleaning the floor is much easier. In most cases, I don’t even use a vacuum. I only need a Swiffer to move around the house and it cleans up surface dust and debris.
I still use rugs and I take them outside once every few weeks to shake out the dust.
Overall, life without carpets has made my house cleaner and my life easier due to less time spent cleaning.
I just gave you 7 reasons why carpets are horrible for allergies.
Carpets are warm and cozy. They are great for winter days and getting out of bed (cold feet are never fun).
Carpets can, however, be awful for allergies. They catch and hold onto dust, pollen, and pet dander. They’re extremely tough to clean even if you use a shampooer.
In addition, carpets can harbor chemicals and VOCs that are a known hazard to humans.
Considering the pros and cons of having carpets, I made the decision to get rid of carpets and use hard flooring. Currently, my home has a combination of wood, tile, and cork floors. I like the cork floors best because they have a little spring to them. I still use rugs but I make a point to shake them out a few times every month.
If you have allergies you might be right that carpets are adding to your symptoms. Removing them can be a great step to improving your health.
Thanks for reading another Dust Mite Solutions blog post. I share my experience to help others learn how to reduce allergies inside the home!