Carpets Can Become Main Sources of Allergies: Fact or Myth?

allergy-testWho doesn’t love carpets? They are soft and practical, enhance acoustic and thermal insulation, and make environments cozy. But they can also cause allergies. Fact or Myth? The truth is that there are opposing opinions about the impact of carpets on human health and the debate between experts and allergy sufferers is still ongoing.

Recent studies by expert carpet institutes around the world show that carpets are not harmful to human health whereas the dominating opinion so far has been that carpets can cause or worsen allergies. So who and what should we believe? The fact of the matter is that things are not so simple. Carpets may not be directly hazardous to human health, however under certain conditions, they can play a detrimental role in the aggravation of upper respiratory illnesses in susceptible populations.

Finding #1: Recent studies show that carpets don’t cause allergies

Those who advocate that carpets do not cause allergies rely on recent studies conducted around the world. A study by the German Allergy and Asthma Society in 2005 showed that carpet fibers trap dust and allergens and keep them out of the breathing zone whereas hard floor choices allow particles to move in the indoor air. This approach was also supported by the Canadian Carpet Institute, the American Latex Allergy Association, the Carpet and Rug Institute and similar organizations around the world. After conducting his own studies, Dr. Mitchell W. Sauerhoff also presented similar results in 2008. An extensive study was also held in several European countries and the results (which also included data from India, the US, New Zealand and Australia) were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2002. This study also supported the same argument: carpets don’t harm people.

Finding #2: Carpet cleaning is a presupposition

One thing all studies also had in common is that they advocated that carpets are relatively safe given that they are clean. Although the first approach talks about allergens and dust mites hiding in fibers without the capacity to be released in the air, these studies also consider frequent carpet cleaning an essential factor to one’s good health. Carpets need weekly vacuuming and professional care every few months. This is a presupposition if we want to say that carpets can’t harm us.

Finding #3: Which other carpet problems can affect your health?

Although dust is the number one allergen which can affect the health of people already suffering from asthma or different forms of allergies, it is not the only culprit. Carpets don’t only get dirty with dust, but also with stains. They are often cleaned with products containing chemicals or installed with adhesives which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

To avoid allergies caused by carpets, you don’t only have to make sure they are cleaned often, but also:

  • Ventilate the area where new carpets are installed before you use the room.
  • As a matter of preference, choose carpets and rugs with a ‘green’ label.
  • Avoid adhesives and carpet cleaning products which contain chemicals.
  • Clean any and all stains properly, and allow carpets to dry thoroughly in a well-aired room.
  • Avoid wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms, bathrooms, basements and kitchens because mold has the tendency to reproduce prolifically when a carpet is wet. However it is almost impossible not to wet the bathroom or kitchen floor. Flooded basements can also cause a serious problem since mold can grow very fast and spread even faster. And mold spores have the massive potential to cause asthma attacks, skin irritations, nausea and respiratory problems.

All recent studies are optimistic and underline the fact that carpets and allergies do not go hand in hand. However, there is a catch….. The latter only holds true on condition that you follow basic carpet maintenance rules and take the necessary precautions. For professional carpet cleaning in Washington DC, Maryland & Virginia, Call Triangle Legacy. We also provide commercial carpet cleaning services.

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