When you imagine the perfect space, you probably think of comfortable furniture, soothing colors – a place where you feel completely at ease. The last thing you want to have to consider is whether or not you’ll be able to breathe! If you suffer from allergies or asthma, then you know how debilitating these insidious annoyances can be. It’s natural, then, to think carefully about the type of flooring you choose for your home. People who are sensitive to chemicals, worry about dust mites, or are concerned about the environment might question whether carpet is right for them.
First, Let’s Bust a Few Carpet Myths.
For years, people with allergies have avoided installing or keeping carpet in their homes. Common wisdom suggested that tile or hardwood floors were better choices for keeping allergens out. Well, you may be surprised! In fact, the removal of carpet does not reduce the number of airborne allergens that can cause sneezing, headaches, and itchy eyes. Let us explain …
While some believe that new carpets emit chemicals into the indoor environment, this problem has been largely remedied. Determined to lower the chemical emissions from new carpet, the carpet industry performed a number of tests and ultimately updated their manufacturing standards. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that carpet emits a very low level of chemicals, lower than recommended guidelines. We recommend that you install your carpet in a well-ventilated space. If you are still concerned about the chemicals involved in carpet installation, contact the manufacturer.
But what about older carpets being worse for allergies? The bad news is that, no matter how much you clean, some airborne allergies will find their way inside your home. However, while carpets can soak up dust and pet dander that can make your sinuses go crazy, there is a silver lining: Carpet fibers actually do a good job of trapping allergens, preventing them from circulating in the air. As long as you regularly vacuum and clean your carpet, these airborne allergens shouldn’t cause a huge concern. And with more and more “green” products becoming available, it’s possible to install that gorgeous carpeting you’ve been imagining without worry. So, if you’ve hesitated installing comfortable, eye-catching carpet in your home, hesitate no longer!
What are the Best Carpets for Allergy Sufferers?
If you do decide to buy carpet for your home, buy smart. First of all, look for carpet labeled low VOC (volatile organic compound). This will help you avoid carpet treatments that can affect indoor air quality. Ask your carpet retailer about the type of carpet padding and glue they’ll be using to install your flooring. There are plenty of “green” alternatives available, usually marked Green Label or Green Label Plus, and your retailer will be happy to help you choose the best products for your needs.
As for which carpet fibers to look for, you have options! Nylon and olefin carpets resist moisture, repel dirt and allergens, and are considered the most effective types of carpet for asthma and allergy sufferers. Polyester and Triexta fibers also provide hypoallergenic alternatives. Luckily, most fibers used in carpets that are mass-produced today are made up of these allergen-repelling materials.
Whichever carpet you buy, be sure to avoid shag. The shorter and more tightly-woven the strands, the better off you’ll be. You’ll also want to follow these tips …
Tips to Keep Your Allergy Symptoms Down.
You can do your best to control the environment in your home, but unfortunately, you can’t always control what floats on the air. These tips, at least, will help you keep allergies to a minimum.
Take your shoes off.
Getting into the habit of removing your shoes before you step onto your carpet can actually help. We recommend putting floor mats by each entrance in your home and slipping off those shoes before you walk around. If you do this, you’ll track less dirt on your carpets.
Check your air filter.
Investing in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter might do a better job at removing airborne allergens than any choice of flooring we can recommend. Be sure to invest in an air filter that will help reduce your allergy symptoms. Some vacuums are equipped with these filters, too!
For areas with a lot of foot traffic, vacuuming once or twice a week can keep allergens from piling up in your carpet. It may seem like common sense, but it’s worth repeating: Suck up those allergens and get them out of your space so you’re not releasing them with each step you take.
Get your carpet deep-cleaned at least once a year.
A professional cleaning can remove any residual hard-to-vacuum dirt embedded in your carpet. Doing this at least once a year can make a huge difference in your quality of life. Give us a call if you’d to breathe a little easier with a thorough professional cleaning.