Carpet is always in season. It’s comfortable to sit or play on, provides insulation, reduces noise and it makes a room warm and cozy. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, the simple thought of carpet in your home might be enough to send you into a coughing fit.
While hardwood or laminate flooring can help avoid some allergens, carpet actually improves indoor air quality by trapping dust mites, pollen and pet dander, which keeps these and other particles from circulating in the air.
We’ll show you how carpet is an excellent choice for everyone, including people with asthma and allergies.
Carpet Allergy Symptoms
Everyday allergens like pet dander, pollen, microscopic insect parts, dust, dust mites or mold exist in every home (whether you have carpet or not). If you’re allergic to these, you may suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
- watery eyes
- scratchy throat
- runny nose
- itchy skin
- shortness of breath
- chest pressure
Aside from allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) also could be present in carpet. VOCs are compounds that easily become vapors or gases and they’re released from building materials/furnishings and other consumer products. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, carpet is recognized as one of the lowest emitters of VOCs among various flooring choices and interior finishes. But, new carpet, padding and adhesives can bring on allergy symptoms through common chemical emissions. Some people report headaches, skin rash, cough or other symptoms after installation, but these emissions (and any minor odors that could accompany them) dissipate within a few days. Whether you experience these symptoms or not, make sure you increase the ventilation in the area during and after installation. Open the windows and doors, and also use fans to increase the amount of fresh air exchange.
What is the Best Carpet for Allergies?
Carpet and padding are available in a variety of fibers and heights, but some are better than others at controlling indoor allergies.
Synthetic fibers – primarily nylon and polyester – actually repel allergens. They are not organic so mold has nothing to eat and pollen dries out. On the other hand, natural fibers like wool should be avoided because allergens can thrive in it. If sustainable materials are important to you, you can still ask for a water-based, low-VOC glue to install your carpets.
As for pile height, the shorter the strands the better. Pollen and other particles have fewer places go in short, tightly woven strands. Simply put: avoid frieze/shag.
Carpet Care to Reduce Allergies
Now that you know about allergy symptoms and what carpet to avoid, let’s talk about how to take care of your carpet. A maximized cleaning routine will help minimize allergens and manage your symptoms. Start by following these steps:
- Ask visitors to leave their shoes at the door. Many allergy triggers, like pollen, move into your home on your shoes.
- Vacuum at least once per week. Wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid inhaling allergens, and stay out of the vacuumed room for 20 minutes so any unswept dust settles.
- Use a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air filter). The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology dictates that HEPA filters must trap 99.97% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger. Look for true or absolute HEPA filters which have a serial number assigned to them and will have these test results printed on the filter. HEPA filters are available for vacuum cleaners, whole-house furnaces or as free-standing devices for individual rooms.
- Shampoo and/or steam-clean carpet at least once per year. If you have pets, do it twice per year. Call a professional or purchase your own steamer.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
Microscopic creatures called dust mites live in carpet, mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture and curtains. They feed on skin flakes that people and pets shed daily. Without proper cleaning of all household surfaces, these tiny pests will take allergies and asthma from bad to worse.
While you’ll never completely prevent dust mites, if you combine the carpet care routine above with these tips below, you will absolutely reduce the number of dust mites in your home:
- Set a dehumidifier to keep your indoor humidity level between 30% and 50%. That’s a safe middle ground between a warm, humid environment where dust mites thrive and overly dry air that can make your symptoms worse.
- Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130° – 140°F). If you can’t wash it, you can still freeze it overnight to kill dust mites.
- Dust from high to low using an electrostatic or microfiber cloth. Traditional feather dusters and plain cloths don’t really capture dust. They just stir it up into the air. Removing dust requires the combination of the right cloth – and vacuuming afterward.
- Steam clean upholstered furniture and curtains. This is especially important for furniture if a pet sits on it, to reduce dust and pet dander. Your carpet cleaner might have an attachment for upholstery, or ask your carpet cleaning, contractor, to do it when they do the carpets.
It’s easier than you think to combat allergies and achieve the beautiful flooring you’ve always dreamed of. Regardless of what material you choose for your floors, regular cleaning is the key to managing allergens in your home.
Visit National Design Mart to learn about our carpet allergy solutions, and we’ll help make your space nothing to sneeze at.
Other Carpet Products We Carry
If you are looking for carpet remnants, look no further. We have over 500 remnants ranging from sizes 12x7 to 12x28 in many colors and textures. All of the in-stock carpet remnants are 50% off the suggested retail price.
The right carpet pad is as important as the carpet itself. We stock carpet pad for every need and price range. National Design Mart has many carpet pads from which to choose. The pads we stock are the 3/8 8lb, 3/8 5 lb, 3/8 4lb, 7/16 10lb, 7/16 6lb, ¼ 8lb. NDM uses the correct padding to meet all carpet manufactures standards.
“Green” carpet, stain resistant and more!
Next Step – Learn More and Feel the Carpet
Come see our many styles and textures of carpeting. Ask our experts any questions.
Visit us in store, contact us here or call 330-721-1914.