Great Advice on Carpet and Asthma from an Indiana Carpet CleanerI love it when I find great information online about carpet. In the maelstrom of myth and misinformation surrounding carpet on the internet, every now and then I find a nugget of solid advice. In this case, it’s a blog post written by David Gruttadaurio who owns UBS Clean Care in Indiana.
David’s blog post is entitled, Carpeting and Asthma/Allergy Sufferers - a Bad Mix?, and it is a straightforward, comprehensive look at the topic that is fun to read. I urge you to read his original post, but here are some excerpts:
Is ripping out the carpet the answer?
This is what I do know for sure - only 12 people out of 100 clean their carpeting… ever. Of that number, about a third chooses to do it themselves. Vacuuming? Most people say they vacuum every week. The honest ones tell me they’re lucky to vacuum the carpets once a month...
How many people would tolerate their hard surface flooring (tile, wood, etc.) having spills and food and mud and grease all over it… and then keep it that way for years!...
Is it any wonder that health issues are aggravated by an unhealthy and bacteria infested carpet? It’s not the poor carpet’s fault. All it needs is routine maintenance.
How routine? Vacuum it twice a week with a quality vacuum that has high-efficiency micro-filtration bags. Micro-filtration bags will trap even the tiniest of particles, such as dust mites and their feces, to keep it from becoming airborne.
Then have it professionally cleaned at least once a year (preferably twice a year). Every major carpet manufacturer recommends this same routine.
The construction issue
Many people feel that since hard flooring is… well, hard… that it’s a more sanitary surface since there is no place for the dust to settle. And this is true. But if you are an allergy or asthma sufferer, this is really bad news.
The very ‘complaint’ that people have about carpeting is actually its best characteristic: The fact that it has soft and fuzzy fibers make it act like a filter or a sink. It traps and holds all of the junk and contaminants we haul in to our homes on our clothing and shoes.
Hard floors cannot do that. The dust (a lot of which is dust mite do-do) has nowhere to land so it’s constantly airborne and being breathed in.
In fact, one way to prove that to you is to watch the air in a home when the sun is shining through a window. With clean, carpeted surfaces, you see some dust in the air, but not much. In a home with hard floors, you see much more dust because there is less surface in the home that holds onto dust.
Even if your vacuum doesn't have a good filter bag, these dust-mite allergens disappear from the air about 20 minutes after vacuuming. This is because they are heavy enough that they’ve settled back down into the carpet. And if the vacuum uses micro-filtration bags or if it has a HEPA filter, the allergens are efficiently removed before even becoming airborne during vacuuming.
David outlines the following two options:
#1: Have carpet in the home hold onto contaminants, keeping them away from your breathing space, and remove these contaminants with regular vacuuming and cleaning...
#2: Have hard floors in the home, which do not hold contaminants but instead allows them to "hang out" in the air, likely triggering allergen reactions from the occupants...
Here’s the bottom line of living with carpeting: Your carpet is a terrific filter. But you gotta clean it! If you don’t, the pollens, dander, dust, etc. will build up until your carpet is completely overrun with this stuff, aggravating allergies, asthma and many other breathing conditions.
Thank you, David. I couldn’t say it better myself.