Did you know that a carpet can help you reduce allergens in the air in a room? Contrary to popular advice that if you’re allergy-prone, you should ditch carpets and go for hard flooring, you can comfortably use carpets.
Besides making a room beautiful, hypoallergenic carpets help get rid of cold and trap dust from the air without re-emitting it.
It reduces your chances of breathing the allergens, hence preventing allergic triggers.
In this article, we dispel myths about allergies and carpets.
Plus, you’ll find out the best type of carpets for allergy sufferers and how to clean your carpet.
The Best Type of Carpet for Allergy Sufferers
Allergy sufferers are safer with the following kinds of carpets:
1. Low Pile Carpet
Carpet pile refers to the height, thickness, and density of the fibers on the surface of your carpet.
A low pile carpet has short fibers that are close and tight, while a high pile carpet has longer fibers, like in the case of shaggy rugs.
A low pile carpet is ideal for allergy sufferers because it has reduced room for dust and allergens to settle.
2. Carpet with Tightly Woven Strands
Tightly woven carpets are best for keeping allergens away because they are easiest to clean. They also don’t keep dust and dirt.
It’s also less likely to shed. Shedding of carpet fibers can make an allergic situation worse.
3. Dense Carpet Weave
A dense carpet traps dust and allergens from the air in a room and does not easily re-emit allergens, unlike light and loosely woven rugs with a high pile.
Which Carpet Material is Best for Allergies?
The best carpet material for allergies is one that does not create a conducive environment for mold, dust mites, mildew, and bacteria to thrive in.
Materials that repel moisture and allergens and are easy to clean are the best for people who suffer from allergies.
The following are some of the best materials:
1. Nylon Carpet
Nylon is a silk-like synthetic fiber. It’s made through a chemical reaction of carbon-based chemicals extracted from coal and petroleum.
Nylon fiber carpets are excellent for keeping allergy triggers at bay because they’re resistant to dust and moisture.
They don’t hold water and dirt in their fibers. You can easily clean it and remove dirt particles from its surface.
2. Polyester Carpet
Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic material made through a process of polymerization (particles combine in a chemical reaction).
The polyester fiber makes a carpet that feels soft, silky, and has a light texture. The softness of some polyester fibers might be confused for cotton.
It’s suitable for allergy and asthma-prone people because it’s easy to keep clean.
The material is also resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold; hence dust mites and allergens cannot thrive.
3. Wool Carpet
Wool has natural anti-allergies properties making it one of the best materials for hypoallergenic rugs.
It absorbs dust and sinus irritants from the air leaving you with clean air to breathe in a room.
If you get irritated by perfumes, smoke, fumes, and detergents, a woolen rug will absorb all that. It acts as an air filter and traps the allergens until you vacuum them off.
It also doesn’t lock in moisture, thanks to the curly shape of its fibers. Hence dust mites and other allergens will find it hard to survive on a woolen rug.
Since wool fibers are long and thick, they are hard to inhale, making them ideal for allergy sufferers.
Inhaling fibers irritates the respiratory tract causing allergic symptoms like sneezing and difficulty breathing.
4. Olefin Carpet
Also known as polypropylene, olefin is a synthetic fiber with a wool-like appearance. The thread is manufactured from thermoplastic, making it an excellent water-resistant material.
Because it repels moisture, mold, and mildew, this material is great for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
Olefin also does not harbor soil and dust mites which can irritate you and trigger an allergic reaction.
However, it traps oil and grease; hence, it’s unsuitable for the kitchen and dining room.
On the flip side, it dries quickly and is easy to clean, making it a superb hypoallergenic carpet.
It’s an excellent option for damp rooms, basements, and outdoor living spaces.
Factors to Consider When Buying Hypoallergenic Carpet
Before buying a carpet, it’s best to consider the following factors if you suffer from allergies:
1. Check the Material
Allergic reactions are caused by allergens that hide in carpets. Fibers that shed can trigger respiratory tract irritation too.
When buying a hypoallergenic carpet, consider a material that does not shed and whose fibers are too big to inhale.
The material should also not lock in moisture or harbor dust, mold, mildew, dust mites, and pollen.
It should instead filter those allergens from the air in your home so that you’re left with fresh air to breathe.
A quick-drying material is excellent in case of liquid spills on the carpet.
Wool is a natural fiber that filters and repels allergens, while the rest are synthetic materials.
They are carefully manufactured to resist irritants and create a hostile environment for allergens.
2. Check the VOC level
As part of the manufacturing process, new hypoallergenic carpets are infused with chemicals to serve as allergens repellant. The chemical – known as Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) – has an odor that triggers allergy sensitivity.
VOCs contain formaldehyde which is dangerous in large amounts. Some manufacturers use many chemicals, exposing you to asthma attacks or cancer.
To be safe, look for a carpet with a GREENGUARD certification mark to ensure the mat has a low VOC concentration. The lower the rating, the safer the rug.
GREENGUARD is a testing authority that checks for VOCs and safety standards of carpets to ensure health safety.
Types of Carpet Allergic People Should Avoid
Allergic and asthmatic people should avoid high pile carpets, loosely woven rugs, and lightly populated carpets because it is hard to clean them. They also harbor dust and allergens.
Carpets that shed quickly are also not safe for allergy sufferers because you might inhale the fiber particles causing your nose, eyes, and throat to irritate.
The longer the fibers (high carpet pile), the more the space for pollen, dust mites, and other allergens to attach themselves.
To Avoid Allergy, Keep Your Carpet Clean
To avoid allergy symptoms, it’s best to clean your carpet in the following ways:
1. Regular Cleaning
Although hypoallergenic carpets can filter the air in your home by trapping dust, pollen, and other irritants, it doesn’t mean your home is entirely free of allergens.
You have to get rid of the trapped dust and dirt through regular cleaning.
Spot cleaning when food, drinks, or other substances spill on the carpet helps prevent dust mites from getting something to feed on.
It prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing too.
Regular vacuuming at least twice a week helps eliminate dust and dirt from your carpet. You can dry vacuum or wet clean with detergents.
Using a deep cleaning vacuum cleaner frequently is a sure way to eliminate the dirt that hides in the carpet fiber and reduce allergy-causing substances.
When buying a deep cleaning vacuum cleaner, get one that has a High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (HEPA). It effectively filters the air in your home and catches allergens in your carpet.
Hypoallergenic carpet shampoo and cleaners will also help you clean your carpet without adding allergens.
2. Thorough Cleaning
Some dirt, dust mites, and mold may get into the carpet backing, making it hard to remove with a home vacuum cleaner. Hence, it’s best to do a thorough cleaning.
Steam cleaning thoroughly cleans your carpet by breaking down dirt on the fibers, which you can then vacuum or sweep off.
The hot steam kills dust mites that are hiding below the pile. You can steam clean your carpet monthly to keep it free from allergens.
Once or twice a year, it’s best to get your carpet cleaned by professionals.
Apart from leaving your rug clean and odor-free, professional cleaning helps maintain your carpet in good shape and extends its life.
You’ll need a steam machine carpet cleaner, vacuum cleaner, carpet cleaning detergents, a brush, and air scrubber for thorough cleaning.
A brush helps to remove dirt and hair strands. Some steam cleaners have a brush attached to them.
An air scrubber is a device that absorbs odor, dirt particles, hair, and allergens in the air after cleaning your carpet.
1. Is Berber Carpet Good for Allergies?
A Berber carpet is suitable for allergies because it’s a less plush carpet. However, you’ll have to maintain it clean to prevent harboring allergens that trigger allergies.
Berber carpet is a handwoven or machine made using a loop pile method. The loop is left uncut.
‘Berber’ refers to the origin and design of the carpet. The kind of material used to make the Berber carpet may make it hypoallergenic or bad for allergies.
Nylon, wool, or olefin Berber carpet is good for preventing allergies.
2. Is New Carpet Better for Allergies?
A new carpet can be a source of allergy triggers because carpets are treated with chemicals.
The chemicals are meant to make the rug repel moisture, dust, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and mildew which are culprits for allergic attacks.
The chemical has an odor that your carpet emits when it’s new. It’s the odor that you react to if you suffer from allergies.
When installing a new carpet, ensure it has a low concentration of chemicals by looking for a GREENGUARD label.
The odor fades off within a few hours or a day. Also, ensure your home is well ventilated during the installation.
Hypoallergenic carpets are available in natural and synthetic materials.
If you’re allergic to wool, you can choose a synthetic carpet and vice versa.
The carpets help you trap dust and allergens, so it’s upon you to regularly clean the carpet to ensure your home is free from allergens.