How to Prevent Allergies with Carpet Cleaning
Wall-to-wall carpeting is a great way to make your home feel warmer, less echoey, and generally cozier – but these benefits come with an unfortunate dark side. Carpets can serve as a reservoir for many common allergens, causing people who suffer allergic reactions to experience congestion, hives, watery eyes, or even asthma attacks.
While those who suffer from the most severe allergies may want to get rid of their carpets altogether, it is possible for allergy-sufferers to live in harmony with carpets and rugs! Today we’ll explore how to keep your allergies to a minimum, even if you have carpet!
Why do carpets make allergies worse?
Carpet poses two main problems for allergy sufferers – and both stem from the same cause. Put simply, carpets have vastly more surface area to trap allergens than hard floors, and because of their greater surface area they are harder to clean.
This means that while new carpets are no worse on allergies than new hardwood or tile floors, over time allergens will build up in the carpet fibers and exacerbate allergy symptoms.
Does the type of carpet you have matter for allergies?
The material and design of your carpet may make a difference to your allergies. For people who suffer from wool allergies – wool carpets should obviously be avoided. While wool carpets hold the same amount of allergens as synthetics – wool carpets are associated with higher levels of airborne dust mite allergen particulates and so should be avoided by those with severe dust mite allergies.
Another factor that makes a difference is your carpet’s pile length. Longer carpets like shag or deep pile carpets are harder to clean and have been shown to harbor larger populations of dust mites and therefore may make allergies worse.
Studies looking at loop pile versus cut pile don’t show any difference in allergen retention – so this doesn’t have to be a consideration for people looking to minimize their allergies.
DIY Allergy Prevention Carpet Cleaning Tips
While there are a variety of allergy medicines on the market, the reality is most of us would prefer to simply be able to go about our lives without having to worry about our homes making us feel sick! Thankfully there are some very effective DIY cleaning methods to try:
Replace your air filters regularly
Use high quality pleated paper air filters and replace them at least once every 3 months. Look for electrostatic air filters as they can improve air quality by capturing tiny airborne contaminants like mold spores and pollen.
Keep your pets clean and brushed
Brushing your pets regularly is a great way to cut down on pet hair and pet dander allergies. Just be sure to do your brushing outside!
For dogs and cats with two coats you may want to purchase a special type of brush, like those sold by Furminator, to help groom their undercoat.
Take off your shoes when you come inside
The soles of our shoes harbor pesticide residue, pollen, dirt, pet feces, and more! When you come inside leave your shoes at the door to keep these contaminants from hitching a free ride indoors.
A great way to reduce allergens in your home is to vacuum regularly. For people without allergies we recommend weekly vacuuming sessions – so allergy sufferers may want to step that up to two or three times per week. If your allergies are seasonal, then this extra frequency only needs to take place during allergy season and you can return to your regular cleaning schedule after pollen levels fall.
It doesn’t matter so much whether you use a canister vacuum or a bagged vacuum, but you should invest in a high quality vacuum cleaner that includes a HEPA filter. Remember, these filters do not last forever and will need to be replaced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals in order to get the best results.
Dust often to remove allergen buildup
While dusting may not be your favorite chore – it is a very important cleaning process for households with allergy sufferers. In many cases the dust is actually what you’re allergic to and includes everything from pet dander to pollen and dust mite particles.
Note: If you suffer from severe allergies, consider wearing a N95 face mask while dusting. After you finish you may want to shower and change clothes for maximum safety.
How does professional carpet cleaning Prevent Allergies?
One of the best ways to keep allergen levels low is to periodically deep clean your carpets and upholstery. Professional carpet cleaners use powerful steam cleaners to extract hard-to-reach allergens and contaminants from your carpets.
Be careful about using rental carpet cleaning machines as these tools often are underpowered and leave behind a considerable amount of water in your carpet which can actually encourage mold growth or leave behind cleaning solution residues.
Deep cleaning your carpets after allergy season ends (for seasonal sufferers) or every 6 to 12 months is a great way to prevent allergies.
Cleaning Strategies to Prevent Allergies
Allergies are a perennial nuisance but that doesn’t mean we have to live in misery. By choosing short pile carpets, vacuuming and dusting regularly, taking your shoes off indoors, using high quality air filters, and brushing your pets outdoors, you will vastly reduce your indoor allergen exposure. To get the best results, pair prevent allergies strategies with a professional carpet cleaning once or twice a year.