If your allergies are bothering you whenever you’re home, you might want to look at your carpet and upholstery. Carpeting makes a room feel warm and cozy, yet it can also be home to many allergens, which get kicked into the air whenever it’s walked on. Even a carpet that is regularly vacuumed can harbor a large quantity of trapped allergens, in and around the carpet fibers.
These common allergens include:
- pet dander
- microscopic insect parts
- dust mites
Symptoms you may experience include:
- itchy, watery eyes
- itchy, running nose
- scratchy, irritated throat
- itchy, red skin
- trouble breathing
- shortness of breath
- feeling of pressure in the chest
Despite all of this, sometimes you just crave the feeling of sinking your toes into super soft, plush carpet. Let’s look at some preventative tips to control your allergies and prevent exposure to carpet allergens.
“Indoor allergens produce symptoms similar to pollen allergy symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. Thus, many people falsely suspect hay fever when in fact they are reacting to house dust mites or pet dander,” says Laurie Blevins Fowler, director of the allergy clinic at University of Missouri-Columbia.
Tips for Allergy Proofing
Vacuuming and carpet cleaning are the top ways to improve the appearance of your house and very essential to your health and indoor air quality. Cleaning your carpet and your upholstered furniture will remove the allergens.
- A vacuum will only remove loose surface dirt, so have your carpet professionally cleaned once or twice a year depending on the amount of foot traffic.
- Consider hot water extraction for cleaning carpets when possible. In addition to cleaning the carpet, the heat of the hot water kills dust mites and remove allergens.
- It is important to clean the carpet under your sofa. If you can’t move your sofa, most professional carpet cleaners will move it for you.
Cleaning Upholstered Furniture
- If you have slipcovers, throws, and decorative pillows make sure they can be washed in hot, not warm, water and dried on the hottest setting. Laundering such items every one to four weeks will eliminate a lot of allergens.
- Vacuum your furniture frequently.
- Have your upholstery cleaned at the same time you schedule your flooring to be cleaned by your cleaning professional.
- Your upholstery should also be cleaned once or twice a year depending on whether you have pets, stains, and/or smells.
Keeping Your Clean Air
- Vacuum at least once a week, with a vacuum that has a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters remove and trap allergens, so they don’t get recirculated back into the air. Look for a vacuum that is HEPA-certified.
- Keep windows closed during allergy season and on days when pollen levels are high.
- Replace your HVAC air filter with a HEPA filter. Be sure to change the filter monthly.
Low Allergen Flooring
If you are considering replacing your flooring, the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) has some suggestions.
Consider a hard flooring like…
- Laminate & vinyl
- Tile and stone
- Engineered hardwood
Choose a short-pile carpet over long-pile.
- Low-pile (or short-pile) carpets have a tighter, shorter weave providing less room for allergens to hide. Without regular maintenance even low-pile carpets accumulate dust, dirt, and pollen.
- High-pile (or long-pile) carpeting, such as shag or frieze rugs, are composed of beautiful, soft, long, loose fibers. These provide allergens with a place to hide.
People can also have sensitivities to materials used in the manufacture of products including carpets and rugs. It is rare to develop an allergy to carpet manufactured with synthetic nylon or polypropylene fibers.
Did you know that your pets can be affected too?
Pets commonly develop allergy problems also. Their faces are closer to the floor directly inhaling allergens and they have more skin contact with the ground itself. If your pet is displaying symptoms like irritated skin, coughing, or has bald patches on his body, a veterinarian visit is warranted.
“Yah! recently replaced my carpet with laminate because one of my cats has asthma.”
Causes of Carpet Allergies in Pets
Sources of allergens for your pet can include:
- Dust mites – Many pets are allergic to dust mites and carpets are great places for them to gather.
- Fleas are one of the most common causes of skin allergies in canines, and they can easily hide in the carpet.
- Molds and Mildews – If molds and mildews form in the carpet or carpet padding (due to a moisture issue), this can cause allergy symptoms in your pets.
The spring season is a GREAT TIME to have your carpet professionally cleaned, remove the dirt and debris that settled in your home during winter.
If you are interested in having your flooring and upholstery professionally cleaned, schedule an appointment at (520) 297-4736 for your home today!