There’s nothing like a good, quality carpet floor. It looks good, it feels great under your feet… And it’s also difficult to keep clean. Spills and stains are harder to get out than with hardwood floors, and dust and contaminants get trapped between the fibers, which can lower your home’s indoor air quality. Are carpet floors even healthy to have in your home? Here’s what you need to know.
It’s true that a variety of contaminants can get trapped in your carpet fibers. This includes dust particles and pet hair, but also toxic chemicals. If you use cleaning supplies or other products that release VOCs into the air, they can settle into the carpet and stay there. These contaminants can cause a variety of health problems, inflaming the respiratory system and exacerbating allergies and asthma.
On the other hand, it’s been suggested that carpet flooring may actually lead to cleaner air than hardwood. By trapping those contaminants, it removes them from the air, whereas when dust settles on hardwood floors, the particles can easily be stirred up again and become airborne.
However, a study published by the National Library of Medicine in 2018 showed this to be untrue. Comparing rooms with carpet to rooms with hardwood flooring over an extended period, they found more contaminants in the carpet, as well as more inflammation in the occupants of those rooms, than in the rooms with hardwood.
What to Do
Does this mean you should get rid of any carpeting in your home entirely? Not necessarily. If you’re concerned about respiratory issues, particularly if someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma, or if you have indoor pets, you are probably better off getting a hardwood floor. If you want the look and feel of carpet, consider area rugs that can be removed and cleaned outside.
However, if you’d rather have carpeting, avoid putting it in the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere there’s a lot of moisture. This can lead to mold and mildew, which cause a variety of health problems.
It’s also important to keep your carpet clean. Vacuum several times a week, with a vacuum cleaner that uses a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. A less thorough vacuum can miss some of the dust and contaminants, and in fact simply agitate them, stirring the particles up into the air. A HEPA filter will capture over 99% of particles, ensuring both cleaner carpets and cleaner air.
Then, once a year, give your carpets a deep, thorough cleaning, using a steam cleaner. You can rent one and do the job yourself, but it’s usually better to hire a professional. They’ll not only make sure that the carpet is cleaned properly, but also dried properly. Again, wet carpet leads to mold and mildew, which are terrible for your IAQ.
Keeping your carpet clean and your air healthy can take a fair amount of time and effort. However, if you decide it’s worth it, then beautiful, luxurious, plush carpeting can add a lot to your home. Whether you need carpet or hardwood, of any type or style, we can help you find the flooring that best suits your home décor.