The Truth About Carpet and Asthma

Carpet and asthma — We have all heard carpet being linked to increased asthma and allergies. What is the truth? Myth or reality?

Dust is everywhere, it invades our homes no matter what kind of flooring we have. The Vacuum company Dyson now employs lasers in the battle to eliminate dust from our homes. Airborne dust is more noticeable when you have hard flooring and no carpets. That is due the fact that your carpet acts as a natural filter for your home. Dust and allergens settle in the carpet, waiting to be vacuumed away. There are many studies that clearly show there is no link between carpet and asthma. In fact, well-maintained carpet reduces airborne dust, allergens and other pollutants.

Carpet and Asthma Studies

Airmid Healthgroup, whose “mission is to prevent ill health caused by exposure to indoor air pollutants” have “assembled a unique multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists specializing in microbiology, allergy and immunology. Operating from state of the art testing facilities, we focus on the relationship between airborne and surface bioogical pollutants (viruses, bacteria, mold, allergens) and the spread of ill health in the indoor environment.”

They examined airborne dust and allergen levels in a chamber with carpet and again in the same chamber with hard surface floors, and then look at what effect carpet cleaning has on dust and allergens both in room air and in the carpet itself. According to a press release, the studies show that, “effectively cleaned carpets can trap allergens and other particles, resulting in fewer particles escaping into the air.” This study clearly shows that carpet and asthma is a myth.

The press release quotes Dr. Bruce Mitchell, Chairman/CEO of Airmid Healthgroup Limited, a leading independent biomedical research organization that conducted the study. “These studies challenge the long held belief that carpet must adversely impact indoor air quality as it pertains to allergy and asthma sufferers… Effectively cleaned carpets have the capacity to trap allergen and microbial particles, making these particles less available to become airborne and thus maintaining indoor air quality. This makes regularly cleaned carpet a choice for families impacted by asthma and allergies.”

There are many other studies that have come to same conclusion. Toxicologist Dr. Mitchell W. Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT published a compehensive study entitled: Carpet, Asthma and Allergy – Myth or Reality? If you don’t feel like reading all 15 pages, then I will share with you the ending: “In conclusion, a weight of evidence approach to evaluating existing medical and scientific studies is quite clear. Carpet and asthma does not cause asthma. VOC emissions from new carpet do not act as triggers for asthma or allergies. Carpet does not increase the incidence or severity of asthma or allergies in children and adults. From the standpoint of asthma and allergies, well-maintained carpet is safe.”

The reality is, carpet and asthma is a myth. This is not surprising, as mentioned at the outset, carpet acts as a natural filter. That is why this study refers to “a well-maintained carpet”. As carpets trap dust and airborne contaminants, they need to be maintained by good vacuuming and proper cleaning.

How Should Asthma and Allergy Sufferers Maintain Their Carpets?

While studies show that carpet and asthma is a myth, sufferers of asthma and allergies need to pay more than the usual attention in maintaining their carpet. Regular vacuuming with a vacuum that has HEPA filtration is key. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums differ from conventional vacuums in that they contain filters that are capable of trapping extremely small, micron-sized particles. A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97 percent of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns. Regular vacuuming is the best way to reduce the level of allergens in your home.

Image of HEPA filter showing the importance of its use with carpet and asthma
If you have carpet and asthma, use a vacuum with HEPA Filtration.

When it’s time for professional carpet cleaning, select a company specializing in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Asthma and Allergy Safe cleaning. Cleaning products should be fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and create no VOCs (Volatile Organic Gases). Read more about safe plant-based carpet, rug & upholstery cleaning in our blog article: Indoor Air Quality, Carpet Cleaning & Your Home or Workplace.

Tapestry Fine Carpet, Rug & Upholstery Cleaning in Victoria, BC is an EnviroSeal® Certified Service Provider. We provide Indoor Air Quality Approved, Asthma and Allergy Safe, plant-based carpet cleaning in Victoria and nearby areas.

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Bill

Hi there! I'm Bill, the owner (along with my wife Eva) of Tapestry Fine Carpet, Rug & Upholstery Cleaning in Victoria, BC. I'm obsessive about textile cleaning, nanotech colloidal plant-based cleaning, esoteric business ideology from the late 1800s, and hand-pulled espresso for good measure.