Carpet & Indoor Air Quality

Carpet gets a bad reputation as being a contributor to poor indoor air quality. The common argument is that you can never get it completely clean so it must be bad for your health and the air. Some people think that replacing carpet with hard surfaces will result in a healthier home. The truth is quite the opposite.

Carpet Improves Indoor Air Quality

One of the greatest features of carpet is that fact that it traps dust and dirt. People will tell you that this is why it is bad for the air in your home, but if your carpet did not trap the dust and debris, it would be in the air that you breathe. Carpet acts like a giant air filter keeping the air in your home cleaner.
The next time that you are in a home with nothing but hard floors, look around. Look underneath chairs and in the corners. What you will find is dust and dust bunnies. This is material that is in the air you are breathing and material that would be held in place by a well maintained carpet.

Dirty Carpet Is Bad For Air Quality

So is carpet always good for air quality? No, it can begin to contribute to poor air quality when it becomes overly soiled. A carpet is like your air filter on your HVAC system. When it is clean, it is keeping dust, dirt and pollen out of the air. When it gets dirty, it can no longer trap dust and pollen and will begin spewing it into the environment.
To keep your carpet from contributing to poor air quality, clean it at least once a year. If you live in a dusty environment or one with kids and/or pets, twice a year would be best. Also make sure that it is cleaned properly, with a truck mounted steam cleaning system.

Swedish Asthma Study

Despite what I have just said, you still might not be convinced that carpet is actually good for air quality. Where is the proof, right? There was actually a report made in Sweden which noted an increase in allergy cases with the reduction of carpet in homes and schools. Here is an excerpt from the study:

Despite removing carpet from bedrooms, asthma, and allergies are still a problem in Sweden. Twenty years ago, Sweden accounted for 45% of the carpet flooring market. Today it only accounts for 5% of the market. Despite this, asthma and allergies have actually rose since the 1970’s when carpet was removed from almost all houses and facilities due to the allergy scare of 1977.
Published 4/11/2002

As you can see, when the use of carpet began to decline, asthma and allergy cases began to rise.

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