I’ll tell you when I realized the truth about carpet and its effect on allergies. I was driving down a country road in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. It was a beautiful Fall day. The sun was out. Sky was blue. There was a crispness in the air, but I had the sunroof of my car open anyway so my hair could blow around. I was jamming Stone Temple Pilots through the Harmon Kardon speakers attached to the stereo.
One particular section of road wound through a section of woods, and the road was completely covered with leaves. As expected, when my little speed racer drove through the leaves on the road, those leaves flew into the air and scattered in the wind. A few miles later it happened again. All of those leaves from the road went flying through the air as I drove over them.
I also noticed that the leaves lying in the grass on the side of the road stayed right where they were, slightly moving in the breeze as I drove by just a smidge over the speed limit.
You can watch this same thing happen when the wind blows leaves around in any other place. Why is it that leaves blow across hard surfaces like sidewalks and pavement, but gather in the grass? The reason is that there is something to hold the leaves in place. In Indiana you can get some gale-force winds blowing around. Leaves will fly all over the place until they hit grass. Once they are in the grass they stay-put.
Carpet in your home acts the same way with dust and allergens. I’ve taken more carpet out of more homes than I can count at this point in my life. Every. Single. Time. I have taken carpet out of someone’s home there is a layer of dust and dirt settled under the carpet and pad. It’s almost as if someone had sprinkled dirt and dust under the carpet before it was installed. What really happened?
As we move through the world, we get dirty. We step in dirt. We walk around outside where pollen and other things attach themselves to us, our clothes and our shoes, and then we promptly carry them into our homes at night. Sometimes we open our windows and doors and let Mother Nature blow stuff into the house for us.
Once in the home, the dust and dirt begin to breakdown and settle all over the place, on every surface. As we cruise through the house we create breezes, which, to small dust particles are like my speedy roadster from my days past, which blow the dust all over. It eventually settles where it cannot be blown around anymore. In couches. Beds. And yes, into the carpet. Carpet acts like the grass on the side of the road we were talking about earlier, and dust is like the leaves.
The point is this, if you have allergy problems, and you’re looking for a solution to your indoor allergies, carpet will most likely be the best way to minimize your issues. Why? Because it keeps dust down. It acts as a filter and allows you to move through the home without stirring as much dust up into the air as you might find blows around your hard-surface areas. Remember the pavement and how the leaves blew around?
Is this bad? Is this a problem having this dust filter upholstering the floor of your Great Room? No. It’s great to have something filtering this crud from your air. You probably already have something like this in your home within your HVAC system. HVAC systems blow air around and then suck the air back into the system where it passes through a filter which you can change out when it gets dirty.
I don’t expect that you will change your carpet every time it gets dirty. I would expect that you would have a high-quality vacuum cleaner and a regular carpet cleaning schedule that you keep. BOTH practices will help keep your allergy levels down, in conjunction with some beautiful, soft carpet in your home.
And if you have babies in the home, please keep in mind that these little folks crawl around on your floors. IF you have carpet where they crawl, this is a nice, soft, and safe place for them to be. The carpets, however, need to be vacuumed more frequently as babies will breathe a lot of the stuff being filtered by your carpet. The carpet is nice to have when Junior takes a spill, but you will need to vacuum more to make sure his airways stay as clear as possible.
I have attached a few links at the end of this article to help you make your own determinations, too, as I am not a medical professional, and this is my opinion. Check these links out and make your own decisions. For my part I don’t have an issue with carpet, and I have allergies. Good luck.
Carpet Buyers Handbook
How Stuff Works
Best Floor for Babies