The science of indoor air quality is very interesting and relatively new. In the past, the focus was on the quality of the outside air and the interest was in lowering emissions of all types into the air. But, as we now spend more time indoors – an average of 90% of our time – indoor air quality has become a concern to the government and private health organizations including the USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Following the energy-saving efforts of the 70’s and 80’s, buildings and homes are now much more air-tight, leaving little opportunity for diluting the indoor air with fresh air from outside. Indoor air has thus become more polluted. So, what’s the connection between indoor air quality and carpets?

In the past, physicians recommended that their asthma and allergy-suffering patients remove carpeting from the home. It was assumed that carpeting contributed dramatically to their conditions.

Recently, the EPA performed a study of hundreds of homes, schools and office buildings and concluded that by far the best choice of flooring materials were carpeting. Furthermore, carpeting was actually beneficial in the fight against asthma and allergies.

When scientifically tested, the air in the “breathing zone” above carpets were found to contain fewer allergens than the air above hard surfaces. Carpet tends to collect and hold the allergens out of the air where they remain, until the carpet is vacuumed and professionally cleaned. In contrast, allergens that settle on hard surface flooring tend to be redistributed to the breathing zone, with normal foot traffic or the simple act of running a broom over the flooring surface.

One unfortunate result of the EPA’s study is that we now know that many families removed carpeting from their homes in an effort to reduce allergy symptoms, only to find that they gained no improvement in their conditions. Their carpeting was an asset, rather than a detriment to the quality of their indoor air.

In concluding that carpeting is a benefit to indoor air, the EPA now recommends that carpeting be cleaned at least every 6 months – in most homes – to rid the carpeting of these allergens. A carpet that is not regularly maintained has a reduced ability to collect indoor air pollutants.

Tips for Reducing Indoor Allergens

Here are some tips for reducing indoor allergens in your home. Helping you to keep your “home sweet home” a healthy one for you and your family:

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. This cannot be stressed enough. You should vacuum at least twice a week, more often if you have pets. Vacuuming helps rid your carpeting of dust, dust mite feces, animal hair and dander, human hair and dead skin, mold spores, dead bugs and (abrasive carpet life shortening) – sand and soil. Make sure that you use a vacuum cleaner that has a high efficiency HEPA filtering system. If you need suggestions for choosing a new vacuum, see our website news article on vacuums.

Don’t sweep your hard surface flooring. Sweeping redistributes allergens to the air. Vacuuming your floors, followed by a damp mop. This will help keep the air your family breathes cleaner.

Adopt a no shoes policy in your home. This will keep outdoor pollutants from entering the home.

Have Crystal Clean Ltd. clean your mattresses & box springs, then encase them in allergen impermeable covers.

Wash bed linens and coverings weekly in hot water.

Have Crystal Clean Ltd. Clean your carpets & furniture at least every 12 months for best removal of dust mite feces.

If you have forced air heating and cooling systems, leave the fan switched to on at all times. This will continually circulate the air in your home through the air filters, removing airborne particulates. Make sure that you change or clean your cleanable filters monthly. Consider using high-efficiency HEPA air filters.

Following these simple tips will not only leave your home healthier, but your carpets & furniture will also last longer.