Carpet Cleaning and Allergies
Clean Carpets & Allergy Prevenation
Every year millions of Australians suffer from allergies. If this chronic ailment affects you, the last thing you want to deal with is annoying allergens invading your home. For years, the most common solution to allergens in the home was to do away with any fabrics and carpets. Luckily, this method has been debunked, allowing asthma and allergy sufferers to once again indulge in luxurious textiles. With proper maintenance, you can enjoy a carpeted home without sacrificing your sanity.
What Are Allergies and Allergens?
Nearly everyone is familiar with the basic concept of allergies. When your body comes into contact with a foreign substance, or allergen, your immune system may go on the fritz, spurring an immune response. Unfortunately, there is not a singular cause or result of allergies. The most common suspects are pet danders, pollens, moulds, and dust mites. Dust mites are the leading cause of home allergies in Australia. Although these tiny insects perform a great service, they can wreck a lot of havoc on your body.
Symptoms of allergies can range from annoying to debilitating. If you begin to notice these symptoms, you should visit your doctor to test for allergies.
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Rash or hives
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling or inflammation
What are the Affects of Carpet on Asthma Sufferers?
For asthma sufferers, allergens aren’t just annoying, they can be dangerous. If you suffer from asthma, your bronchial tubes become inflamed when you come into contact with allergens, causing more severe reactions such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, and inflammation. Asthma is nothing to mess around with. Visit your doctor immediately to assess which allergens trigger your attacks.
Prevention is the best defence against this disease. For years, the recommended practice was to simply remove most textiles from your house. This includes upholstery, rugs, beautiful draperies, and carpets.
Carpets, in particular, became an anathema to this philosophy. Allergens become trapped at the bottom of carpets, creating a storage bank of hazardous material and escalating the chances of flare-ups. However, before you throw out your prized shag rugs, you should know that numerous studies have been performed that debunk this practice. The allergens that plague the bottom of carpets are still present in homes with hard surface floors. Furthermore, research has found that carpets can actually be beneficial to allergy sufferers. Carpet collects allergens, safely depositing them at the bottom of the room, whereas they are free to fly unfettered with hard surface. With proper carpet cleaning, your carpet can actually become a valuable ally in the fight against allergies.
How do You Prevent Allergens in Carpets?
Short Pile Carpets
If you’re choosing a new carpet, experts recommend sticking with a short pile. Loops, cut-pile loops and shorter cut-pile carpets still provide the basic service of keeping mites from becoming airborne, while retaining less allergens and are easier to clean.
Purchase an Allergy-friendly Fibre
Not all carpet fibres are beneficial for allergies; in fact, natural fibres can cause additional allergy outbreaks. For example, wool carpet is a luxurious, natural carpet fibre that can last for decades if properly maintained. However, wools retain moisture more than synthetic fibres, which can create mould allergens. In addition, as a natural product, wool tends to shed much more than its synthetic counterparts.
Nylon is one of the most highly recommended fibres available to asthma sufferers. Most nylons are treated for dust, moisture and allergen resistance. Like wool, nylon is highly durable and very stain-resistant. Other carpet fibres cater to allergy sensitivity as well, such as triexta and polyester.
The key to allergen control is proper carpet cleaning. Vacuuming your carpet weekly prevents the collected allergens from becoming a bigger problem. If at all possible, designate another resident with the vacuuming duties. If you live alone, invest in a quality vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) and wear a dust mask. A HEPA filter ensures that you’re capturing microscopic allergens, rather than blowing them back into the air. Vacuums with HEPA filters can be a little pricey, but they are more than worth it.
Limit Pet Exposure
Allergic reactions to pet dander can cause tragedies in a pet lover’s home. If you’re sensitive to a dog or cat’s dander, try to limit your exposure before relinquishing them to the local shelter. Many pet owners love to snuggle with their pets at night. Unfortunately, this habit can cause a build up of allergens in the room that we tend to frequent the most. Try to block your pet from any rooms where you anticipate spending long periods of time. The separation may be difficult at first, but your pet, and your body will thank you for it later.
What Other Cleaning Methods Control Allergens?
Whether your home contains carpet or hard surface floors, allergen control can be a lifelong battle. Proper carpet cleaning is only the first step to an allergen-safe home. There are several useful cleaning tips you can practice that will drastically reduce your chances of a flare-up.
- Air out draperies – If you prefer to keep draperies over shades or blinds, try to air them out every once in a while. Experts recommend at least once a year.
- Wash bedding regularly – Your bedding can easily become an all-you-can-eat buffet for mites. Purchasing anti-microbial bedding can go a long way, but regular cleaning is still paramount. Wash your linens once a week with hot water to kill any lingering mites.
- Ventilate your home – Dust mite droppings and dander will float in a room that is not properly ventilated. Opening your windows will allow fresh air to replace the stale, contaminated air.
- Hire a professional carpet cleaner– There’s only so much you can do to prevent allergens from taking over your home. Trust a professional to assess and clean your home to eliminate the maximum level of allergens.
What Can You Expect from Professional Carpet Cleaners?
Whether you suffer from allergens or not, experts recommend professionally cleaning your carpets at least once a year. Most professionals will recommend hot water extraction. Although vacuuming may remove surface dust and hair, hot water extraction can effectively wash or kill allergens hiding below the surface. You can rent steamers from your local market, but there are several reasons why you should consider a carpet cleaning service.
- Professional equipment – When you deep clean carpet yourself, you only have access to over-the-counter solutions and equipment. Some of these products can actually irritate your allergies further. Over-the-counter equipment can leave moisture in your carpets, causing mildew and mould to grow, while cleaning solutions may emit harmful VOCs. Carpet cleaners take pride in purchasing top-of-the-line equipment that prevents these unfortunate situations. In addition, their services may be certified for allergy and asthma relief.
- Professional knowledge – Carpet cleaners deal with allergens all day, every day. They know where dust hides and will provide an attention to detail that can’t be replicated. Speak to your carpet professional about your allergies. They will be able to formulate an effective plan catered to your needs.
- Time is money – Like many Australians, you may not have time to spend on fully cleaning your carpets. A professional will be able to quickly and effectively clean your carpets while you dedicate your precious time to other tasks.
- Customer Service – A quality carpet cleaning expert will take pride in their work. Feel free to ask your prospective carpet professional about any associations they may be involved with or guarantees they might offer.
If you choose to hire a carpet cleaning service, there are a few ways you can prepare your floors to maximize your experience.
- Declutter – Remove knickknacks and smaller, breakable items from the areas that will be cleaned. In addition, check with your carpet cleaning company to confirm their policy on furniture removal. Many professionals will move larger furniture items for an additional charge.
- Vacuum thoroughly – Be sure to vacuum the areas that will be cleaned prior to their visit. This will eliminate loose particles that may hinder the cleaning process.
- Mind the draperies – Lifting any floor-length draperies ensures that they will not become wet or entangled during the carpet cleaning process.
- Store your pets – In addition to shedding hair, your pet can also be a distraction for the professionals. Carpet cleaning equipment can be loud and off-putting to our furry friends. Be sure to store your pet in a kennel for their protection and the professional.
Allergy sufferers shouldn’t have to give up the basic comforts of their home to avoid flare-ups. The carpet in your home should be a luxurious amenity, not an additional source of stress. Practicing these basic techniques and trusting deeper cleaning needs into the hands of a qualified carpet cleaning professional can drastically improve your quality of living at home. Call your local cleaning expert and take control of your allergies today.