Choosing and maintaining carpet when you have allergies

Do you enjoy the feeling of carpet under your feet every morning when you step out of bed? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Most people recognize that carpet is more difficult to maintain than hardwood, vinyl or laminate, but that doesn’t stop them from having it in their homes. Unfortunately, carpet can be an allergen trap, and for some people, that’s a game-changer.

Can I Still Have Carpet If I Have Allergies?

The answer to that question is yes, assuming you do three very important things:
  • Choose the right carpet
  • Clean your carpet regularly
  • Deep clean your carpet yearly
Many carpets trap allergens and then release them into the air as you walk. As a result, all three of these steps are necessary when deciding to install carpet in your home.

Choosing the Right Carpet

We are happy to help you choose the right carpet for your situation. In the meantime, here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re looking specifically for hypoallergenic carpets:
  • Hypoallergenic carpet won’t completely eliminate allergens, but it does reduce them.
  • Nylon and other synthetics resist dirt, moisture, and mildew, making them good choices for those with allergies.
  • Natural fibers such as wool also exhibit hypoallergenic qualities and are equally good choices for those with allergies.
  • We suggest choosing a carpet with short, tightly woven strands to eliminate those extra spaces where allergens tend to hide.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOSs)which are frequently found in carpeting, pads and installation materials, can trigger allergic reactions. Look for “Green Labels” to ensure you are purchasing a carpet with low VOC content.

Clean Your Carpet Regularly

Regardless of the type of carpet you choose for your home, if you have allergies, you’ll need to be prepared to clean your new carpet regularly to prevent allergen build-up. Although wool carpets are long-lasting, they do require more attention than nylon carpeting to maintain proper cleanliness. We recommend frequent vacuuming (make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter) and use of dry foam (rather than a liquid spray) as wool carpets are naturally porous and tend to hold moisture. On the plus side, wool carpet fibers are coated in lanolin, a naturally stain resistant oil.
Nylon carpeting is easier to keep clean, with regular vacuuming being the primary method. Nylon is nonporous, so it resists spills and stains. Nylon carpeting is typically installed in commercial businesses, but is also a good choice for residential homes, especially if you or a family member experience allergies.
Weekly vacuuming isn’t enough if you want to reduce the allergens in your home. Have your carpet professionally cleaned at least once yearly to remove stubborn stains and deeply embedded allergens. We also suggest investing in an entrance mat at each door so guests and family members can wipe their feet before entering your home. Remove shoes as well to avoid tracking in dirt, pollen, and other allergens.