Updated 20 February 2013

Carpets - problems & solutions

Carpets accumulate dust, trapping it until it can be removed by vacuuming. Carpets do not cause dust. In fact, new research proves the health and safety benefits of carpeting.

Carpets - problem

That's precisely it. There is no problem. Read more and you'll understand. 

Carpets are very comfortable things - they provide underfoot comfort and warmth. Think of what your life would have been like if you lived on cement.

International studies have disproved the common notion that carpets cause dust and house-mite allergies. In fact they play a role in reducing allergy-causing airborne dust, while their non-slip surface reduces household accidents.

Million of bugs are at home in your house, but carpeting lets you breathe easier

Recent studies have shown that carpets reduce dust and allergens in the home, providing relief for allergy and asthma sufferers. Airborne dust, dust mites, germs and allergens is a fact of life in the home, as well as in schools, hospitals and office environments. Contrary to misleading claims that carpets cause dust, the pile and fibres in carpeting actually trap dust, keeping it out of the breathing zone until it can be removed by vacuuming.

Therefore, the amount of airborne dust in carpeted rooms is much lower than in rooms with hard floorcoverings where dust is continually disturbed by foot traffic, draughts and sweeping.

The Swedish Institute of Fibre and Polymer Research discovered an inversely proportional relationship between increased occurrence of allergic reactions in the general population and the decline of carpet usage.

Carpets are good news for asthma sufferers

In America, over four million children suffer from asthma - a leading cause of childhood hospitalisation and school absenteeism. A Cornell University study revealed that carpets in schools were shown to improve indoor air quality by trapping allergens and contaminants.

At the Professional Laboratory, Inc. in Dalton, a series of experiments were conducted comparing the amount of dust present in the breathing zone in hard-floor and carpeted-floor environments. Tests were conducted by disturbing measured amounts of dust when walking, mopping and vacuuming. The results showed dramatically reduced airborne dust levels in the carpeted room, indicating that the carpeted room was a healthier environment.

Swedish research proves the health benefits of carpeting

Extensive reports in Sweden in the 1970's claimed that carpets were the source of harmful contaminants, which caused allergic reactions.

As a result Swedish homeowners ripped out their carpets and reverted to hard floorings in the interest of a 'healthier lifestyle'.

However, based on historical figures published by the Swedish Statistical Central Bureau in the early 1990s, the Swedish Institute of Fibre and Polymer Research discovered that while the use of carpet in Sweden had steadily decreased since 1975, the occurences of allergic reactions in the general population had actually increased.

Soft landing

In addition to helping you breathe more easily, the luxurious on-slip comfort of a carpet offers increased safety and a soft landing in the event of a fall.

Statistics in the United States indicate that slips and falls within the home are the leading cause of injury among children and mature adults, with childhood falls accounting for over two million emergency room visits per year.

How to keep carpets clean

Carpeting is the safest floorcovering choice

It's logical. Falling on a hard surface is more likely to result in serious injury than a fall on a soft surface, like carpet that cushions the impact and lessens the chance of injury.

This is borne out by statistics from the United States, where slips and falls whithin the home are the leading cause of injury among children and mature adults, with childhood falls accounting for over two million emergency room visits a year.

Like young children and toddlers, older people are at high risk and the consequences are often serious. Even minor injury to a frail person can lead to hospitalisation.

The clear benefit of carpeting is that it provides a stable non-slip walking surface, offering secure traction underfoot and a softer landing. A fact borne out by a study in a health care facility which showed that, of 225 slip and fall incidents, only 17% of those falling on carpets sustained injury while those who slipped on hard surfaces sustained a much higher injury rate of 91%.

Clearly carpets play a positive role in reducing the chance of falls and in reducing the degree of injury when falls do happen.

Orthopods and peadiatricians recommend carpet.

Carpet also offers long-term benefits. Orthopaedic specialists agree that carpet is the ideal floor covering to counter the strain the body takes when walking on hard surfaces. They recommend that resilient carpets be fitted in homes and offices to counteract backache and joint pain. In addition, walking barefoot on carpet is equivalent to the effects of natural reflex massage treatment.

Cleaning your carpets

Just before you think about complaining about vacuuming, think about what your life would have been like if all you had to clean the carpets with, were a broom and a dustpan. And yes, vacuuming remains the best way to rid your carpets of dust, grime and dust mites.

Vacuum your carpets at least twice a week, except those on which children play – they should be cleaned daily. Buy the best vacuum cleaner you can afford and clean and service your vacuum cleaner regularly. Avoid vacuuming, cleaning or dusting with an asthma sufferer in the room and don't clean the room just before bedtime.

Ordinary vacuuming does not remove or reduce mite populations. Mites are so tiny that they pass through the vacuum cleaner bag.

Clean food spills immediately with an efficient carpet cleaner and open windows and doors to let the carpet dry. Use a vacuum cleaner or a heater to dry in winter. Air fresheners or aromatherapy candles can do a lot to dispel musty smells after a cleaning session.

Handy hint:
If you want to clean smelly carpets, sprinkle baking soda over them, leave for about an hour and then vacuum. 

The air
The ambience


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