Steam Carpet Cleaning
Steam carpet cleaning is essential for interior carpet, especially if you have asthma or allergies. Carpet is a wonderful way to add warmth and comfort to your home, however when it comes to allergies and asthma, carpets are the enemy. Or are they? If you ask most people, they will say get rid of your carpets to get rid of your allergies. Carpets are often referred to as dust collectors and therefore triggers for asthma suffers. However I believe this to be incorrect. Provided you maintain your carpet, it is actually a good option for allergy sufferers. A good Vacuum and regular steam carpet cleaning will ensure a healthy home.
Busting the myth about carpet and allergies
Many people claim that carpet is dirty and it aggravates allergies and other respiratory conditions, such as asthma. This is simply not true and there is no need to avoid carpet in your home. According to the National Asthma Council of Australia, the biggest allergic triggers for asthma are house dust mites, pets, pollen and mould. Avoiding exposure to these types of allergens will not cure asthma. However it may improve the condition and help with symptom management. The Asthma Council also acknowledges that efforts to reduce exposure to allergens may be time consuming, expensive and often impractical.
Once upon a time it was suggested that asthma and allergy suffers remove all carpet in their home. and hard floors are often recommended for reducing allergens in the home. However the National Asthma Council no longer recommends these extreme measures and in fact suggests that removing carpet has no effect on the level of dust mites present in a home. Instead they recommend a good cleaning routine such as vacuuming and steam carpet cleaning, to remove dust mites and allergens.
You see, the beauty with carpet, is that it acts a giant filter. It traps dirt, dust and other airbourne particles in the fibres and thereby helps with indoor air quality. Just think about it for a minute, hard floors naturally have dust particles lying around on the surface. Every time you walk across the room, open a door, or window, the dust particles are stirred up by the change in air flow and redistributed into the air. Carpet, however traps the dust in the fibres and prevents it from being redistributed. Carpet also traps pet hair and stops it from becoming airbourne.
A 2014 study into the impact of carpet on allergies, was designed and evaluated by Dr Bruce Mitchell, Airmid Healthgroup CEO who is also a practicing allergy and immunology specialist. This research looked at the air quality in a chamber with carpet exposed to allergens and then later the same chamber with hard flooring also exposed to allergens. The researchers then looked at what effect steam carpet cleaning had on the air quality and carpet itself. Results showed that the levels of allergens in the air in the carpeted chamber were overall lower than those in the chamber with hard flooring. The second phase of the study showed that after vacuuming and steam carpet cleaning, the allergens were even further reduced.
“Effectively cleaned carpets have the capacity to trap allergen and microbial particles, making these particles less available to become airborne and thus maintaining indoor air quality. This makes regularly cleaned carpet a choice for families impacted by asthma and allergies.”
Dr Bruce Mitchell
We recommend vacuuming carpet at least once a week, depending on the amount of foot traffic. If you have pets then you may need to vacuum several times a week to remove allergens. Vacuums should have a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. The unique design of HEPA filters ensures that they trap even the tiniest dust particles and prevents redistribution into the air. The National Asthma Council of Australia recommends anyone with asthma or allergies to use this type of vacuum in their homes. You should conduct steam carpet cleaning at least twice a year and more frequently for those with pets and children. For more information about ways to maintain your carpet after steam carpet cleaning, please read this blog post: Carpet Cleaning Maintenance.
Are all carpets equal?
Most carpet manufacturers produce carpet ranges, with anti microbial properties. They are a good choice when it comes to reducing mould and other bacterial triggers. Natural fibres such as wool are naturally hypoallergenic. However wool does absorb water and therefore can encourage mould growth. This is why it is important to use a professional carpet cleaner, with experience in cleaning wool. Keep humidity to a minimum by using either dehumidifiers or air conditioners.
Man made fibres such as nylon are more resistant to moisture and do not need as much deep cleaning as natural fibres. Many carpet manufactures have a range of carpets specifically designed for people with allergies. You can find some more information here: National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice® program
New carpet installation will release VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air for several days. You can find out more from my previous article on VOC’s here. The other consideration when replacing carpet, is what to do with your old carpet. Recycling options are discussed here Melbourne Carpet Recycling
Finally the steam carpet cleaning service you choose should be one with experience and training in anti allergy cleaning. At Black Gold Carpet Cleaning, we use carpet cleaning agents which are citrus based and bio degradable. Our anti allergy and anti microbial treatments are completely natural. We use the natural anti bacterial and anti fungal properties of essential oils to sanitise carpet after steam carpet cleaning.