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Allergies and carpets

Allergy sufferers are often told to remove carpeting from their homes and replace it with vinyl or hardwood flooring in order to improve or lessen their symptoms. Some follow this advice and spend $1,000’s of dollars changing their floor coverings. But is this a necessary step or can many people with allergies keep their carpeting?

Many allergic individuals can peacefully co-exist with wall-to-wall carpeting but the trick is regular and proper cleaning. Carpeting works like a giant filter in your home to trap pollutants, dirt and allergens, and cleaning removes the debris. It comes down to sticking to a maintenance schedule if you don’t want carpeting to become a nuisance to your allergies. In other words, a clean carpet means allergies more under control.


First line of defense is regular vacuuming with a machine equipped with a HEPA air filter. How often should you vacuum? The answer is once a day in heavy traffic areas and once a week in low traffic areas. Sounds like a lot of work but hard surface flooring requires daily cleaning as well.

Deep cleaning

Every six to eight months carpeting should be professionally cleaned. An alternative would be to do-it-yourself with a rented rug cleaner or purchase one of your own. Schedule your carpet’s deep cleaning for the spring and fall.

I purchased a rug cleaner several years ago and set a lofty goal of shampooing my carpeting every three to four months. Instead, it usually happens twice a year but has made an enormous difference in my allergy symptoms. Rug shampooing not only benefits you health wise but also extends the life of your carpeting.

Hard surface flooring

Hardwood and vinyl flooring are always an alternative for those who cannot tolerate carpeting. Both kinds of flooring must be swept and damp-mopped daily to remove dust and other allergens.

The final verdict

Don’t rip up your carpeting until you’ve given the regular maintenance schedule a “good college try.”

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
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