Dust happens everywhere, no matter what kind of flooring you have. The difference is, when dust and allergens settle in a carpet, they stay there until you vacuum them away. That’s what we’ve always said here at the Carpet and Rug Institute, and this week, a powerful new set of studies was made public that adds tremendous weight to that argument.
The study performed by Airmid Healthgroup, an independent biomedical research group. In short, they examine airborne dust and allergen levels in a chamber with carpet and again in the same chamber with hard surface floors, and then look at what effect carpet cleaning has on dust and allergens both in room air and in the carpet itself.
According to a press release, the studies show that, “effectively cleaned carpets can trap allergens and other particles, resulting in fewer particles escaping into the air.”
In Phase One of the studies, several types of new carpet as well as new hardwood floor samples were uniformly soiled with dust and allergens. Researchers found that, even before the carpet was cleaned, the levels of allergens, including cat and dust mite allergens, were lower in the air over all of the carpets than over the hardwood flooring, even after both flooring types were repeatedly disturbed by activities such as walking or bouncing a ball.
Phase Two showed further significant reductions in allergen levels occurred after both newly-soiled carpet samples and real-world soiled carpet samples were cleaned using the industry and CRI-recommended regimen of vacuuming, cleaning with a cleaning solution, agitation and hot water extraction.
The studies were designed and evaluated by Dr. Bruce Mitchell, Airmid Chaiman/CEO who is also a practicing allergy and immunology physician. Dr. Mitchell presented the studies to audiences of his peers at the annual meetings of both the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“These studies challenge the long-held belief that carpet must adversely impact indoor air quality as it pertains to asthma and allergy sufferers,” Dr. Mitchell is quoted in the press release. “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.”