Many people with allergies worry that installing carpets in their house could make their allergies worse, but the good news is that doesn’t have to be true. If you have allergies but crave the cozy feeling of wall-to-wall carpeting, there are hypoallergenic options out there.
What is Hypoallergenic Carpet?
There is no formal industry standard for hypoallergenic carpet, so it’s worth talking to a flooring expert and also doing your own research on carpet brands you’re interested in to see if they will meet your needs. Carpet is inherently hypoallergenic, but there are types of carpet that enhance the hypoallergenic environment.
What your carpet is made of?
Some carpet materials are more hypoallergenic than others. Certain man-made fibers (such as nylon, olefin, and polypropylene) are naturally mold- and mildew-resistant, which can help cut down on allergic reactions.
The tightness of the weave and the length of the carpet fibers
A tightly woven carpet is easier to clean than looser, shaggier carpets with thick piles. Carpets with a tighter, denser weave will trap less dust and harbor less dust.
The amount of VOC emissions
One of the worst, and most often overlooked, allergy issues with new carpets is the off-gassing of potentially harmful chemicals produced by the manufacturing process. These chemicals, known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs, can be serious triggers for people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
To avoid carpeting that may potentially contain VOCs, look for carpets with a GREENGUARD rating for low emissions. GREENGUARD is an independent VOC emissions standard and testing protocol that can help you choose the safest carpets for your home.
It’s important to note that any carpet — whether it’s branded as hypoallergenic or not — must be regularly and properly cleaned in order to cut down on the presence of allergens in the home. Unlike the smooth surfaces of wood, linoleum, or vinyl flooring, the fibers of a carpet can trap and hold dust, dander, and pollen. These substances are then released back into the air when you walk over your carpet.
A strict vacuuming schedule (at least twice each week) can help, but you need a vacuum cleaner with a good filter, or you may just end up making those allergens airborne all over again.