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Healthy Home Debate: Hard floors or carpets?

Friday, Jul. 5th 2013

It’s a big debate. Are hard floors or carpets better for a healthy home? Let’s explore.

Healthy Home Debate- Bock's Steam Star

According to the EPA: Indoor air pollution is ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. This is important as most people spend 90% of their time indoors. Children are most at risk. The question becomes, “How can I make my home healthier?” I’ve often heard from clients who were told to remove the carpets and this would help. Is this really true?

In 1973, Swedish government believed that allergies were caused by wall-to-wall carpet.

  • Carpet was banned in public facilities from 1973 to 1990.
  • Carpet’s market share dropped from 40% to 2%.
  • Allergy cases went up 600% during the same time period.
  • It is now known carpets are not the problem. Removal of carpet does not improve allergies.  Regular cleaning of all home furnishings is the key.

When we stop and think about it, carpets are an incredible filtering device. If you are allergic to pollens, dust, or pet dander wouldn’t you want those trapped in the environmental filter which is carpet?  If not for the carpets, these indoor allergens would become airborne. Normal foot traffic in a room would allow indoor allergens to be “kicked up” into your breathing zones. A carpet is actually your friend. Only when the environmental filter is not emptied through professional restorative hot water extraction cleaning does it become a problem. The operative word there professional! An inadequate carpet cleaning can accelerate the accumulation of these soils at a faster rate if residues are not properly rinsed. Did you save money now on Bubba’s Bargain Basement cleaning coupon?  Hot water extraction by a competent trained technician has been proven by the carpet mills. It removes the most soils, leaves the least amount of residue, AND leaves the home or business healthier! I don’t know about you but that sounds like a very Green Cleaning activity!

Having talked to clients over 20 years of carpet cleaning, I still believe the easiest flooring to maintain is carpet. Vacuum your carpet often with a HEPPA vacuum or other clean air system. Have it cleaned by an IICRC firm every 6-18 months, depending on traffic. You might be saying, “Sure Brian, but you own a carpet cleaning business”.

‘True”, but we also clean a lot of area rugs.

An area rug goes down not long after a hard surface, such as hardwood or tile is installed. Usually this is done to provide warmth and deaden the sound. However, Oriental Rugs are much more costly to clean than carpet due to the risks and handling issues. This is not a sales pitch since we can service you either way. It is an observation from someone with a unique perspective. I’m not saying one flooring choice is better than the other. Both can work! I have hardwoods, rugs, and carpet in my own home. However, If you are not committed to damp mopping the hard surfaces regularly and suffer from asthma or allergies, carpets may be a better choice.
photo credit: marimoon via photopin cc

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