Carpet or Hard Floor? Asthma, Allergies & Our Family’s Health

I regularly have a discussion with my clients when working in their home. We discuss many topics, but a common discussion involved the client saying “I should just have wood floor through… it’s easier”

Easier to clean, yes, you only have to ‘wipe’ it over with a mop and it’s job done. But what if I told you that having hard flooring contributes more significantly to asthma and allergies than having a carpeted floor.

Ok… So Why?

It’s a topic that I’ve discussed several times before and a point that should be well known, that is, a carpet will trap and filter airborne contaminants. When you consider hard flooring, these contaminants rest on the surface easily disturbed by any footfall or airflow where they become immediately airborne. In fact, one study has shown that particulates above hard flooring were 4 times higher than that of a carpeted floor.

Having a beautiful stone floor in your kitchen or stunning luxury vinyl laid in your bathroom is mostly practical and will definitely favour the decor.

But these are areas of our home that we don’t spend too much time in.

We’re spending on average 7-8 hours in our bedrooms per night, and having a hard floor could be detrimental to our family’s health. It’s worth taking this into consideration when renovating your bedroom or moving into your dream home.

Some Facts

  • A 2003 study showed that carpeting in a child’s bedroom was associated with lower rates of asthma medication use.
  • A study of 20,000 people showed a correlation between carpeted bedrooms and reduced asthma symptoms.
  • A 2007 collaborative study concluded that there’s no evidence of health benefits when choosing hard flooring instead of carpet.

But Remember

It’s still important to vacuum regularly (preferably a vacuum with a HEPA type filter to avoid dispersing contaminants into the air when cleaning). Check out our blog; The Importance of Regular Vacuuming for more information on this.

You’ll also need to periodically have your carpets professionally deep cleaned to remove contaminants from deep within the pile and sanitise your carpet. If you’re an allergy sufferer, ask your professional carpet cleaner about dust mite protection. This is an inhibitor that protects for up 12 months providing a huge benefit in your home.

For a more detailed report, read this document titled; Carpet, Asthma & Allergies – Myth or Reality by Mitchell W. Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT