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A Complete Guide to Managing Allergies: With Rugs and Carpets

Updated: Feb 18


Are you struggling with allergies and suspect your home textiles might be the culprit? Carpets and rugs can trap allergens and keep your home cleaner. When that same rug becomes dirty, it can then release soiols into your home and exacerbate symptoms. This article clarifies how they interact with allergies and offers concrete approaches to minimize allergenic triggers in your rugs and carpets, striving towards a sneeze-free home.


Key Takeaway on allergies with Rugs and Carpets

  • Area rugs can improve indoor air quality by trapping allergens and pollutants such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores, but require regular cleaning to maintain effectiveness, as advised biannually by experts and organizations like the American Lung Association.

  • Carpets and rugs can also contribute to indoor air pollution if not maintained properly, releasing trapped pollutants and chemical off-gases (VOCs) through agitation from foot traffic, which can worsen allergy symptoms and indoor air quality.

  • Choosing hypoallergenic rugs made from natural fibers like wool and cotton can reduce allergy symptoms while maintaining a consistent cleaning regimen, including professional cleaning and non-toxic solutions, is crucial for managing allergies and improving indoor air quality.

Area Rugs Keep Your Home Air Cleaner

Dirt in the foundation of a wool Gabbeh rug before cleaning
allergens absorbed by a wool rug

Area rugs serve as a filter and barrier against various allergens and pollutants, such as dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and pesticides. They work by capturing these unwanted intruders within their dense fibers and unique structure. This helps shield the immune system from harmful substances by preventing them from freely circulating in living spaces.


The effectiveness of area rugs in improving air quality relies on regularly removing trapped pollutants through cleaning. The process involves neutralizing invaders using antibodies produced by the immune system. To maintain its protective function for those with allergies or respiratory concerns, it is recommended to clean carpets at least once a year, according to microbiologist Phillip Tierno.


However, vigilant care must be taken because accumulated dust, dirt, and other allergens can compromise the rug’s ability to purify the indoor environment. Certain households may require more frequent routine cleaning, homes that frequently experience high foot traffic and pets might need more frequent or additional attention. An annual deep carpet cleaning and area rug washing contributes towards bettering overall healthful ambiance.


How Carpets and Rugs Trap Pollutants


Carpets and rugs have the unique ability to serve as a filter in your home, capturing allergens and pollutants. The fibers within these items effectively trap particles such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores, preventing them from circulating in the air. This reduces the need for our immune system to produce antibodies against these substances that can cause allergies.


Various factors play a role in determining how well carpets or rugs can trap pollutants. These include their material type, size, and pile height, which all impact their effectiveness at catching dust and other contaminants commonly linked to allergic rhinitis symptoms. Carpet flooring acts as an indoor reservoir for potential irritants like food particles or airborne allergens that could trigger sensitivities.


Many types of pollutants and chemicals have a strong attraction to wool and its static electric charge. Formaldehyde, cooking oils, and smoke are all attracted to wool, and wool absorbs and holds these pollutants. Don't take our word for it; check out the Wools of New Zealand site and the benefits of wool.


The specific dimensions of a rug or carpet also influence its capability of trapping pollutants through its fiber structure acting similarly to a filtering mechanism when exposed indoors on furniture surfaces where it collects accumulated allergenic elements known mainly by people with food allergies who are especially sensitive to airborne causes potentially harmful reactions.


How Rugs Generate Allergies


Rugs trap pollutants
Trapped pollutants in a carpet

Rugs have the ability to trap pollutants, When dirty a rug cannot absorbe more soils leading to more allergens in the air. If they are not adequately maintained and cleaned, they can also contribute to indoor air pollution. This happens when accumulated allergens and contaminants in rugs are released back into the air through foot traffic. Some of these substances include dirt, dust particles, and biological contamination like dust mites and pet dander.

These agitated pollutants from rugs can trigger allergy symptoms by affecting indoor air quality. Dust mites, pet dander, cockroach allergens, and mold spores are common examples that may be released from dirty or poorly maintained rugs. These airborne irritants pose a risk for those with allergies.

In summary, neglecting rug maintenance leads to increased levels of indoor air pollution due to the re-release of trapped particles stirred up during regular activities on its surface area – all resulting in various forms of allergy symptoms triggered by commonly found household sources.


soils removed from a gabbeh
Dry particulate soil removed

Chemical Offgassing of Carpets


Another factor to consider when it comes to allergies and rugs is the process of off-gassing. Some carpets and area rugs can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which are chemicals that can be found in synthetic materials and carpet adhesives. Seek out handwoven rugs or Oriental rugs made with natural fibers and without the use of adhesives.


Regular foot traffic or heavy sun exposure on these types of carpeting can accelerate off-gassing and result in the emission of accumulated VOCs. This deterioration in indoor air quality has been known to trigger severe allergic reactions in those who suffer from allergies.


Carpet off-gassing chemicals
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing from a carpet


These released VOCs. Volatile Organic Compounds have the potential to irritate eyes and respiratory systems, ultimately leading individuals with existing allergies to experience symptoms or even more serious reactions.


Furthermore, common seasonal allergy triggers include pollen remnants trapped within house textiles and air ducts. These exist all year round but tend only to become excessive during specific seasons/In conclusion, avoiding exposure to home furnishings highly laden with chemical adhesives and synthetic materials is best for people with Allergies.



When it comes to managing allergies, the right type of rug can make a huge difference. Opting for hypoallergenic rugs made from natural materials like cotton or wool can effectively reduce symptoms and improve overall comfort. Wool is especially beneficial as it naturally resists dust mites and bacteria, making it an ideal choice for those with asthma or allergy attacks.


Cotton rugs also offer similar benefits due to their use of natural fibers. They are a great option for individuals who have tested positive on skin prick tests for allergic reactions to synthetic materials.


Wool’s inherent non-allergenic properties make it highly preferred by those with allergies. This is because wool has the ability to hinder bacterial growth and trap allergens in its fibers, creating a healthier environment for people sensitive to things like food allergies.

Certain brands that use synthetic polypropylene material may also be considered due to their hypoallergenic qualities. Other options include nylon, polyester, and pure wool - all known for being less favorable environments for allergens compared to other fabrics commonly used in traditional carpets which often result in bothersome symptoms such as runny nose caused by exposure to irritants floating around homes enclosed within flooring artificially created using adhesives which cause inhalation distress (such asthmatic conditions).



Reducing Pollutants & Managing Allergies With Rug Care


Proper maintenance of rugs is crucial in managing allergies, along with choosing the right rug. Consistent cleaning and upkeep can effectively decrease the presence of allergens and pollutants trapped within carpets, leading to improved indoor air quality.

It is recommended to have professional rug cleanings done every six months or once a year for optimal reduction of allergens. For homes with individuals who have health concerns or respiratory issues, additional routine cleanings may be necessary, especially in high-traffic areas.


Steam cleaning has gained recognition as an efficient method for reducing contaminants from rugs. This technique can eliminate various types of substances deeply embedded within carpet fibers, such as pet dander, dust particles that trigger allergies, and bacteria.

These harmful elements are known culprits when it comes to causing allergic reactions and negatively impacting one’s health. By regularly maintaining your rugs through methods like steam cleaning, some potential triggers such as allergens,pet hairs,dust mites, and bacterial growth inside them will be greatly reduced if not eliminated entirely.


Cleaning Intervals for Rugs & Carpets


Consistently following a cleaning schedule is essential in managing allergies, as it helps to reduce the presence of perennial allergens. This involves vacuuming on a weekly basis and washing items such as curtains and throw rugs at high temperatures (130 F or hotter). A regular routine like this is crucial for reducing persistent allergens.

To effectively control and minimize the build-up of allergens, deep cleaning area rugs every 3-6 months is recommended. How often you should clean depends on the material of your rug - synthetic materials may require more frequent cleaning for appearance purposes, while others only need professional attention once every 1-2 years or based on advice from experts.


gabbeh rug cleaning
Wool gabbeh rug being cleaned

Following a consistent rug-cleaning routine can greatly diminish dirt, dander and indoor particles that could contribute to illness or worsen allergies. As a result, air quality within your home will improve significantly.


Best cleaning methods for allergy sufferers


Individuals with allergies must be cautious when cleaning their rugs. It is important to use mild, non-toxic cleaning products and avoid harsh chemicals in order to minimize allergy symptoms while keeping the carpets clean.

For those who suffer from allergies, it is recommended to opt for natural rug cleaners that do not contain synthetic ingredients. Planet Detergent and Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover are good options as they are made of organic ingredients.

For area rugs and orientals, get them out of the home to an in-plant rug cleaner that specializes in a full wash for a truly deep clean.

Steam cleaning or hot water extraction for in-home carpet cleaning is your best bet at reducing allergens such as dust mites found in carpets, which contribute significantly towards causing allergic reactions.

Use gentle cleansers, some home remedies like baking soda and vinegar can safely remove stains but care should be taken with natural fibers.

By choosing suitable methods for rug and carpet maintenance, individuals suffering from allergies can keep their living spaces free of dust mites and other common allergens, thus minimizing potential health concerns associated with indoor air quality.


Choosing a Rug Cleaning Service


For individuals with allergies, choosing a rug cleaning service requires careful consideration. It is important to select companies that specialize in allergy-friendly techniques and utilize eco-friendly products that are free of toxins.

An ideal allergy-friendly rug cleaning service implements methods that do not promote mold or mildew growth and leave no sticky residue behind. They use specialized tools and solutions to thoroughly eliminate dust, dander, and allergens from rugs.

When searching for a suitable rug cleaning service, be sure to check their credentials, such as the ARCS (Association of Rug Cleaning Specialists) certification and Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT) certification. These qualifications demonstrate the company’s commitment to professional standards and maintaining a safe environment for your home by keeping it free from allergens.


Summary

Rugs play an essential role in managing allergies by capturing allergens and pollutants that can cause symptoms. If not properly maintained, they can also contribute to indoor air pollution.

To alleviate allergy symptoms, choosing the right type of rug made from natural materials such as wool or cotton is advisable. Regular upkeep, including weekly vacuuming and periodic deep cleaning, is essential for maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

When seeking professional cleaning services for your rug, it is crucial to select companies specialized in using eco-friendly and non-toxic products along with allergy-friendly techniques. Doing so can ensure a safe and healthy living space for yourself and your loved ones.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you make allergies go away?

If you are looking for ways to treat allergies, one option is to try over-the-counter solutions. These include oral antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, cromolyn sodium nasal sprays or oral decongestants. They can effectively alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and congestion in the nose region.

So if you want relief from your allergy issues without a prescription medication, you may consider using these options available at most drugstores.


Why are my allergies so bad right now?

The current warmer weather may be leading to heightened allergies, as it is causing plants to release pollen earlier and increasing the production of allergenic particles. This can worsen symptoms for those with asthma and other allergic reactions.


How do you tolerate allergies?

Allergy immunotherapy is a potential method for developing tolerance to seasonal allergies. It involves gradually exposing the body to small amounts of allergens, which can lead to desensitization and reduced reactions.

This approach has shown effectiveness in helping individuals tolerate their allergies. By utilizing this technique, it may be possible for someone with severe seasonal allergy symptoms to become less reactive to common triggers such as pollen.


How can I clean my rug at home?

To clean your rug at home, you can start by sweeping it off, then mixing dishwashing detergent and water in a bucket and working the solution into the rug with a mop or broom.

Finally, rinse the rug off with a garden hose and let it dry over a fence or porch railing.


What kinds of allergens and pollutants can area rugs capture?

Rugs have the ability to trap a variety of allergens and pollutants, including dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, particle pollution, and pesticides. To reduce these potential risks for those with allergies or respiratory issues, it is important to regularly clean and maintain your area rugs.


Frequent cleaning of your rugs can help minimize exposure to these harmful particles. These efforts are particularly crucial in reducing the presence of common household irritants like dust mites, which thrive in the household.



Renaissance Rug Cleaning Inc. is a specialty rug cleaning and restoration company based in Portland, Oregon. Renaissance has been serving clients in the Portland metro area for over 22 years as a specific focus on hand-woven rugs and area carpets.

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