How Your Flooring Affects Your Health

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You may not realize it, but the type of flooring you have in your home can have an impact on your health. From asthma attacks to slips and falls, learn more about how carpet and other flooring materials affect your health, and the number of sick days you have to take off work.

Carpets can trap dust and other allergy and asthma triggers. If you do not regularly clean your carpets, then dust, pesticides, dirt and other substances can become trapped in the carpet fibers. This may cause problems for people who suffer from allergies, asthma, or respiratory disease. While that doesn’t mean you can’t have carpet in your home if you, or someone you live with, has allergies or asthma, you should pay special attention to cleaning and maintenance.

Your doctor can talk to you about things you can do to keep your home safe and healthy for an allergy or asthma sufferer, including hiring a carpet cleaning service, or replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood or laminate flooring.

Mold and mildew may grow in or under carpets. It is possible that mold and mildew could grow in or around your carpets and rugs, especially if you live in a damp or humid area or your home isn’t properly ventilated. Breathing in mold spores can be harmful to your health, contributing to congestion, wheezing and skin irritation.

Exposure to mold may also put people with weakened immune systems at greater risk for infections. However, proper care and cleaning of your carpets and rugs will help prevent mold problems. Have a carpet cleaning service visit your home at least once a year to keep your carpets fresh and clean – and safe for your health.

Beware volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many types of flooring can emit VOCs after they are installed. How harmful these VOCs are is a matter of debate, but they may contribute to breathing problems and headaches in certain people. Carpets, along with padding, glue, and carpet backing, made from synthetic materials may continue to emit gases long after they are installed – possibly for years.

If you are concerned about how VOCs may affect your health, look for carpets that are made from natural or organic, rather than synthetic, fibers. Choose carpets and rugs made of wool, cotton or grass, or that have received a Green Certification from the Carpet and Rug Institute. If you’re putting in new carpet, be sure to air out the room after installation and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions for caring for the carpet. You could also hire a professional residential carpet cleaning service to help get rid of VOCs.