Allergy-Free FlooringWhat's the best option for you and your family?
Allergen-Friendly Flooring: Carpet vs. Hardwood
Living with allergies is a daily struggle, but your house should not add to the fight. Some flooring types are much more friendly for allergy sufferers than others. If you're looking for hypoallergenic flooring options, consider hardwood flooring instead of carpet.
What difference does carpet make?
Carpet brings warmth to a room, but it can aggravate allergies. Even with frequent and thorough cleaning, carpet contributes to allergy symptoms because
- it traps pet dander. Even if you do not have pets, dander from visiting animals, your coat and shoes, or even from visitor's clothes sheds onto the carpet and gets trapped in the fiber.
- it provides a home for dust mites. Dust mites feed on dust, which is typically a mixture of dirt and organic material (like dead skin cells). Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to dust mites.
- mold spores can stay in carpet fibers. Mold is another common trigger for allergy symptoms.
Each time you walk, lay, or sit on the carpet these trapped particles can lift into the air and circulate so you'll be sneezing all night long when the family is gathered to watch a movie in your carpeted living room. There are some types of carpet that are meant to be more allergy-friendly. If you must have carpet, choose low-loft carpeting that has a very tightly-woven pile and low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions. Be sure to steam clean often and vacuum daily.
How is hardwood better?
Hardwood is one of the top choices for people with allergies. Unlike carpet, hardwood cannot provide a permanent home for dust and dust mites. When properly cared for, hardwood flooring does not hold mold spores or pet dander. Cleaning methods are more likely to remove all or most of the allergens from the floor. Some people worry that hardwood floors can be harsh for bedrooms and cozy living spaces, but these are the areas where it is most needed for allergies -- the time you spend sleeping and relaxing constitutes the most exposure to a specific environment in a day, and therefore has a large impact on the severity of your symptoms.
Hardwood floors have some advantages over carpet when it comes to reducing allergic reactions at home. You can speak with a supply store in your area for the best flooring for your particular needs.