Rugs and Carpets are used inside homes for various reasons. Some people love the great feeling of walking on the soft material. Some want to keep their floors squeaky clean. Others like them because they make the interior look better. But you have to know that carpets and rugs may cause health problems.
Allergens and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These places can be breeding grounds for allergens, more particularly dust mites and animal dander. This is according to Jonathan Bernstein, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati in the Division of Immunology and Allergy.
He further explains that some carpet materials also emit VOCs that can cause ailments such as headaches and respiratory problems.
Now before you rush out to get rid of those rugs and carpets, know that there's no need for that. You only need to follow the guidelines listed below.
Choose Natural Materials
Choose the natural materials and stay away from synthetic fibers as these release harmful VOCs into the air. Also, the natural materials are often woven to make thinner rugs.
These natural materials include:
- sea grass
Choose Thinner and Smaller
The bigger and thicker a rug or carpet is, the harder it is to remove the allergens from it. It's much better to opt for low-pile rugs as fewer allergens are trapped in the fibers.
Also, instead of covering an entire area with carpet, just use a smaller size to accent a spot. For example, instead of installing wall-to-wall carpeting inside your living room, it would be better to use the carpet only under the sofa and table.
Choose Green Label
Apart from choosing the right material, it would also be a good idea to check out the label of the carpet or rug. Look for products that have a Green Label. If you can find something that has a Green Label Plus from the Carpet and Rug Institute, then that's even better. This ensures that the carpet or rug has low-VOCs emissions.
Clean Up the Air
If you have a carpet that emits VOCs, you don't have to send it back to the seller. Keep in mind that many carpets are able to get rid of the VOCs after a few weeks, according to Richard Shaughnessy, PhD, director of the Indoor Air Program at the University of Tulsa. However, it's recommended that you ensure the adhesives used for installing your carpet have low or zero VOCs.
Also, it's vital to keep the air clean. Open the windows often to let fresh air circulate throughout your home. If you've bought a new carpet or rug, let it stay in the basement or garage until the smell is gone. It would also help to buy an air filtering device that can help absorb the allergens that come with using carpets.
Carpets require you to clean up thoroughly at least once a week. Don't buy carpets unless you're prepared to do that. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. Hire a professional cleaner if you have wall-to-wall or area carpeting. Professional cleanup doesn't have to be done too often, and once a year is often enough.