2

votes

Carpet - Is it Bad?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Growing up I was diagnosed with an allergy to dust mites (and mold), my parents decided to rip all of the carpeting out of my room since the doctor said carpeting would be terrible for my allergies and asthma.

I haven't had any asthma stuff in a long time (going on 10 years) except one time when I was staying in a moldy environment My allergies have improved a ton since going paleo and I wouldn't really say I have allergies anymore. I definitely still think I am allergic to dust though.

Now, I'm looking for an apartment. It is very difficult to find a good apartment without at least carpet in the bedroom. So I did some research on carpet, how bad is it?

There are tons of anecdotes about carpeting being bad, and it is widely believed to be bad for allergies, asthma, dust mites, etc. But in my research I found studies and websites suggesting that the opposite is true, that carpet is actually good for these things because it traps the allergens instead of allowing them to get stirred up and then inhaled.

For Carpet:
http://shawfloors.com/allergens
http://www.housekeepingchannel.com/a_705-Truth_or_Myth_Carpet_Aggravates_Allergies
http://www.carpet-health.org/aa.asp
http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/health-and-environment/asthma-allergies-facts.cfm

Against:
http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/carpet-allergy.htm

Middle Ground:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/carpet/carpet-for-allergies.htm

So, the doctors say no to carpet, but the science from what I can tell may say different.... sounds familiar.

What should I do? Advice? Look for a specific type of carpet? Obviously going to make a big attempt to keep clean whatever type of flooring I end up with. The "try it and see" deal doesn't work so well here because I will be entering a lease for wherever I decide on.

Thanks for any help/advice.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:47 PM

Imagine lining your guts with linoleum coating. Think about it the next time you eat flaxseed.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:44 PM

By its very definition real linoleum is shot full of oxidized PUFA's. The modern versions are riffs off of vinyl chloride.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:42 PM

Carpet isn't that bad, all the fiber probably improves peristalsis.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on September 24, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Carpet is porous - many carpets have a layer of sponge underneath, it has lots of places to collect mites, mold, and dust. Title is inert, it cannot outgas. Wood might outgass as the shellack coating dries, but it goes away quickly, and is usually dry before it gets installed - carpet can outgass for months. Linoleum, I'm not sure about, but as it is a plastic/vynil, it will likely outgass whenever it warms up. I have a fairly new window whose frame is made of vynil and whenever it warms up from sunlight, it smells of plastic - I expect linoleum would have similar issues.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 23, 2012
at 11:29 PM

Christine: Does yours get stuck? I haven't bought one yet because of the terrible reviews.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:40 PM

[email protected] the Roomba, I didn't even know they made those. That's awesome. I'm definitely going to look into that. Save some work. The running daily ensures it gets done, unlike if I expect myself to do it...

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:39 PM

That makes good sense to me, thanks for the advice!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Why is carpet worse for mites, mold, dust? According to my googling it isn't. Do tile and wood or linoleum floors not outgas?

78964c5cc470f86a5897db8e1ce8e6f9

on September 23, 2012
at 07:25 PM

The older the carpet, the less outgassing it'll do, but more stuff will already be trapped in the fibers. Ask for an apartment that has older carpeting and then get it steam cleaned. Afterwards, I recommend you invest in a Roomba. Ours are set to run daily and they're fantastic for keeping the house clean - carpet, tile, wood, whatever.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 23, 2012
at 07:14 PM

And perhaps no shoes past the entranceway will also keep some of the allergens out plus keep the home cleaner.

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5 Answers

4
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on September 23, 2012
at 06:42 PM

Yes, it's bad, not just for the mites, mold, and dust, but more importantly offgassing of all the volatile plastic chemicals and flame retardants that disrupt our endocrine systems.

Get rid of it if you have it, don't install it if you don't.

here's one quick google provided answer: http://www.wddty.com/carpet-the-chemicals-underfoot.html

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on September 24, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Carpet is porous - many carpets have a layer of sponge underneath, it has lots of places to collect mites, mold, and dust. Title is inert, it cannot outgas. Wood might outgass as the shellack coating dries, but it goes away quickly, and is usually dry before it gets installed - carpet can outgass for months. Linoleum, I'm not sure about, but as it is a plastic/vynil, it will likely outgass whenever it warms up. I have a fairly new window whose frame is made of vynil and whenever it warms up from sunlight, it smells of plastic - I expect linoleum would have similar issues.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Why is carpet worse for mites, mold, dust? According to my googling it isn't. Do tile and wood or linoleum floors not outgas?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:44 PM

By its very definition real linoleum is shot full of oxidized PUFA's. The modern versions are riffs off of vinyl chloride.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:47 PM

Imagine lining your guts with linoleum coating. Think about it the next time you eat flaxseed.

2
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 23, 2012
at 07:09 PM

I can only offer anecdotal evidence. The allergies in my family improved drastically when we moved into a home that was mostly tile, despite moving to a more agricultural area. There is an alfalfa field a quarter-mile from my house that is harvested every few weeks. I used to react horrifically to alfalfa. I used to have to take antihistamines and Sudafed daily, sometimes several times during the day, in order to even remotely function.

Since going Paleo, it improved even more. There is carpeting in the bedrooms, but in most of the common areas, it's all tile that is swept every few days. The garage was converted into a home theater room with black carpet, but there is no padding under the carpet. I'm not sure what the greater offender is, the carpet, the padding, or a combination of both, but I would recommend avoiding it where you can. If you can only find some place with carpeting in the bedroom, an air cleaner would be an affordable way to keep it livable for you. I am inclined toward believing some of the problems associated with carpeting is in high traffic areas, where allergens are constantly being stirred up. If the time you spend in your bedroom is mostly in bed and you have an air cleaner, it will probably be less of a problem.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:39 PM

That makes good sense to me, thanks for the advice!

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 23, 2012
at 07:14 PM

And perhaps no shoes past the entranceway will also keep some of the allergens out plus keep the home cleaner.

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:38 PM

I watched The Big Lebowski twice over the weekend and was reminded of how dangerous a carpet can be.

But sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you. When my old Kilims get dusty I give them a good shaking and beating outside. The dust flies away every time. It doesn't work as well for pile rugs, and not at all on my apartment's underlying wall-to-wall, but the open weave wool kilims form a protective layer over the dirty synthetic.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 24, 2012
at 06:42 PM

We have carpeting in our bedroom, but not the rest of our house, and we all have dust allergies. The trick I've found is to:

  1. Get a HEPA air filter to suck the dust up before it gets to your nose
  2. Get an inexpensive carpet shampooer and use if at least 3-4 times per year
  3. Vacuum often

0
F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on September 24, 2012
at 04:42 PM

Any other advice?

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