If you are like lots of Australians, more than likely someone in your family might be affected by asthma or allergies.
Often there is no one single cause, rather the condition can be brought on by a range of triggers.
The Asthma Foundation of WA is one of the organisations out there who has done some great research into what we can do within our homes to minimize the allergens, and a lot of it is to do with the floor.
Some of the common triggers they've identified for asthma are dust mites, humidity, airborne particles (like dust), temperature changes, fumes and gases, and inhaled irritants like mould and bacteria's.
Your flooring choice, as well as how you look after it, can reduce the asmtha and allergy triggers in your home.
Dust mites are commonly associated with triggering both allergies and asthma.
What you might not know is that it is not the actual mite that is the problem, but rather their droppings.
Dust mite droppings become easily airborne, and when breathed in, they can cause a strong allergic response.
Dust mites are most commonly found in carpets and beds.
So flooring choice as well as flooring care is a key part of managing dust mites in the home.
Unfortunately dust mite droppings are not the only airborne particles in our home that can irritate, bacteria and mould have both been identified as potential asthma and allergy triggers.
These can be present in floor coverings, particularly carpets.
Dust when it is allowed to build up or is disturbed will also irritate, and can potentially trigger an allergy attack.
The key thing to understand is that there is no evidence that removing any one product will cure a person’s asthma, instead the choices you make are all incremental and can contribute to helping improve an asthmatic’s condition.
Carpet vs Hard Flooring?
In the past some people have recommended pulling up carpets in favour of hard flooring like timber floorboards, laminates, tiles or vinyl planks.
The perceived advantage was that it was easier to clean a hard floor surface.
While this may be true the drawback is that the dust, fluff and irritants are loose on the floor.
So to be really effective, you do need to be cleaning a hard surface floor very regularly.
The Asthma Foundation recommends a damp mop as sweeping simply shifts the dust around.
So lets look at the options with carpet.
Companies like Choices Flooring, have developed a specialist low allergen carpet range.
We spoke to Drashna Patel, at the Choices Osborne Park store about what makes the carpet suitable for people suffering from allergies and asthma.
“About 20% of our customers are interested in understanding what low allergy carpet options are available. We have a specially formulated product that has been designed to inhibit mould, bacteria and dust mite growth. “
“The carpet is a solution dyed nylon carpet so it’s also hard wearing, stain resistant and family friendly.”
The best carpets to choose are short piled carpets as they hold less dust than longer pile carpets.
The real trick seems to be in the ongoing care of the carpet.
Starting with a carpet that is treated to minimize bacteria, mould and dust mites is great but you then need to maintain it carefully to get the full low allergen benefits.
Both Drashna and the Asthma Foundation agree – regular and thorough vacuuming (twice weekly), and if you have pets then it really should be daily.
The annual steam clean is great, in fact it has been shown to be 60% more efficient at removing dust mites, but you need to be mindful of drying the carpets thoroughly afterwards so that there is reduced risk of damp carpets growing mould.
So if asthma or allergies are a problem in your home then you probably already know that there is no silver bullet.
Keeping your house well-ventilated, letting the sunshine in and regular cleaning go along way to helping.
If you are changing your carpet over, it is definitely worth taking a look at the low allergen options available.
The good news for sufferers comes from the Asthma Foundation – they recommend that you don’t do the vacuuming!
Drashna and her team would be happy to help you further with any questions you may have, so go visit them today in their Osborne Park showroom store!
The team at Reno would like to thank Drashna from Choices, Osborne Park for sharing her expert industry knowledge.