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Does Carpet Cause Allergies?

A popular myth, but is it true?

Ever since I became a carpet cleaner in 1994, one popular myth continues to stick around; installed carpeting increased asthma and allergies in humans and pets. We’ve looked high and low for scientific evidence to prove these “facts”, but have come up short. What I’ve found is completely on the contrary over the years. And we clean many surfaces, so we’re not here to sell you carpet and tell you that’s the end all be all solution. We clean tile and grout, stone, upholstery, rugs. Not just carpet. So we aren’t biased in our opinions and findings.
That said, there are at least 3 scientific studies that prove to the contrary that carpet causes allergies and asthma:


    1. The first study is a Swedish study. Back in the 1970’s, a group of people came together and determined that indoor air quality in Sweden is affected negatively by installed carpet. So there was a big push for the next decade or two for Swedes to remove their carpeting from their home. For twenty years, carpet shares started off at 40% in Sweden. By 1992, there was only a 2% market share of carpet left. So everybody yanked out their carpet and put in hard floors like wood and tile. What happened was the more carpet that was pulled out and replaced by hard surfaces, the more instances of allergies and asthma were reported. The actual study is written in Swedish and hard to find, but referenced in many areas such as the United Allergy Services and the Canadian Carpet Institute.

    3. The second study is from the New Jersey study from 2003. They did a study of asthma and allergy sufferers of children with carpeted bedrooms. What they found is that those kids who had carpeting in the bedrooms had less incidences of allergies and asthma attacks than those with hard surfaces. Now that doesn’t mean rip out your hard floors and put in carpet. What it does indicate is that parents probably didn’t wipe surfaces or clean their hard floors often enough.

    5. Which leads us to study number three, the 2005 German study from the German Allergy and Asthma Society. What they found is that having hard surfaces actually greatly increased allergy and asthma suffering. What they found is that carpet acted as a filter, and those who had hard surfaces had more dust spread throughout the room. When dust settles on a carpeted structure, it gets down deep into the fibers and doesn’t come up into the air when you walk on to it. What that means is that you have less dust overall on other surfaces.ย You may notice that when you have hard surfaces, you’ll see the film of dust on the floors a lot more often.


This begs the question, how did this myth start in the first place? Well, I think there might be some truth to it. And it comes down to maintenance. Too often we see people wait decades to get their carpets cleaned. This is the worst thing you can do. Carpet is designed to hide soil. We believe the problem lies within that carpet doesn’t “look” dirty when it gets dirty. With hard floors, you can see the dirt and dander sit on top, which usually will make you more attentive to cleaning it. Carpets, not so much. Out of sight, out of mind.
Before you rip out your carpet, do some research about the flooring you’ll be getting. As long as proper maintenance is done to whatever surface you have, then you’re in good hands.



Scott Rendall
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8 thoughts on “Does Carpet Cause Allergies?

  1. I’ve always stayed away from carpet because of this myth. However, I’ll have to talk to my husband about installing carpet since you mentioned that it’s not a problem if you don’t wait decades to have it cleaned. It’ll be nice to have carpet during the winter.

  2. So are you saying that it’s not true that carpet with accumulated dust causes asthma and allergies in humans and pets? My wife has an allergic rhinitis and I have noticed that when we are in the early stage of our marriage, she didn’t have this but recently for about 4 years now.

    • It is true that carpet with accumulated dust can potentially cause asthma, along with a lot of other issues. However, it is also true that any other surface like wood floors and tile floors can do the same exact thing.
      We believe that the myth of carpet causing allergies comes from not maintaining it properly. Carpet (and area rugs!) is designed to hide soil, so it’s a lot harder to tell if the floor is clean or not based on your eyes. Versus if someone has a wood floor, which is visually easier to see the dust and hair. Carpet and rugs are also designed to act as a filter. Like any filter, those need to be cleaned and maintained regularly too. Without a “filter”, dust will find its way in other areas. Which is why we always stress to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ve been avoiding getting carpet installed because I’m not sure how it’d affect my allergies. It makes me happy to hear that’s a myth and it mainly depends on maintenance. When I get carpet installed, I’m going to make sure to have it professionally cleaned to make sure I don’t have any issues.

  4. I really like what you said about avoiding to way years to get your carpets cleaned to avoid getting an allergen buildup in your space. We have a baby coming along early this year. I don’t want him to be exposed to contaminated air, so I will be sure to hire professional carpet cleaning services to work on our carpets at this early.

  5. This is a great article, thanks for busting these myths. People don’t seem to realise that they aren’t backed up by science. Great choice of topic and well-structured article i must say. Kudos!

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