Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Allergy Topic: Carpet vs. Hardwood or Laminate

Have you ever vacuumed at that time of the day when the sun is going down and you
can see all the particulate in the air flying around? You would not normally see
this if it were say around noon. The perfect angle of the sun allows you to see 
the nightmare that is sitting in your carpet now floating in the air.

Almost one year ago our son was diagnosed with a multitude of environmental
allergies. The majority of which live in our yard. In addition to his food and drug 
allergies this brought his count of things, that he is allergic to, that we know about,
to 25.  I know that there is more. So naturally we started looking for ways to 
decrease the allergens in the home. Primarily his sleeping area. So I bought a 
special pillowcase and he has a mattress cover. We bought a rainbow
vacuum and carpet cleaner which is also a air purifier. I try to clean the carpets in his 
room 2 times a year. I have read recommendations that you should clean your carpets 
every 12-16 months!! WHAT??!!! Do these people have children or even live in their houses?

The building of our house started when I was 8 months pregnant with our son and we 
have had a daughter as well. We had the option to have the majority of the house 
tiled but we opted out because of course you worry about babies learning to walk on 
hard floors. If we only knew then what we know now. This has been the most difficult 
year we have had with our son as far as asthma goes. And so we are thinking about 
putting laminate in the majority of the house. The tile that we do have has been difficult
to keep up and so I don't really want more of it. 

So I have been on a research trek to find out what people are saying about carpet vs 
laminate. The nurse part of me has looked at actual research articles and the mom 
part has looked at blogs and forums. The two worlds have not been in agreement.
The research world says that carpet now days is made to hold more allergens. They
compared the USA which is a big carpet country to Europe which is not. They say they
found no difference in reports of difficulty of allergies. This was the same report that
said to only clean carpets every 12-18 months unless you had a stain, mud, etc. My
mom brought up an excellent point about this research and that is how often were
each types of flooring cleaned. This was not part of the study.

The mom, forum, blog world says that it can be a huge benefit to have the laminate or
hardwood because you can see the allergens sitting on your floor and you know that
you are getting them all up. Several post I read said that while the carpet does hold 
allergens more as soon as some one stomps or children run around, the allergens get
stirred up. I have definitely seen this to be true.The down side of the laminate is really 
you need to vacuum or wet mop pretty much every day. My friend who had laminate
said that yes it is a pain to clean everyday BUT she would absolutely have it over carpet
any day. Let's face it, carpet has it's moments of not being user friendly.

So what do you think? We are really leaning towards it. It is easy to install, 
it looks great, and I just think I would feel good about being able to see the clean. 

1 comment:

Karen said...

Tarah, we have lived with laminate since coming to Korea 8 years ago. I NEVER,EVER want to have carpet again, EVER. Paul's allergies have been much better, as well as David's. You may think that it requires cleaning every day; but when you do, it is clean. When you vacuum, even if you do it every day, there is still so much hidden stuff there..
Do you have a whole-house air purifier installed into your central air system? This can also be very helpful. Our allergist in MO recommended it and it was well worth the cost.

I didn't realize that New Mexico had so many environmental allergies. My Granny Morerod had asthma and that is why they all ended up moving to NM as supposedly the climate was better.

The other thing I would recommend, which you may already do, is remove shoes at the door (like the Asians do); and change clothes when you come in from outside, prefering leaving the "outdoor" clothes in laundry room/utility room vs. wearing them into the bedroom. The less allergens carried into the sleeping area (where you will spend 10-12 hrs) the better off you will be.

You can delete this post.

P.S. Did I mention that I NEVER want carpet, EVER again???