Some allergens are more common outdoors, like pollen and mold spores, while others are more common indoors, like dust mites and animal dander. All allergen sources, however, can be present anywhere at any time. And because the cost of air-borne allergy-related illnesses can be staggering – up to $17.5 billion in health care costs and more than 6 million work and school days lost each year – it is in your best interest to prevent and minimize allergy triggers whenever possible.
While outdoor allergens can be hard to control, there are ways to minimize the impact of allergens that occur indoors. Frequent dusting, vacuuming and washing will minimize many indoor allergens, but these activities also can stir them up as well. One way to prevent allergens altogether is to eliminate many of the areas where they can gather. Flooring is one example.
Flooring is one area of the indoor environment where the amount of indoor allergens can be controlled. Certain types of flooring, such as carpet, are simply better gathering places for allergens. Small microorganisms, pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and other substances tend to accumulate in carpet fibers. Other flooring types, such as wood, tend to minimize the accumulation of allergens because there are no fibers to trap these substances. Taking steps to minimize these kinds of allergens can result in improved indoor air quality.
When it comes to flooring, the Environmental Protection Agency finds that hardwood floors improve indoor air quality. This is because hardwood floors do not harbor microorganisms or pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. In addition, hardwood floors also minimize the accumulation of dust, mold and animal dander. Both of these findings result in improved indoor air quality.
The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming it thoroughly and frequently. This is particularly true in high-traffic areas. Walking on soiled carpet allows the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to remove and can damage the carpet fibers. Frequent vacuuming removes these particles from the surface before problems occur.
For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. In areas with heavy traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
Extend the life of your carpet with a quality vacuum
An inexpensive machine may remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get the dirt you can’t see and prolong the beauty and life of your carpet. To ensure that your vacuum will conform to the highest industry standards, make sure that your vacuum cleaner is certified through the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval/Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program. Visit www.carpet-rug.org for details.
Select the best vacuum for your type of carpet
Shaw Floors recommends using vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for removal. Carpet with thick loop pile construction, particularly wool and wool-blend styles, may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy. In addition, shag (or cabled) styles with long pile yarns tend to wrap around the rotating brushes causing damage to the yarn. For these products, Shaw recommends a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. Be sure to test a vacuum with a beater/brush bar in an inconspicuous location before regular use, to make sure it doesn’t produce excessive fuzzing.
Why should a homeowner consider placing a small or large area rug in a particular room? Area rugs are an excellent option to accent a room and protect hardwoods from excessive wear. They also provide comfort in a gathering space.
What are the benefits of using a rug? Since many homes have hardwoods and tile, rugs protect from heavy wear and tear. They also help with sound reduction.
What different rug fabrics, colors, styles, shapes and sizes are available today that perhaps weren’t available years ago? Area rugs are more often made from carpet, which provides flexibility in size, shape, color and pattern. We are able to provide a custom rug within three to six weeks. Many pre-made rugs come in standard sizes that no longer fit larger spaces and to order a custom size can take several months.
In which rooms are area rugs most effective and why? All rooms that need softness, warmth or an extra element of design are good candidates for an area rug.
What are some things a homeowner should consider before choosing the perfect rug for their chosen living space? Clients should consider the use of the space. 1-Stain resistant fibers like nylon and polypropylene are best for spaces with heavy traffic, children and pets. Wool is a very durable and luxurious option. Sisal and Seagrass are natural choices that can be accented with fabric borders. 2-The size of the rug can be determined by the room or the seating space. Dining tables should always be 18 to 24 inches larger on each side to allow easy movement of chairs. 3-When choosing a rug you should have swatches or pictures of your current furnishings and fabrics. Rugs can be used to create a neutral canvas for a bold room or as an accent in a monochromatic design.
What is the expected lifespan of an area rug before you should consider replacing it? Area rugs require proper cleaning maintenance to achieve the longest life span, just like carpet. The fabric quality and location can also dictate the lifespan.
Any other tips or suggestions on this topic? When shopping for a rug bring fabric swatches, pictures of the space and a rough dimension of the room. This helps the designer or the sales person make informed suggestions.
MODA Floors & Interiors Project Consultant: Tasha Elrod Client: Paces Construction Location: Atlanta
Goal: Remodel home for re-sale What We Did:
• Master Bath Tile – Versailles 12×24 Natural Chateaux Ivoire Porcelain Tile that looks like marble, with Calacatta Gold Accent band and pencil in shower.
• Spa Bath – Travertine Mosaic Tile on walls and Versailles floor.
• Steps to Terrace Level – Fabrica Chinois Silver Sage Carpet with rubber pad. Design Challenges:
Paces Construction brought in designer Barbara Shelton and MODA project consultant Tasha Elrod to update this William T. Baker designed home’s master bath and terrace spa areas. The newly refreshed spaces perfectly complement the architecture while matching the existing home, creating a seamless upgrade. Tasha also handled MODA carpet upgrades in several rooms, and a curved stairway to the terrace level.
We love our pets! But when they shed, it can make it difficult to keep a neat house. Let Bodie show you how STAINMASTER® PetProtect™ carpet easily releases pet hair while vacuuming, cutting vacuuming time.