Your Health and Hardwood Flooring
May 7, 2012
By Dan Simon
Spring time is a beautiful time of the year. Flowers blooming, leaves turning green, the smell of fresh cut grass and nice warm weather. But for allergy and Asthma sufferers it can also be a miserable time of the year and the floors you have in your home can contribute to allergy season lasting in your house all year long.
While having carpet can offer comfort and warmth in your home it also traps in dirt and debris very easily as well as being a breeding ground for dust mites and bed bugs.
Yup, that’s right bed bugs don’t just live in your bed. According to eHow Home: “Although bed bugs are notorious for infesting bedding and mattress, these are not the only places that they live. It is not uncommon to find bed bugs in carpet as well. They will typically hide in places such as carpet during the day, and then make their way to the bed at night to feed on human blood. It is important to eliminate bed bugs from carpet in order to completely get rid of them in your home.”
If you have pets carpet also traps in pet hair and dander not to mention mold, mildew and spills can suck into carpet and the padding underneath like a sponge. Every time you let your pets inside the house they can bring in dust and dirt from underneath their paws. As they shed hair, pollen and other outdoor airborne elements that had stuck to their fur coat end up falling off and trapped in your carpet. Let’s not forget that with pets also come fleas which can also live in your carpet and lay eggs very rapidly reproducing. A female flea can produce 600 offspring in one month. A flea’s life cycle from egg to larva to pupa to adult can be as short as 12 days or as long as 174 days, depending on temperature and humidity.
What if you have brand new carpet installed in your home that hasn’t had any foot traffic on it yet? New carpet manufacturing uses synthetic materials and chemicals (that new carpet smell) which you are breathing in these fumes each time you are exposed. Long term exposure to this can be hazardous to your health causing sinus and breathing problems.
Cigarette smoke also not only discolors your walls and ceilings but gets trapped into your carpet fibers causing a terrible stench in your home as well carcinogenic fumes that release back into the air every time you run a vacuum cleaner, your children are playing on the floor or you’re simply walking from room to room.
Carpets need to be cared for much more frequently than harder flooring surfaces. The Carpet And Rug Institute recommends vacuuming your entire home at least twice a week. If you have a larger home with a lot of surface space or a home with carpeted staircases this can be a very time consuming and a daunting task making it difficult to keep up a twice weekly schedule upkeep. Plus every time you run the vacuum cleaner allergens and other harmful elements release back into the air you breathe.
In addition to vacuuming, your carpets need to cleaned on a regular basis. RugDoctor recommends “as a general rule of thumb, the carpeting in a household containing two non-smoking adults should be cleaned once every six to twelve months. If those two people are smokers, on the other hand, the carpet will need to be cleaned once every four months instead. Similarly, if you have children or pets in your home, you will need to clean the carpeting at least once every six months. And, if you have both pets and children, you will likely need to clean your carpet once every three months in order to keep it in good shape.”
Between vacuuming and cleaning properly caring for your carpet can not only be labor intensive each week but also expensive each time you have it cleaned.
Hardwood floors are convenient to maintain and clean, making it easier to avoid the dust build-up that often occurs with carpets. Cleaning up pet hair and spills is also more convenient with hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors require minimal maintenance in terms of effort, equipment and upkeep costs. For example think about the difference in price between a mop versus a vacuum and regular carpet cleaning services. Hardwood floors are also much more resistant to stains.
As mentioned above carpet is a constant source of dander, dust, lint, fur, mildew, mold, pollen, dust mites, bed bugs, fleas and other elements that can cause poor air quality and cleanliness. Hardwood doesn’t hide these harmful elements – making for a healthier, easier to clean, safer living environment, especially for allergy sufferers.
So before making that final decision to invest in a hardwood floor or carpet remember to consider you and your family’s health. Plus it’s way more fun to put on a pair of socks and slide across the floor. You can’t do that with carpet!