Getting new carpet can definitely spruce up your home. But before you lay down this type of flooring, consider these tips.
Floors take a beating from foot traffic and pollutants, and carpet specifically absorbs and traps even more than hard flooring, such as tile or laminate. When it’s time to replace, know what to look for and how to care for carpet to keep your air as clean as your new floors.
The thick textiles in carpet are magnets for allergens and pollutants (think dust mites, dander, dirt, dust and mold). All these pollutants can become airborne by simply walking.
The American Lung Association advises that while vacuuming is another way of making these particles airborne, it’s best to vacuum carpet frequently, even three times a week with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. Also, carpets should be professionally deep cleaned with dry steam once a year—and thoroughly dried to prevent mildew.*
If stains are visible, there’s wear and tear, or odors can’t be vacuumed out, it’s time to replace the carpet. While shopping, look for a carpet that releases fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which go into some carpet chemicals and glues, and can release odors and pollutants.
During renovations, even ripping up and replacing carpet can send trapped particles into the air. If possible, stay out of the house for this stage. Ask for the installers to roll your low VOC carpet out in a clean, well-ventilated area for 72 hours prior to install. Request that all glues and adhesives are non-toxic and low VOC.
Again, if possible, have carpet installed when you can be out of the house. This will allow for the carpet to ventilate and any potentially toxic gasses to release before you live with it so you can then enjoy clean floors and cleaner air.