Spring is a beautiful time of year — unless you have allergies.
Over 50 million Americans deal with allergies on a yearly basis. And Colorado’s Front Range is one of the worst places in the US for people with seasonal allergies.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing, snoring, itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, headaches, tiredness, or a sore throat. What fun!
Allergy symptoms can cause more than cause discomfort. They can come with more serious health effects, too.
For people with asthma, allergens such as pollen or dust mites can trigger an attack, making it difficult to breathe.
The potential long-term effects of exposure to allergens and generally poor air quality can be serious for you and your family. Studies have found that regular exposure to indoor air with poor quality can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory problems.
Allergens and Your Carpet
There are a number of ways allergens can set up shop in your home. They can cling onto your clothes, hide in the dust under piles of junk, or mingle with mold in your bathroom or kitchen.
But one of their favorite places to reside is in your carpet.
Your carpets can contain 100 times as many allergens as hardwood floors.
If you’re serious about minimizing the negative effects of allergens on you and your family’s health, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with.
Here are some specific types of allergens you can suffer from in Boulder County, and how to keep them out of your carpet and home.
Allergy Offenders in Boulder County
Dust mites are microscopic insects that can thrive in your carpet as they feed mostly on small pieces of dead skin from you and your family. These flakes of skin make their way deep into your carpets, furniture, and bed sheets.
An average adult person sheds enough skin in a single day to provide dinner for one million dust mites!
The best way to fight this tiny invisible enemy is to take away their food by keeping your carpets and linens as clean as possible.
Tips to prevent and get rid of dust mites:
- Wash your bedding weekly in hot water (dust mites can’t survive the high temperature)
- Steam clean your carpets, curtains, cushions, and other furniture at least 2-3 times a year. This will kill bacteria and dust mites.
- Clean and dust regularly. Keeping counters, shelves, and floors clean will minimize the amount of dust and skin particles that can work their way into your carpet.
- Control humidity and temperature in your home. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments. Keeping the temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity below 70% will help keep the mites away.
Just like humans, your pets shed skin (and fur and feathers, too). When it comes to dead skin, fur or hair, dust mites don’t discriminate — they love to crunch on it all.
Tips to prevent pet dander:
- Keep your pets outdoors as much as possible
- Keep pets off your couch and bed
- Give your pet regular baths
- Keep your pets’ cages clean
Close air vent registers to minimize amount of dander that circulates throughout home. Or just close the registers in the bedrooms of your family members with the most severe allergy symptoms
How to get pet dander out of your carpet:
- Vacuum 1-2 times per week
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter (which traps tiny particles)
- Vacuum over the same area several times until the vacuum doesn’t pull up any more hair
- Vacuum in multiple directions
- Move all furniture and vacuum underneath
- Clean your carpet with a carpet shampoo or soap and water to pull up pet dander that’s deep in your carpet fibers
- Rent a steam cleaner from your local hardware store, or hire a professional carpet cleaning service
- Deep clean your carpets every spring, and ideally another time before winter hits. A deep clean will both help prevent allergens and prolong the life of your carpet
In Boulder County, pollens pose a problem for people with allergies almost year-round, but especially in spring (starting in March) and summer.
Common offenders in Boulder County range from trees like Box Elder and Crack Willow to a whole variety of weeds like Ragweed and Wormwood. Grasses including Bermuda Grass and Curly Blue Grass are strong allergens, too.
Pollen from these plants are bad enough in the air outside, but they can cause particularly severe reactions if they get into your home and carpet.
How to keep pollen out of your home:
- Keep your windows closed. If you don’t want to keep them closed all the time, close them from noon to early evening, as pollen counts are highest at this time
- Close windows when your lawn is being mowed
- Take a shower and change your clothes after spending time outside, especially after mowing or doing other yard work. This will prevent pollens in your clothes from spreading into your furniture and carpet
- Vacuum regularly to remove pollens from carpet and furniture
- Clean carpets with carpet shampoo, a steam cleaner, or hire a professional carpet cleaner
Any place that has moisture in your home is a place where mold will grow, and your carpets are a prime suspect when it comes to places for moisture to hide out.
Mold can cause upper respiratory problems and coughing, and trigger attacks in people with asthma.
How to keep mold out of your carpet:
- Keep your home’s temperature and humidity low. A portable dehumidifier will help if your home is usually humid
- Keep wet shoes off the carpet by placing floor mats at each entrance. Maintain a healthy lawn, which is less likely to get muddy or puddles after rainfall
- For parties, large gatherings, or just heavily trafficked areas, lay down plastic carpet coverings
Tips to get mold out of your carpet:
- Use a wet/dry vacuum to get as much water out of the carpet as possible in case of a heavy spill or flooding
- Use fans (rent high-powered ones from the hardware store) to dry the carpets more quickly
- Steam cleaning will sanitize the carpet of any living mold.
- Use a dehumidifier to fully dry the room
Generally speaking, keeping your carpets clean is key. Regular vacuuming (1-2 times per week) along with a more intensive steam cleaning or professional carpet cleaning twice a year goes a long way to fending off the worst of allergens.
Keeping your home clutter-free (junk is a nice hiding place for dust and pollen), regular dusting, and maintaining a tidy and mold-free bathroom are also very important.
Essentially, just by cleaning your home regularly, you can minimize the effect of allergens on you and your family.
At the end of day, a thorough cleaning by a professional carpet cleaning service will help remove mold, dander, pollen and other allergens out of your carpet.
If you find yourself still sneezing and wheezing despite your best efforts to fight allergens, the carpet cleaning pros at GSC can help you out. Or if you decide to remove your carpets and eliminate allergens altogether, let GSC pick up and dispose of your carpets for you.
Cleaning every part of your home can help prevent allergens from ending up in your carpet. GSC also has a team of professional home cleaners that can help keep your house clean and allergen free >