Breathing Easy in Surbiton: The Hidden Benefits of Regular Carpet Cleaning

How Carpets Improve Indoor Air Quality: Common Myths, Truths and Evidence

It’s often commented by people that carpets are a really unhygienic option in your home, office or school.  They’re full of nasty allergens that make us sick! The reality is basically the opposite according to research.  Carpets are fantastic at trapping allergens, dust and dirt, preventing them from becoming airborne and polluting the air we breathe in our homes, schools and workplaces.  Regular carpet cleaning enables carpets to continue functioning in this way. Research suggests that carpets in schools, and we suggest homes and offices, reduce exposure to dust-mite allergens.  These allergens are a common cause of asthma attacks in children and adults alike. This totally contradicts the myth that carpets compromise indoor air quality. This is important news for Surbiton residents!


Alan Hedge‘s research at Cornell University demonstrates that carpets can effectively capture and hold allergens, particularly when using high-efficiency micro-filtration vacuum bags, contradicting concerns that carpets compromise indoor air quality (IAQ). Hedge has in the past made a significant contribution to our understanding of issues such as Sick Building Syndrome

Are Carpets a Healthier Option for Surbiton Schools?

Contrary to popular belief, properly maintained carpets can be a healthy, safe, and cost-effective flooring choice for schools and homes. Interestingly it is now known that Synthetic carpets, particularly with electrical charges,  are preferable to wool in terms of attracting and holding potential contaminants. It could be argued that they act like a giant filter, enhancing the air we breathe. Furthermore, carpets bearing the green IAQ label emit fewer chemical contaminants into the environment than traditional alternatives  such as vinyl-based floor products. Hedge suggests that with regular maintenance and  cleaning, and importantly the use of appropriate vacuum bags, carpets can have a positive impact on indoor air quality

Addressing Common Misconceptions about Carpets in Schools

In the past we have heard of calls for banning carpets in schools due to  concerns about asthma and respiratory issues.  Perhaps these calls may be fundamentally misguided. Hedge’s research suggests that exposure to dust mite allergens is more likely to occur from items found in the home and not in the school environment.  He points to pillows, bedding, and clothing being the culprit rather than carpets.  Children are in close proximity to these items, particularly their face with items such as pillows.  Interestingly, and significantly, in terms of this debate Sweden banned carpets in schools in the late 1980s.    Research showed they did not experience the expected decrease in childhood asthma rates, but instead an increase due to other allergens. In short Hedge’s research challenges the misconception that carpets are a significant contributing factor in respiratory problems in children, highlighting the importance of considering various factors that have an impact on indoor air quality.

A Balanced Flooring Approach is Required

Having argued the point that carpets, regularly cleaned ones at that, should be view as a positive factor in maintaining the air quality in schools, it should be noted that carpets are not suitable for all areas.  Carpets are recommended for areas where sitting and teaching take place.  Smooth flooring is appropriate for toilets, bathrooms and storage areas.  

In conclusion, the scientific evidence presented by Alan Hedge emphasises the benefits of clean carpets in maintaining and improving indoor air quality. This challenges the common misconceptions, which are still prevalent today, about the negative impact carpets can have.  

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