If I have carpeting in my home, what should I do to make it healthier for my family?
If you steam clean carpet, be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid lingering moisture that can attract pests or lead to mold. If possible, replace carpeting when it is worn or heavily soiled, and be sure to clean second-hand rugs before using them.
If I decide to remove carpeting, what flooring option should I replace it with?
Consider replacing carpeting with a smooth, nonabsorbent, nonskid surface. Hard flooring options to consider include wood, ceramic, linoleum, rubber, marmoleum (a natural floor covering manufactured with linseed oil, wood, flour, resin, jute, and finely crushed limestone and mineral pigments), and wood laminate. There is emerging evidence that some hard flooring (such as vinyl flooring) containing phthalates (a type of plasticizer) may contribute to asthma. These types of floors should be avoided, or at a minimum they should be cleaned regularly with a damp mop to reduce dust. You should also use care when removing carpet to ensure that contaminated dust or allergens in the carpeting are not made accessible to occupants.
If I want to install carpet in my home, are there certain types of carpeting that are better for my family?
If you install carpeting, allow the carpeting to air out thoroughly before using the area. Consider buying a carpet that has a Green Label or Green Label Plus from the Carpet Research Institute to reduce exposure to harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be used in carpeting or adhesive. Also consider installing low-pile carpet, which is easier to clean than high-pile carpet.
Carpeting Fact Sheet
This information was excerpted from a new NCHH fact sheet summarizing the research regarding carpets and healthy homes. To view the complete fact sheet: Carpets: Problem or Protection