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Why Is My Carpet Making Me Itch?

Tuesday, May 1 2018 9:48 AM

Feet touching soft carpetWhether your carpet is older or newly installed, you want everything your home to be comfortable, leaving no cause for concern. However, when your carpet is causing you to itch, it’s important to recognize that there are many potential causes of itching and irritation other than pests.

Allergies, environmental contaminants, and even low quality carpet all can produce skin reactions. While this makes the experience no less real or unpleasant for the person affected, it highlights the importance of keeping an open mind to the possibility of other options. Process of elimination should be used to the best of one’s ability to rule out all potential sources of irritation.

Carpet Allergy

You may be allergic to the fiber components or dyes in your carpet. Carpet fibers also trap allergens such as dust, dirt, mold, bacteria and pollen, keeping some allergens out of the air but holding the allergens right under your feet. While lounging on or near the carpet, you’re exposed to the allergens trapped in the carpet fibers, making your skin dry and itchy. You can reduce the allergens in your carpet with regular cleanings. Vacuum the loose allergens daily with a HEPA vacuum and use a carpet cleaner to sterilize and deodorize your carpet at least twice a month.

Pests In Your Carpet

Your carpet could potentially be infested with bugs such as lice, bed bugs or fleas. Carpet makes fleas, mites and other parasites more difficult to see, and it creates a dark environment they thrive in.

Just being present in your home can cause bites, rashes and irritation. If you suspect any sort of pests in the carpet, treat your home immediately.

Dirty Carpet

Your carpets could just be in dire need of a professional cleaning. If you have pets, you could be allergic to the dander stuck in the pile of the carpeting.

In some cases, vacuuming will not suffice when it comes to eliminating dirt and allergens within the carpet’s fibers. This is where professional carpet cleaning comes in. How often your carpet should be professionally cleaned depends on the age of the carpet, the room’s location and the amount of foot traffic it receives. Some carpets need to be cleaned every six months, while others only require it once every couple of years.

Low Quality Carpet

The pile of the carpet may just be rough and causing skin irritation, much like pebbles can do to your feet if you get them stuck in your shoes while walking.

Carpet quality is a factor of the fiber used, the texture and the density of the fiber. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Carpet Fiber Choices

  • Nylon - Accounts for over half of all carpet sold in the U.S. Nylon is wear-resistant and durable.

  • Olefin - Also called polypropylene, this thread is strong, stain-resistant, wear-resistant and easy to clean. However, it not soft on the skin.

  • Polyester - This carpet is gaining popularity because of how affordable it is. It’s noted for its soft, luxurious feel when used in thick cut-pile textures but it’s not well suited for high traffic areas.

  • Acrylic - Has the look and feel of wool but without the cost.

  • Wool - The only natural fabric commonly used for carpet. Wool has a luxurious feel and is very durable, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

  • Blends - Various combinations of fibers can improve the overall look and feel of a carpet. Wool/nylon and olefin/nylon are two common blends used today.

Fiber Texture

  • Plush - A cut pile with a smooth, even, velvety finish.

  • Saxony - A cut pile with a smooth, even finish. This is the most popular style of carpet.  

  • Friezé - This cut pile has extra twists applied to the fibers resulting in a rough, curly, informal texture.

  • Textured - Lower density fibers with an uneven cut give this carpet a more casual feel. Not well-suited for high traffic areas.

  • Berber - Tightly packed short looped fibers, also called level-loop, provide a very durable surface suitable for high traffic areas.

  • Cut and Loop - This combines cut pile with uncut loops to create interesting textures and patterns.

  • Multi-Level Loop - Two or three loop heights are used to give this style of carpet more texture or even pattern effects.

Fiber Density

Fiber density refers to the amount of yarn used in a carpet and the closeness of the tufts. The measure of density is at the bottom near the backing, not at the surface. At the surface the density may appear sufficient, but when you spread the tufts and look underneath, the base of each tuft may be far apart. Over time, low density carpet will show more matting and is not suited for high traffic areas.

Don't skimp on carpet for high traffic areas like hallways, stairs and family rooms. Make sure to ask a carpet professional about affordable, high quality carpeting options. With over one thousand rolls in stock, Jabara's carries every style of carpet.

Previous: Spring Cleaning Tips for Carpet and Flooring / Next: How to Get Scratches Out Of Hardwood Floors

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