Living with allergies can be a constant battle against irritants that trigger sneezing, congestion, and discomfort. Among the many pieces of advice offered to allergy sufferers, one persistent myth suggests that getting rid of carpets is the ultimate solution to alleviate symptoms. While it’s true that carpets can harbour allergens, the decision to part ways with them is not as straightforward as the myth implies. In this blog, we’ll debunk the notion that you should always eliminate carpets if you have allergies and explore the nuanced relationship between carpets and allergy management.

Understanding Allergens in Carpets:

To address this myth effectively, we must first recognise the types of allergens that commonly affect individuals:

  1. Dust Mites: These microscopic creatures thrive in warm, humid environments and feed on skin flakes shed by humans and pets.
  2. Pet Allergens: Allergenic proteins found in the skin flakes, urine, and saliva of pets like cats and dogs can trigger allergies in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mould Spores: Mould can grow in damp environments like bathrooms, releasing spores into the air that can cause allergic reactions.
  4. Pollen: Outdoor pollen can enter your home through open windows and doors, sticking to surfaces and triggering allergies.

The Myth of Carpet-Free Homes:

The myth that eliminating carpets from your home is the key to allergy relief assumes that carpets are the primary source of indoor allergens. While it’s true that carpets can trap and hold allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander, they are not the sole culprits. Allergens can also accumulate on hard flooring surfaces, upholstery, curtains, and even in the air itself.

Carpet vs. Hard Flooring:

To better understand the relationship between carpets and allergies, let’s compare the pros and cons of both:

Carpeted Floors:


  • Carpets can trap some allergens, preventing them from becoming airborne.
  • They provide a soft surface, which is especially beneficial for young children and those who are at risk of falling.


  • Carpets can trap allergens, but they can also be challenging to clean thoroughly.
  • Dust mites can thrive in carpets, especially if humidity levels are high.
  • Older carpets may contain accumulated allergens that are difficult to remove.
Hard Flooring (e.g., hardwood, tile, laminate):


  • Easier to clean and maintain, reducing the presence of allergens.
  • Less hospitable to dust mites.
  • Fewer hiding places for pet dander and other allergens.


  • Hard flooring can be colder and less comfortable underfoot.
  • It may not provide the same cushioning and safety as carpet, particularly for young children.

The Role of Cleaning and Maintenance:

Regardless of the type of flooring in your home, proper cleaning and maintenance play a critical role in managing indoor allergens. Here are some key tips:

  1. Regular Vacuuming: Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter to effectively remove allergens from carpets or hard flooring. Vacuum at least once a week.
  2. Washing Bedding: Wash bedding, including pillowcases and sheets, in hot water to kill dust mites and remove allergens.
  3. Reducing Humidity: Maintain indoor humidity levels below 50% to discourage dust mite growth.
  4. Pet Care: Groom and bathe pets regularly, and designate pet-free zones in your home.
  5. Air Purification: Consider using HEPA air purifiers to filter allergens from the air.

The Complex Relationship Between Carpets and Allergies:

In reality, the impact of carpets on allergies varies from person to person and depends on various factors:

  1. Allergy Type: Some individuals are more sensitive to specific allergens, while others may react differently. For instance, someone allergic to dust mites may experience symptoms regardless of flooring type.
  2. Home Environment: The humidity levels in your home, its cleanliness, and the presence of pets all influence the allergen load.
  3. Maintenance Practices: How well you maintain and clean your carpets or hard flooring affects their ability to harbour allergens.
  4. Allergen Sources: Allergens come from various sources, including bedding, furniture, curtains, and the outdoor environment, making flooring just one piece of the puzzle.

The decision to eliminate carpets from your home as a solution to allergies is not a one-size-fits-all approach. While carpets can indeed trap allergens, they are not the sole source of indoor allergens. Managing allergies requires a holistic approach that includes proper cleaning, maintaining humidity levels, and addressing specific allergen sources, such as pets or mould.

Ultimately, the choice of flooring should be based on your lifestyle, preferences, and individual allergies. If you are considering removing carpets, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consider alternatives, such as regular cleaning and maintenance, or using area rugs that can be easily cleaned or replaced.

Consulting with an allergist or healthcare professional to identify your specific allergens and triggers is crucial in developing an effective allergy management plan. In the end, managing allergies is about finding a balance that suits your unique circumstances and provides relief without making hasty decisions based on myths or generalisations.

You can check out our blog on other cleaning myths here.