Picking the Right Flooring Based on Health

The environment plays an enormous role in our health and general well-being, but it’s not exclusive  to what’s outside our front door. In fact, the layout of your own home can pose health risks or, at the least, cause a sense of discomfort. For example, pets, paint, and plants can trigger symptoms; think of all the problems caused by lead and allergies.

When it comes to home features, flooring is an extremely important consideration. It takes up a lot of space, you walk on it, and you place most things on it. Sure, aesthetic properties will most likely be the biggest factor in your decision, but be sure to take your health into consideration, too; that long shag carpet may look great, but you’re not going to enjoy it if it makes you a sneezing, coughing mess.


Some people are allergic to foliage while others sneeze and sniffle due to pet hair, dust mites, and other allergens nesting in carpets. And, longer carpet typically means more room for these particles to settle. According to this article on TLC, carpets can contain 100 times more allergens than hardwood floors. While carpets can keep allergens out of the air, any disruptions to the carpet can release them.

Carpet, especially shag carpet,  is not recommended in homes with small children or people with severe allergies/compromised immune systems. Instead, ripping out the carpeting, recycling it, and replacing it with hardwood flooring or laminate flooring might be a better option. Keep in mind some people also are allergic to certain woods and wood dust.

If your budget won’t allow a complete flooring renovation, be sure to keep the carpet vacuumed and cleaned regularly. Humidity can make problems worse, so a dehumidifier might be a good idea if you live in a humid area. Lastly, allowing children to play in a non-carpeted area or playpen instead of directly on the carpet can help keep them further away from the irritants.

Mobility Issues

If slipping and falling is a concern or risk, such as with the elderly, small children, or anyone dealing with limited mobility, any type of slippery surface, such as a hardwood or tile floor, probably is not the best choice. Instead, carpet might be ideal. But wait, what about people with mobility issues and allergies? Well, hypoallergenic carpeting is available; here is one example  from The Home Depot.

If a hardwood or other type of risk-posing floor already is in place and carpeting isn’t an option, there are options such as anti-slip floor finishes, anti-slip mats, and rugs. Furthermore, the resident(s) can always wear slippers or socks with proper gripping on the bottom.

On the other hand, it can be a lot more work to clean up messes made on carpeting, especially if you’re not able bodied enough to bend over and scrub a stain out. In this case, a carpet cleaner built like a vacuum cleaner is an option, but perhaps a laminate floor and some rugs and a Swiffer Wet Jet would be easiest.

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