A Question About Allergies

I recently read the story of a person with serious allergies who removed all the carpet from her home to get relief. Can carpet cause people to get sick?

An excellent question. In recent years we have all heard about some of the unfortunate people who suffer from extreme allergies. This condition is called hypersensitivity. It can be a terrible ordeal for the person suffering, and for those who live and work with the sufferer. Hypersensitivity is important and deserves our attention.

First, carpet is found in virtually every hospital in this country. If it were a health threat, it would be banned in hospitals instead of being used in them. That does not rule out carpet as a possible problem. Carpets are constructed from several components. It's rare, but a person could become allergic to one of a carpet's components. For example; if a person develops an allergy to wool and they have wool carpet, the carpet will have to go.

Thinking about the wool allergy, we can see why hypersensitivity can be so disruptive. Wool is animal hair. The hypersensitive person would have to remove the wool carpet and their cat or dog. Also, any wool clothing, and any wool blankets would have to go. Family members would be subject to the same restrictions. Friends, family, and coworkers could not wear wool clothing near the hypersensitive person. Some cleaning brushes are made from animal hair. Many sofas and chairs have animal hair woven into some of the fibers used in their construction. Not only the carpet, but many other things would have to be removed from the home.

If the person were sensitive to nylon, it would be worse. Nylon is in almost all the clothing we wear. The waistband in our clothing usually contains nylon. Sox, underwear, hats, gloves, shoes, shoe laces, and countless other items all contain nylon. Most furniture and draperies have some nylon in them also. Imagine trying to rid your home or office of everything containing nylon.

The hypersensitive allergy sufferer would have to remove most of their furnishings and even change their life style. These cases are drastic and rare, that is why the stories grab our attention.

Carpet actually helps.

In the case of most allergy sufferers, carpet can actually help to keep the problem under control. When gravity is combined with carpet, a healthy benefit is born.

The dust and spores that cause allergies in most people tend to settle to the floor. People who study indoor environment call carpet a sink. They use that term because carpet tends to trap the dust and soils which settle on it. Carpet filters them from the air. If the carpet is vacuumed and cleaned on a regular basis, it becomes a valuable ally in the war against indoor dust and pollens. That is one of the reasons why it is used in so many health facilities.

So in answer to your question, if a person has a rare hypersensitivity to something in a carpet, that carpet (and everything else in the home or office with the same content) should be removed. But, more often than not, carpet is part of the solution to allergies. Clean carpet contributes to good health.


Fleas are a problem everyone deals with eventually. Even if you don't own a pet, fleas are easy to bring home. If you are visiting a home that has fleas, or come close to an animal that has them, you can bring them home or to your job on your clothing. Also, fleas can enter without any help at all.

They are truly remarkable creatures. It is estimated that if a flea were as big as a man, he could jump to the top of a thirty story building! No wonder they are so good at hitchhiking.

Nobody wants to use pesticides in their home. While there are times when the problem can come to that, preventative measures can go a long way toward keeping the problem under control or prevent it from ever getting started.

First, if you have a pet who goes in and out, or contacts other animals, he may be a shuttle for fleas. Under the advice of your veterinarian you should take steps to get control of the fleas that find their way onto your pet.

Next, for the fleas that do get into your home. The best defense against fleas is a program of detailed vacuuming and regular cleaning. Both the fleas and their eggs can be captured by a good vacuum cleaner. If you suspect trouble, thoroughly vacuum both the carpet and the upholstered furnishings.

Professional carpet cleaning is much more thorough and powerful than regular vacuuming. For that reason it captures more fleas and flea eggs.

Neither vacuuming nor cleaning can guarantee you will be completely rid of fleas and their eggs. Sometimes a treatment of insecticide is needed to successfully bring an end to the problem.

If flea treatments are used they should be used sparingly and with common sense. There was a case a short time ago where a sales clerk in a pet store told an older woman who lives alone with her cat to turn on the vacuum cleaner and spray flea treatment into the intake hose! Never try that. Putting treatment into a running vacuum cleaner will fill the air of the home with flea treatment.

On that same note, we recommend you stay away from the use of flea bombs or foggers. The fleas are on the floor. A few may sit temporarily on the sofa, but the majority are on the floor. Bombs and sprays treat your entire living space. There is no need for that.

If you have cleaned your carpets, most of the fleas and their eggs will be removed. You will only need a small amount of treatment to finish the job. Because fleas travel, you don't have to put treatment all over the carpet. A small amount under the sofa or in the corners will usually be sufficient. If the problem is extra difficult, you can always use a little more treatment. (Always pre-test treatment in an inconspicuous place before using it on your carpet. Some flea treatments can damage carpet color.)

Carpet and upholstery cleaning is good for your carpets, good for your health, and good for the control of fleas.

Of Vacuum Cleaners & Bowling Balls

A series of commercials touting a brand of vacuum cleaner has been aired on TV and radio. Perhaps the most attention getting is one where the owner of the company stands pitching his machine while a bowling ball is suspended over his head by one of his vacuums. For extra dramatic effect, the vacuum is switched off as he walks out from under it. The bowling ball plummets to the floor with a loud smash.

We can't help but be impressed. Is the vacuum cleaner that powerful? Is it a trick? Is the man crazy?

What we are looking at is a fine display of showmanship. Door-to-door salesmen were holding bowling balls with vacuum cleaners twenty years ago. The secret is in the funnel. The ball is not directly picked up with the vacuum cleaner's hose. A large funnel is placed in the end of the hose and the funnel is used to pick up the ball. Almost any vacuum cleaner can pick up a bowling ball that way.

We might feel agitated that anyone would use a half truth to sell a vacuum cleaner. But, in reality, we have two reasons to be grateful for this ad. First, it raises our consciousness of the need to vacuum our carpets. Second, the ad stresses our need to be educated consumers.

There is no better way to protect your carpet investment than to vacuum it regularly. Regardless of whether you are caring for the carpet in a single family home or a hundred thousand square foot commercial building, regular vacuuming is essential.

Regarding our needed skepticism, the latest advancements in vacuum cleaner technology has not been in the motors or the amount of vacuum they create. The advancements have been in the bags. As air and soil are drawn into the machine, the bag serves as a filter to trap the soils. The filtered air is then free to exit the machine. The effectiveness of that filtration is important, not bowling balls.

The newer, better bags employ high efficiency filtration. They are usually paper on the outside and lined with a special polymer coating on the inside. These are what you need if you are concerned with getting the best level of vacuuming efficiency. These filter bags are especially recommended if anyone who lives or works in the area is subject to allergies. (Cloth bags create more problems than they solve and should not be used.)

Often, high efficiency bags can be purchased for a machine you have already had for a few years. If the beater brush, belt, and motor of your vacuum are in good shape, you may only need to change the type of filter bag you use to move up to the latest technology.

Regular vacuuming doesn't eliminate the need for our professional cleaning but it makes your indoor environment a healthier place to be in, and helps your carpets and furnishings to last longer while looking better.

Call us at 1-800-23-LEWIS today for information about the vacuum cleaners we offer. Prices start as low as $195.00.

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