Carpet improves indoor air quality

Healthier indoor air quality

Carpet ensures better and healthier quality of air in your house. The piles of the carpet form a three-dimensional structure, trapping particulate matter (fine dust) and allergens. So particulate matter and allergens cannot continue to circulate in the room with every air movement, as is the case with hard flooring. Once it has settled, dust will not drift back up again, even when the carpet is walked across. This is because the particles are trapped by the carpet. Of course you need to clean your carpet regularly with a good vacuum cleaner (fitted with a roller brush and micro filter (HEPA filter)) at least twice a week.

In 2006 the GUI (Gesellschaft für Umwelt- und Innenraumanalytik) carried out a study commissioned by the Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V. (DAAB). The air in over 100 randomly selected homes was analysed. During this analysis the concentration of particulate matter in carpeted interiors was compared with that in living spaces with a hard floor. The results of the study were clear-cut: the average concentration of fine dust in interiors with a hard floor was twice as high as in carpeted interiors. The limit applied in Germany for external air (50 µg) was exceeded by 20% in interiors with hard floors.

For people with a sensitive respiratory system it is obvious: choose flooring that “traps” dust and does not allow it to return to the air. The message is that prevention is better than cure.

The three-dimensional dust trap explained

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3 dimensional dust trap

the piles of the carpet form a three-dimensional trap for fine dust and allergens.


dust partikels

In carpeted rooms the concentration of dust particles is significantly lower than in interiors with hard flooring.  



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Allergens are substances that can cause hypersensitive immune system reactions (allergic reactions) in individuals who are sensitive to them.

What exactly is particulate matter?

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What exactly is particulate matter?

Particulate matter is a form of air pollution. Airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometres are considered particulate matter. Research has revealed that particulate matter is damaging to health when inhaled. The main sources of particulate matter are traffic (40%), industry (23%) and agriculture (20%). Particulate matter exists as a result of combustion processes, for example in cars (mainly diesel engines), power stations and industrial and private combustion plants. But it can also be a consequence of storage and transporting of coal, ore and cereals as well as wear and tear on tyres and roads.


particulate matterHouseholds also make a substantial contribution, through the use of multi-fuel boilers, open fireplaces and the barbecue, smoking cigarettes and driving a car, for example. The soot particles emitted by combustion in an open fireplace, contain relatively high levels of harmful substances, due to incomplete combustion. This form of emission also takes place in the immediate environment and at ground level. Finally, particulate matter can have natural origins, such as wind-blown soil and sea salt.




(Image courtesy of the U.S. EPA)

Scientific evidence

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Fine dust quantity indoors

fine dust quantity in house
(Source: Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V. (DAAB) and Gesellschaft für Umwelt- und Innenraumanalytik (GUI Mönchengladbach) - Dr. Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Winkens.)

The average concentration of fine particles indoors was twice as high in interiors that had hard surfaces as in interiors with carpet, exceeding the limit values of 50g/m3 set in Germany for outside air. For sensitive people who have a fragile respiratory system, choosing a floor that traps dust and doesn’t send it into the air becomes a truly preventive action.

Carpet releases fewer particles into the breathing area

This test shows the amount of dust released in the air when walking on carpet during 16 minutes, compared to a hard surface with the same dust load. Not only is there much more dust released into the air when walking on a hard floor, the amount of dust also keeps rising after one stops walking.

Cleaning and foot Traffic Emissions Analysis


(Source: Cleaning and foot Traffic Emissions Analysis, Prof.Testing Laboratory, Dalton GA, Asbury G., 2002)

Hepa Filter

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hepaHEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air” and denotes a special kind of air filter that traps up to 99.999995% of all dust particles larger than 0.3 micrometres (µm), depending on the specific filter type. The HEPA filter was developed in the 1940s, as part of the “Manhattan Project” (development of the atom bomb), to prevent the spread of radioactive pollution.

The filter was commercialised in the 1950s. The name was protected as a trademark and at the same time a generic name for high efficiency filters.