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Can Carpet Cleaning Cause or Worsen Allergies?

July 18, 2023

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can carpet cleaning cause allergies

Carpets are magnets for dirt, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. Vacuuming helps remove surface-level particles, but it doesn’t deep clean. 

Can carpet cleaning cause allergies? Some studies show the carpet cleaning process can temporarily release allergens into the air and make symptoms worse for allergy and asthma sufferers. 

However, professional carpet cleaning provides a thorough scrubbing to remove deeply embedded allergens. 

Let's take a closer look at carpet cleaning and its correlation to allergies.

How Does Carpet Cleaning Work?

There are several methods of deep cleaning carpets:

Steam Cleaning

This hot water extraction method sprays a detergent solution deep into the carpet fibers. A powerful vacuum extracts the dirty solution, dirt, and allergens back out. Steam cleaning provides the deepest clean.

Bonnet Cleaning

Absorbent bonnets or pads are soaked in a cleaning solution and then buffed over the carpet. Friction transfers dirt to the pad. This method only cleans the surface.

Dry Cleaning

A powder containing detergents and spongy materials is worked into the carpet and then vacuumed up after sitting. The powder absorbs dirt without moisture.


Carpets are scrubbed with a detergent solution, allowed to dry, then vacuumed. Shampooing cleans well but doesn’t extract embedded dirt. Can you be allergic to carpet cleaner? Depending on the ingredients in the shampoo, yes, you absolutely can be. It's always wise to make sure nothing in the formulation bothers you before spreading it all over your rugs.

cleaning a carpet stain

Can Carpet Cleaning Cause Allergies?

While carpet cleaning removes vast amounts of dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens, the process may also temporarily stir some of these particles back up into the air.

Steam cleaning and dry cleaning seem to produce the most airborne allergens during the cleaning process.

With steam cleaning, the hot water, detergent, and agitation can aerosolize allergens from the carpet fibers into the air. The powders used in dry cleaning can also get dispersed through the air during cleaning.

Shampooing and bonnet cleaning involve less vigorous scrubbing and don’t use water or powder cleaners, so they are less likely to kick up allergens during the process.

can carpet cleaning cause allergies

Tips to Minimize Airborne Allergens

Why do I feel sick after cleaning my carpet? If carpet cleaning tends to worsen your allergies, there are some things you can do to minimize the release of airborne particles:

  • Keep windows open and use fans during and after cleaning to ventilate the area. This will dilute any kicked-up allergens.
  • Ask cleaners to use low-moisture methods without excessive water.
  • Opt for shampoo or bonnet cleaning instead of steam/dry methods.
  • Vacuum thoroughly after cleaning to remove any remaining loose allergens.
  • Stay out of freshly cleaned carpets until fully dry to avoid exposure to damp allergens.
  • Have ducts cleaned at the same time to remove dust buildup.

Long-Term Allergy Relief

While carpet cleaning may temporarily stir up some allergens, keep in mind that it does provide long-term allergy relief by thoroughly removing dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, and other particles embedded deep in carpets.

Regular professional carpet cleaning can provide these benefits for allergy sufferers:

  • Reduce allergen exposure and severity of symptoms
  • Lower need for allergy medications
  • Improve overall indoor air quality

So even if carpet cleaning initially aggravates your allergies, the long-term reduction of allergens in your home is worth the trade-off.

Professional vs. DIY Carpet Cleaning for Allergies

Professional carpet cleaners have industrial-strength equipment that deep cleans better than rental units. Their powerful truck-mounted steam cleaners heat water to very high temperatures to sanitize carpets and extract more allergens.

If renting equipment to DIY, choose a high-powered steam cleaning unit designed to remove allergens. Use a pet-specific cleaning solution. Make multiple passes over high-traffic areas to thoroughly scrub. And vacuum well after cleaning.

No matter which method you choose, regular and thorough carpet cleaning is key for lowering allergen exposure and minimizing allergy symptoms over the long haul.

can carpet cleaning cause allergies

Other Carpet Cleaning Tips for Allergy Relief

Here are some other carpet cleaning tips to minimize allergens:

  • Clean carpets every 6-12 months to prevent heavy buildup of particles.
  • Address spills and stains quickly to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean under furniture and along baseboards where dust collects.
  • Consider low-pile carpets that are easier to deep clean.
  • Vacuum twice weekly with a model containing HEPA filters.
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned 1-2 times per year.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water to remove dust mites.
  • Consider hard flooring with washable rugs to reduce allergens.
  • Limit carpets to only high-traffic areas.

Additional Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home

Along with regular carpet cleaning, allergy sufferers can further reduce allergens with these steps:

  • Use HEPA air filters and air purifiers to filter mold, dust, and pollen.
  • Wash bedding on high heat weekly to kill dust mites.
  • Dust and wet mop hard floors frequently.
  • Use washable zippered covers for pillows and mattresses to block dust mites.
  • Limit textiles and opt for leather/vinyl furniture which doesn’t harbor allergens.
  • Keep humidity low to discourage dust mites and mold.
  • Create an “allergen-free” zone in the bedroom using hard floors, washable surfaces, and limited textiles.

If all else fails, visiting an allergist can provide immense relief for ongoing allergy symptoms. Allergists are specially trained to identify exactly which allergens may be causing your symptoms through comprehensive allergy testing. Once the culprit allergens are pinpointed, allergists can provide specific immunotherapy treatments like allergy shots or sublingual drops to desensitize your immune system over time. 

Allergy specialists can also help determine if symptoms are being caused by allergies in the first place or if sinus issues, asthma, or other conditions are to blame. Having an accurate diagnosis and customized treatment plan from an allergy specialist can get to the bottom of chronic allergy problems and provide long-term symptom relief.

Refreshing Afterthoughts

While professional carpet cleaning may temporarily stir up some allergens into the air, the long-term benefits of deep cleaning for allergy relief are significant. The thorough scrubbing and powerful extraction help remove vast amounts of allergen particles embedded deep in carpets that vacuuming cannot reach. Just be sure to take precautions during and after cleaning to minimize your exposure to any airborne allergens. Combining regular professional carpet cleaning with other methods to reduce allergens at home can provide long-term relief of allergy and asthma symptoms.

About Middletown Carpet Cleaners by AmeriBest

Middletown Carpet Cleaners by Ameribest offers affordable, top-notch services for residential and commercial customers. The company has over twenty years of industry experience that customers can count on. To learn more about services that may interest you, please call (860) 544-2927 to speak to a crew member.

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