Following recent CNN reports highlighting the negative impacts of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) on student learning, studies indicate that properly maintained carpeting will improve IAQ and reduce the number of airborne particles and allergens. These studies are showcased in an executive overview supported by peer-reviewed research presented and published by Racine Industries at the International Conferences on Indoor Air and Climate (ISIAQ).

"Consumers have long recognized the comfort and noise-reducing qualities of carpet, but rarely is carpet recognized for its health benefits," said Fritz Rench, CEO, Racine Industries. "Our executive overview details years of research showing that carpet, when effectively maintained, can actually improve the IAQ in a facility. This can have tremendous benefits to building occupants — from improving learning conditions in schools to making it easier for patients to breathe in hospitals."

The executive overview highlights several published and newly released field studies examining the use of carpet versus hard flooring material and the impact of an ongoing maintenance program on the reduction of allergens and dust mites. The research convincingly shows that while normal vacuuming removes some of the mite allergens from the carpet, carpet that receives ongoing deep cleaning using a dry extraction system thoroughly removes dust mites and allergens from deep in the carpet.

"All indoor spaces contain contaminates like dust and dirt," said Rench. "Research confirms that hard floors make it much easier for these particulates to redistribute into the indoor air where carpet acts like a filter, securing the particulates. Much like you would change the air filter in your car or furnace, you simply need to clean your carpet to remove the particulates."

One study included in the executive overview and published at ISIAQ highlights research gathered throughout nine years in 166 homes and 16 schools. The research found that carpet cleaning removed approximately 75 — 99 percent of the dust mite, cat and mold allergens from the carpet. In another study, conducted throughout 10 schools over a three-year period in six states, carpet cleaning with the HOST system reduced levels of carpet dust by more than 90 percent. In addition, in 13 of the classrooms tested, carpet cleaning reduced the spore load by 99 percent.

"Asthma is a leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., affecting approximately 24.6 million  people," added Rench. "The bottom line is that if you’re building or maintaining a property, carpet — when effectively maintained — will help protect building occupants by limiting potential IAQ-related triggers."