Recent research conducted by Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Australia, found dust mite removal and that of their allergens from carpets during normal vacuum cleaning to be “inconsistent and incomplete”. It showed standard vacuum cleaning to be ineffective as part of reducing exposure to asthma and allergy triggers.
Carpets are a major source of dustmite allergen and regular vacuuming is one of the most common ways of dust mite control and minimising exposure.
Instead of removing dust mite allergens from the depths of the carpets, the study results showed that normal vacuuming moved the dustmite allergen around and within the carpet. According to Woolcock researchers “The results may help to explain why many trials aimed at reducing people’s exposure to indoor allergens have had limited success.”
The Woolcock study also looked at types of vacuum cleaners. They found that vacuum cleaners with rotating brushes in the head removed more dirt and allergen from the carpets than those without, as long as the suction component of the cleaner is operating properly, preventing dust being re-circulated back into the air.
“Overseas studies have found that vacuum cleaners with two or three layer bags performed better than those with a single layer bag. The maintenance of the cleaner and integrity of seals and gaskets were important factors in effective cleaning” said Woolcock researchers. “There are many vacuum cleaners on the market that claim to be suited to allergy sufferers. The most important aspect to look for is HEPA, high efficiency particulate air, filtration which is finding its way into some very affordable models.”