How To Control Dust Mites in Your Carpet
Anti-Allergen Carpet Cleaning Treatment
The carpets on
our floors are a perfect environment for collecting dust mites and other common
household allergens. Dust, pollen, dirt, crumbs, and other debris fall onto the
floor and are caught in the fibers of the carpet. Since dust mites feed on shed
human skin (a major component of household dust) carpeting provides a banquet
table set for a feast for dust mites. As people walk on the carpet, they stir
up the settled bits of allergen, causing them to become air-borne. Once
air-borne, they are easily inhaled and trigger an allergic reaction.
Most advice for
setting up an allergen proof room includes the removal of all carpeting and
rugs. The reason for this advice is that it is impossible to clean carpet. You
can certainly pay companies to clean your carpets, you can rent a carpet
cleaning machine and do it yourself, you can buy one of hundreds of carpet
cleaning products, but none of these really cleans the carpet. It is true that
any of these methods of “carpet cleaning” will remove some of the soil and make
the carpets look cleaner. But the carpet will not be clean and the allergens
will not be removed or neutralized.
You can think of it this way, suppose you
took a heavy sweater or shirt (with lots of thick fibers) and threw it down on
the floor and walked on it for 6 months. It would get pretty dirty, right?
Then suppose you splashed the dirty shirt/sweater with some warm soapy water and
then vacuumed the water out with a wet vacuum extraction system. Do you think
that sweater would be clean? Of course not, and neither are your carpets after
using any of the numerous methods of carpet cleaning. This is why people with
allergies or asthma are told to get rid of carpet.
But what if you
live in a situation that prohibits the removal of the carpet? If you live in a
rental or are not in a financial position to replace the carpet with hard
flooring then you need an alternative. That alternative is to focus on the
allergens in the carpet and target their destruction.
caused by a defect in the human immune system whereby harmless bits of benign
proteins are mis-identified and the immune system is called into action when it
is not necessary. Stopping the allergic reaction depends on stopping the
exposure to the allergy causing protein. In the case of dust mites and carpets,
the dust mites and their feces contain a protein (Der f1 in the US and Der p1 in
Europe) that collects in the carpets. Since we have already established that
you can’t “clean” the carpet to remove this protein another approach must be
proteins can be denatured (or deactivated) by the use of extreme heat, acids, or
alkalis. Once the protein has been denatured, it will not cause the allergic
reaction. The protein remains, but its structure has changed. This is exactly
what happens when you cook an egg white. The white starts out as a liquid made
up of about 40 different proteins, when you apply heat the amino acids that make
up the proteins change structures and make new bonds. To our eyes, the eggs
looks “cooked” but what has really happened is that the protein has been
It is not
practical to apply such extreme temperatures directly to carpet. The
temperature required to denature the proteins would destroy the carpet. So that
leaves acids and alkalis in our tool box.
Anti-Allergen Carpet Cleaning Treatment Powder made by Alkaline Laboratories harnesses the power of the acids in
tannins to denature the allergy causing proteins. Tannic acid is found in woods
like oak, mahogany, and redwood. It is also found in tea. Alkaline Labs uses a
patented process to convert this into a 3% tanacetane formulation which is
highly effective in denaturing proteins from animals, molds, pollens and dust
mites. They combine this denaturing agent with a water-based solution of
surfactants that also absorbs some soil. The result with X-Mite
anti-allergen powder is that
the proteins are denatured and thereby made harmless and some soil is removed
making the carpets appear cleaner.
To use X-Mite
anti-allergen carpet cleaning treatment powder, you sprinkle the moist powder on the carpet. Because it is not a fine,
dry powder it comes out in “clumps” which need to be swept into the carpet with
a broom. This also causes the active agents to be worked further into the
fibers, allowing for more effective denaturing action. After about 3 hours, the
carpets are vacuumed to remove the powder and absorbed soil. It is not
necessary to move furniture and treat under furniture.
recommends that you always test their product on a small hidden area of the
carpet before you use it. The concern is that any prior chemicals or cleaners
that you have used might interact with the tanacetane and cause a reaction that
might stain or discolor the carpet.
I am fortunate
that I have been able to remove all the carpeting from my home. It certainly
has made a difference in the control of my allergies. However, until I was able
to remove the carpets, X-Mite anti-allergen dust mite carpet powder was an important part of my allergy control
regimen in my home.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store