The most common
single cause of asthma is sensitization to house dust, or more precisely to the
dust mite, and particularly its waste products. But there’s no reason why
asthmatics shouldn’t enjoy the comfort and aesthetic pleasure of wool carpet.
In fact, not only are carpets in general inhospitable for dust mites, but wool carpet is especially resistant. Research performed by the German Applied and Experimental Allergy Research Association (GAF) showed that when wool and nylon carpets were compared for dust mites populations, the wool carpet performed best in resisting dust mite infestation.
Wool’s long, coarse fibers cannot be inhaled and therefore do not affect asthma sufferers. As long as the air is dry, the ventilation good, and the cleaning regular and thorough, asthma sufferers can breathe easy with wool carpet!
Dust mites feed
on human skin flakes and live mainly in mattresses and similar warm, dark
places. Bed-making sends dust mites airborne causing them to be found in
floor dust, mainly in bedrooms.
To the dust mite, carpets and rugs are a hostile environment: too cold, too dry, too exposed to the light and too regularly cleaned. Since carpets, unlike smooth floor coverings, hold dust in their structure, dust mites will be removed by vacuuming or wet cleaning.
Dust mites cannot live on wool carpets. Also, wool carpets and rugs generally contain very low levels of permethrin, a naturally occurring substance that kills very small insects.
By their very nature, wool carpets and rugs are good for the indoor environment. That’s because wool, unlike synthetic fibers, rapidly absorbs common contaminants in indoor air such as formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Not only does wool keep the air free of many harmful pollutants, it will not re-emit them, even when heated. In fact, it has been estimated that wool carpets can continually purify indoor air for up to 30 years!
So asthma and wool together is actually a good thing!