As your pet grooms him- or herself, a protein in the salivary glands is released. In cats, this protein is known as Fel d 1, and in dogs, it is known as Can f 2. These proteins fix to fur and skin, and as your dog or cat sheds dander — tiny particles of skin — these proteins are released into the air.
Exposure to these proteins can cause asthma and allergy flare-ups. As the dander settles, it can embed itself into your carpet and even cause issues for people with no allergies. Too much dander in the carpet can lead to watery eyes, eczema, coughing, and sneezing. If you have pets in your home, you’ll need to give extra attention to your carpet. Learn four ways that you can keep dander to a minimum.
1. Always Start With Dusting
Some people clean their homes without paying attention to the order of tasks. However, you should always start with dusting. As you dust, dander is kicked up from furniture and upholstery. This dander can then float down and settle into the carpet. If you dust after vacuuming, then you will just make the carpet dirty again.
2. Use a HEPA Vacuum
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed on dander. Dust mites also can exacerbate allergy symptoms. Vacuuming can help get rid of these pests, so make sure to vacuum often when you have pets. You should also look into a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum.
You may have heard about HEPA HVAC systems, but you can also find HEPA filters for vacuums. These filters are incredibly effective at picking up dust mite feces and dander. They can filter out particles of about .3 microns. To give you a perspective of just how efficient that is, a cross-section of human hair is about 50 microns.
HEPA filters can be used for both upright and canister vacuums. There is little difference between their effectiveness, so your choice is largely preferential. However, if you have a mix of hard flooring and carpeting, a canister type might be better since it can easily vacuum both types of floor.
3. Make Sure Your Pet Doesn't Produce Excess Dander
While some breeds are more hypoallergenic than others, many factors can affect dander production, including:
- Brushing and bathing
Provide your pet with food with essential fatty acids, as these nutrients will replace the oils in your pet's skin, making it less flaky and itchy. Dogs and cats that are overweight or obese tend to produce more dander, so adjust their diet according to your vet's recommendations.
You should also brush your dog every day to remove loose fur and dander before it is shed. When you brush your pet, wear a face mask if you have allergies. If the weather allows it, brush them outside — away from your carpets.
4. Invest in Professional Cleaning Services
Once or twice a year, have a professional deep clean your carpet. While HEPA vacuums can certainly help, professional services can reach deeper into the carpet fibers and roots.
You may also be able to get a two-in-one service with a professional cleaning company. Besides removing dander, they can pre-treat urine stains and other blemishes caused by your pet. Once the carpet has been thoroughly treated, it can be steam-cleaned and rinsed with shampoo and hot water.
You should also have a professional rinse the carpets, since they will make sure that the carpet isn't sopping wet afterward. Some people use too much water on their carpets, which can lead to mold. A professional service will use fans to dry the carpet and help you keep furniture off of the floor until it is adequately dry.
At John Wecker Carpet Cleaning, we want to help you keep your carpets and upholstery clear of dander. Contact us today for more information about our residential services.