Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vacuum Cleaning Is Ineffective At Removing Dust Mite Allergen, According To Study

Date:
May 23, 2007
Source:
Woolcock Institute Of Medical Research
Summary:
New research has shown vacuum cleaning to be largely ineffective at removing dust mite allergen. Vacuum cleaning was evaluated as an ineffective allergy avoidance measure because it removed dust mite allergen from carpets in an inconsistent and incomplete manner.

New research has shown vacuum cleaning to be largely ineffective at removing dust mite allergen.

Conducted by the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research the research found that vacuum cleaning was an ineffective allergy avoidance measure because it removed dust mite allergen from carpets in an inconsistent and incomplete manner.

This is particularly true of worn carpets where the study results indicate vacuum cleaning may in fact change the distribution of dust mite allergen within the carpet, rather than removing allergen from all depths equally.

Woolcock Researcher Jason Sercombe said that given that carpets are a major reservoir of dust mite allergen and vacuum cleaning is the most common method of allergen control, the results are particularly relevant to professionals interested in limiting people’s exposure to common allergens.

“The results also help to explain why many trials aimed at reducing people’s exposure to indoor allergens – some even going so far as to install new furniture – have had limited success.

“Although soft furnishings such as beds contain more concentrated sources of allergy causing protein produced by house dust mites (known as Der p 1), the large size of carpet means it is likely to contain a larger total amount of allergen than other items in a home,” said Mr Sercombe.

“Allergen avoidance measures that rely solely on vacuum cleaning are likely to be of limited success unless more rigorous cleaning than standard home vacuuming is performed.”

The Woolcock study also showed the type of vacuum cleaners with rotating brushes in the head removed more dirt and allergen from the carpets than those without. However, rotating brushes may serve to kick dust up into the air if the suction component of the cleaner is not operating properly.

For the first time, the study demonstrated that carpets after several years of use in domestic conditions not only contain large amounts of Der p 1 allergen but that this allergen occurs throughout the depth of carpets with no consistent pattern.

The Woolcock Institute conducted the study in an attempt to better understand how allergen avoidance measures can be applied to carpets. It examined the vertical distribution of the allergy-causing protein produced by house dust mites present in several used carpets before and after a standardised vacuuming procedure using either of two styles of dry vacuum cleaner.

“Overseas studies have found that vacuum cleaners with two or three layer bags performed better than those with a single layer bag, and the maintenance of the cleaner and integrity of seals and gaskets were important factors in effective cleaning,” Mr Sercombe said.

“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 filter) filtration which is finding its way into some very affordable models.”

Dust mite allergen exposure can be reduced by:

  • Washing bedding items weekly in hot water (55 degrees C or more, special anti-mite additives provide little additional benefit over hot water with normal detergent)
  • Avoiding non-washable items such as sheepskins
  • Regularly washing pillows and doonas and/or purchasing mite-resistant covers
  • Washing any stuffed toys

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Woolcock Institute Of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Woolcock Institute Of Medical Research. "Vacuum Cleaning Is Ineffective At Removing Dust Mite Allergen, According To Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522155643.htm>.
Woolcock Institute Of Medical Research. (2007, May 23). Vacuum Cleaning Is Ineffective At Removing Dust Mite Allergen, According To Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522155643.htm
Woolcock Institute Of Medical Research. "Vacuum Cleaning Is Ineffective At Removing Dust Mite Allergen, According To Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522155643.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins