Reducing dust, lead, dust mites, bacteria, and fungi in carpets by vacuuming

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1999 May;36(4):477-84. doi: 10.1007/pl00022756.


Old carpets may be reservoirs of dust, lead (Pb), and dust mite allergen. The purpose of this study was to determine if the dust, Pb, dust mite allergen, bacteria, and fungi on the surface of carpets could be reduced by 90% in 1 week with the use of a Hoover Self Propelled Vacuum with Embedded Dirt Finder (HSPF). A high-volume surface sampler (HVS3) was used to measure surface dust and pollutants before and after the use of the HSPF to remove deep dust in carpets 12 to 20 years old in nine middle-class homes and two small offices. The minimum, median, and maximum surface loading for the first and final samples are as follows: first fine dust loading: min 0.32 g/m2, max 14.4 g/m2, median 1.30 g/m2; final fine dust loading: min 0.019 g/m2, max 0.289 g/m2, median 0.102 g/m2; first Pb loading: min 38 &mgr;g/m2, max 3,871 &mgr;g/m2, median 471 &mgr;g/m2; final Pb loading: min 13 &mgr;g/m2, max 2,023 &mgr;g/m2, median 86 &mgr;g/m2; first mite loading: min 0.11 &mgr;g/m2, max 12. 88 &mgr;g/m2, median 2.82 &mgr;g/m2; final mite loading: min 0.06 &mgr;g/m2, max 3.67 &mgr;g/m2, median 0.28 &mgr;g/m2. Data were insufficient to determine if the loadings of bacteria and fungi were reduced a similar amount. Six to 45 min/m2 of vacuuming with the HSPF removed deep dust from these carpets. The median surface loadings of fine dust, Pb, and dust mite allergen in these 11 carpets were reduced by 91, 82, and 94%, respectively, in 1 to 15 h of vacuuming. The loading of the deep dust collected with the HSPF ranged from 8 to 171 g/m2 with a median of 66 g/m2.