Anyone who suffers from allergies knows the perils of allergy season, but while we tend to think of the culprits as living outside, many allergens can be found right inside your home. Your home’s flooring, specifically, can contribute to allergies, with certain flooring types harboring dust mites and other allergens, creating an environment conducive to mold growth, off-gassing harmful chemicals that aggravate allergies, and more.
Allergy sufferers may feel as though they have nowhere to escape to during allergy season: While the outdoors can be dominated by tree, grass, and weed pollen, the indoors may also have air quality concerns.
Fortunately, ceramic tile does not produce or harbor any allergens, which leads to improved indoor air quality with the following benefits.
A Surface Free of Allergens
Because ceramic tile is a hard-fired surface and inorganic, it is completely free of allergens, meaning that allergens such as dust, dirt, and pollen can’t penetrate ceramic tile. Instead, allergens settle on the tile surface, making it easy for you to wipe them away. Compare this to flooring types that do harbor allergens: When you move across a surface that can harbor allergens (such as carpet), the movement across the floor can send the allergens airborne, after which they can circulate for several hours.
Ceramic tile’s nonporous surface also makes it inhospitable to the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, fungi, and other irritants. Medical News Today explains that allergy sufferers may be more sensitive to mold than others, potentially developing respiratory symptoms after inhaling just a small amount of mold spores. Inhaling large quantities of mold spores can cause ill health in anyone — regardless of whether you have allergies or not.
For this reason, it’s essential that you both remove existing mold growth in your home and work to prevent it from growing back. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends removing wallpaper from bathrooms, where mold growth is common due to high humidity levels, and replacing it with tile or painting with mold-resistant enamel paint.
[Related: Health Benefits of Ceramic Tile]
Regular house cleaning can eliminate many allergens and relieve allergy symptoms, but be careful not to cause more harm than good when cleaning. WebMD recommends using a damp cloth or mop when cleaning to trap the allergens rather than knocking them into the air (where the process of circulating and then landing on your surfaces would only repeat itself). Also, many cleaning agents can add to the allergen load in indoor air.
Incidentally, wiping with clean water is often all that’s necessary to clean ceramic surfaces, whether it’s your ceramic tile flooring, countertop, backsplash, or shower. Because allergens can’t penetrate ceramic tile’s hard surface, wiping is all that’s required to eliminate them.
[Related: The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Ceramic Tile]
Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) are chemicals found in many different materials in our homes (including many flooring types) that are emitted as gases. VOCs can cause many adverse health effects and are concerning for allergy sufferers and nonsufferers alike: According to a study led by scientists at Harvard University and Kalstad University in Sweden, certain VOCs “might exacerbate or even cause allergic disorders and asthma.”
The study, which measured the VOC levels in the bedrooms of 400 preschoolers and toddlers, found that the children who breathed in the VOCs had significantly higher rates of stuffy noses, asthma, and eczema. This discovery is especially concerning considering the wide use of VOCs in common household materials.
Because ceramic tile is manufactured at extremely high temperatures and all organic contaminants are decomposed and is thus inorganic, ceramic tile emits no VOCs — unlike some non-ceramic types of flooring. Families can rest assured that ceramic tile won’t exacerbate asthma symptoms or contribute to the development of asthma in young children.
Breathe Easy With Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile is clearly a smart choice for anyone who has allergies, is concerned about their own or their children’s health, or merely wants to improve the air quality in their home. And while healthy options can sometimes sacrifice aesthetic appeal, this isn’t the case with ceramic tile, which comes in a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures to provide the ideal aesthetic for every space.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of easy cleaning, enjoy versatile style options, and breathe easy with ceramic tile.