Carpet properties that affect the retention of cat allergen

Roger D. Lewis, Patrick N. Breysse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although the importance of carpeting on airborne levels of cat allergen (Fel d 1) has been demonstrated, no studies have been performed to determine specific properties of carpet that may affect its retention and removal. Objectives: This study characterizes factors that affect the retention of cat allergen on tufted carpets. The experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that the amount of allergen-containing dust recovered from vacuum samples of tufted carpet sources was dependent on micro (fiber) or macro (construction) retention properties of carpets. Methods: Twenty-six types of custom manufactured carpet were spiked and embedded with reference dust containing Fel d 1. A standardized vacuum surface sampler was used to recover dust from the samples. Allergen was assayed using a standard, monoclonal antibody ELISA. Results: Carpet-surface area and fluorocarbon- fiber treatments were found to have the largest effects on retention and recovery of cat allergen. The style per se of a carpet, such as loop or cut pile, does not affect allergen retention. These results are generally in agreement with previous studies on dust mite allergen retention. Conclusions: Carpets that are easiest to clean would have the following properties for release of cat allergen and in this order: low pile density and height, fluorocarbon coating of fibers, high denier per filament, and a fiber shape with a low surface area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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