Did you know, an estimated 300 million people suffer from asthma worldwide?

That’s approximately 1 in every 24 people.

Asthma is a common long-term condition where triggers such as house dust mites, animal fur, pollen and cigarette smoke can cause the airways of the lungs to become inflamed.

Household cleaning products, which are sometimes used to get rid of these triggers, have also been known to aggravate and irritate breathing passages, as they can contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

This leads to coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.

Occasionally, asthma symptoms can get gradually or suddenly worse, which is caused by a tightening of the muscles around the airwaves. This is known as an ‘asthma attack’ or an ‘asthma exacerbation’.

To help reduce the triggers of asthma in the home, new cleaning products containing carbon dioxide (CO2) are being developed specifically for allergy sufferers.


Researchers from The University of South Carolina were awarded two patents for a new method to rid carpets, mattresses and other furniture of harmful allergens and pests that cause asthma. The process involves using CO2 to ‘freeze clean’ home fabrics.

CO2 vapour is sprayed directly onto fabric which cools on expansion to form tiny micro-pellets of dry ice. The freezing process deactivates proteins found in pet dander and removes smoke residue and other allergy-causing substances. It also kills dust mites embedded in carpets and mattresses, which feed off human skin particles (lovely).

The fabric is then vacuumed to remove both the dry ice and the allergens attached, leaving a dry fabric, free of allergy-causing agents.

Tests have shown that the process doesn’t damage fabrics and a single cleaning can last up to six months.

The original concept for the research project was actually to commercialise CO2 technology for medical sterilisation. However, the research team realised there was a critical need to address the removal of asthma triggers from the home.

CO2 is already used in the process of dry cleaning as a more environmentally friendly and safe alternative to traditional cleaning solvents.

It is now just a matter of time before CO2 cleaning products become available to buy in your local supermarket.

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