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How Your Carpet Could Be Making You Sick

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| 2018 Jan 22 |
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How Your Carpet Could Be Making You Sick

Carpets can make your home look more tidy and appealing. With a variety of colour options, pile heights and patterns, your choice of carpet adds a unique personal touch and an authentic feel to your room’s overall appearance.

Apart from making your space look more pleasant, carpet floors also cushion your feet from hard or concrete flooring, making it more comfortable for you to walk and stand on.

Compared to other materials like hardwood or tile, carpets also assist in insulating your home. Thicker carpets make room temperatures much warmer, and thus, they help you save on electricity bills and cut down on natural gas usage to maintain a cozy atmosphere.

Carpeting also works as a sound barrier to block sound transmissions between rooms, making your home more peaceful and quiet. It also goes without saying that carpeted surfaces increase safety by preventing slips and falls.

Given all these advantages of carpet floors, it is important to understand that using carpets in your home or office requires a good amount of maintenance, not only to preserve their appearance, but also to ensure the good health of occupants.
While clean, new carpets can make your room look beautiful, dirty carpets can pose numerous threats to your health and well-being. They may look harmless to the naked eye, but beneath the surface carpets can contain hundreds of allergens and pathogens from dust mites and pet dander to mold spores, bacteria and and animal feces.

How Dirty Carpets Affect Your Health

In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) coined the term Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) to refer to the unhealthy environmental factors in the workplace that undoubtedly affect the health of employees.

According to Dr. Berry Michael, Deputy Director of the Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, soiled and filthy carpets are one of the main perpetrators of SBS, contributing to indoor air pollution and threatening the health of workers.

Rugs and carpets trap allergens and are home to microorganisms that can release harmful fumes into the air you breathe. They accumulate bacteria colonies, chemical irritants, and microorganisms like mold that can cause both short-term and long-term health effects.

How Your Carpet Could Make You Sick

Once these pathogens are inhaled, they can lead to the development of the following health issues:

Allergies

Dust mites breed on dirty carpets due to the presence of bacteria, fungi, and dead skin cells. These microscopic and nasty critters cause irritations and allergies that can affect people’s ability to perform daily activities.
Both alive and dead, these mites are equally dangerous and can result in inflammation, skin rashes, itchiness, stuffy nose, sneezing and other discomforts.

Asthma Attacks

Dirty carpets reduce indoor air quality and increase the risk of asthma. If not addressed properly, they can lead to other serious respiratory issues that are both alarming and exhausting.
Carpets are deceivingly dirty and unhealthy, and damp carpets are even worse as they are hotspots for asthma inducers like dust mites and black mold.
Gross fact: when dust mites die, their carcasses stay on the carpet, making them easy to inhale and triggering asthma attacks and other respiratory irritation.

Mycotoxin Overgrowth

As well as housing toxic black mold and dust mites, carpets can also be home to dangerous mycotoxins.
Prolonged exposure of these toxins weakens your immune system, especially your stomach. In worst-case scenarios, mycotoxin overgrowth can lead to death.

Rashes and Fungal Infections

For the same obvious reason you would wear flip-flops to a public shower or pool, you should also clean your dirty rugs and carpets. (You don’t want to deal with gross fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot!)
With continuous foot traffic, carpets accumulate dirt, namely fungi and other microorganisms that contribute to these common and stubborn skin problems.
In most cases, you’ll feel your feet to itch and a rash start to appear. This happens due to the parasitic elements and irritants that enter your body through foot cuts, abrasions and breaks.
Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection caused by dirty carpets and FYI it is also contagious.
You can always reduce your chances of experiencing these health problems through cleanliness and sanitation. Follow the steps listed below to prevent your carpet from making you sick.

How to Protect Your Health from Dirty Carpets

In order to keep you and your family safe from the health risks associated with dirty carpets, it is necessary to perform regular maintenance and cleaning of your home.
The following practices will protect you from the threats posed by dirty carpets and eventually improve the quality of your indoor air.
Be careful where you use wall-to-wall carpeting h3
Wall-to-wall carpeting has been used by many homeowners to enhance the overall look of their living space. However, while it is an affordable flooring option and makes your home more cozy, it can aggravate allergies and cause more serious respiratory diseases.
As we’ve mentioned, your carpet is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. It is also vulnerable to stains, moisture and dampness, and the accumulation of dust, bugs, dirt, and bacteria.
This is why you should make sure not to place carpets all over your home. Avoid carpeting in areas prone to high moisture like your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Also, experts suggest to avoid putting carpets in rooms used by people with asthma as they may exacerbate the condition.

Use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Vacuum for cleaning your carpet

The National Center for Health Housing recommends to vacuum and clean your carpet regularly.
However, regular vacuuming doesn’t mean you’ve eliminated all harmful organisms that contribute to indoor air pollution. In fact, using an ordinary vacuum cleaner will simply rearrange dirt without removing particles hidden deep within your carpet.
Instead, use a High Efficiency Particulate Air vacuum or HEPA vacuum. It filters the air from pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold and other harmful particles using a mechanical air filter, thereby restoring freshness to your carpet.

Replace worn and stinky carpets

Some carpets may last for 10 years while others for 30 years. Although you’ve ensured to maintain and clean your carpet to extend its life, it will eventually get old, tarnished and overused. This calls for a replacement.
A lingering odour from your carpet requires proper cleaning. However, if the odour doesn’t go away even with professional cleaning, it has likely penetrated deep into the carpet pad or subfloor. Believe us, you don’t want to wait for mold to start growing beneath your carpet–replace it early on to avoid massive headaches and expenses.
Old carpets also retain particles and allergens that cause allergic reactions. If you’ve noticed an increase in your allergy symptoms, your old carpet might be the culprit. If this is the case, it’s best to remove and replace it as soon as possible.

Use carpets made of natural fibres

If you’re already planning to update your carpet, make sure to choose a carpet made of natural fibres and materials.
Instead of a large and lavish carpet, which attracts most allergens, a smarter option is a carpet made of cotton, seagrass, sisal, hemp, or other natural materials.

Hire a professional to clean your carpet

A dirty carpet does not just look ugly and smell disgusting, but it also threatens your health due to dust, pet hairs, mold, bacteria and other microscopic organisms that are trapped within its fibres.
If your carpet is not yet too old or worn enough for replacement, doing a deep clean is a great idea.
A professional carpet cleaner will not only remove stains, odours and dirt, but also provide specific solutions to minimize the cause of allergens and pathogens in your carpeted flooring.
Take care of your carpet like you would your body because ultimately your carpet affects your health. Call now for more information about our carpet cleaning services.