Carpets typically evoke fuzzy images of warmth and comfort. They ooze that essence of a homey feel and on top of it, provide good sound insulation. However, not many people know that there is a darker, sinister side to them.
We are talking about elusive health risks that lurk in our living environment and make our carpets their home. The dirt and debris accumulate fast and provide a favorable climate for pollutants, germs, bacteria, and viruses to luxuriate.
So, it’s time to do something about: It would be quite unfortunate to let a neglected carpet be a stumbling block on the road to your fitness and health goals.
Hide and seek
Carpets have been around for centuries, and many of those we see today look as if they had served that long. This is not just a minor inconvenience or a matter of aesthetics.
Dirty carpets are a perfect breeding ground for a variety of tiny menaces. Firstly, over the course of a single year, these surfaces can accumulate up to 40 pounds of dirt. To make it worse, thousands of dust mites can survive on one ounce of carpet dust. You could call experts to identify all the health hazards that exist there, but the most prudent approach is to assume the worst.
After all, our immune systems fight off diseases and bacteria on a daily basis. You cannot avoid them altogether, but you don’t have to add fuel to the fire either. Namely, many pollutants and fungi thrive in filthy, dusty, and moldy carpets, and faced with so many problems to deal with, our immune system spreads thin.
Immune system under siege
This can leave you vulnerable to sickness, especially if your carpets contain mycotoxins, dangerous microbes that attack your system and cause stomach infections, allergies, and asthma. They render the air inside your home unsafe to breathe.
Furthermore, carpets conceal a slew of irritants that trigger skin problems, most notably redness, itching, and swelling. One of the most common problems associated with carpets is a contagious infection called athlete’s foot. It usually occurs in the wake of walking barefoot over fungi-contaminated carpets.
Most of the other health issues manifest as respiratory symptoms. Dust mites, dirt, bacteria, and molds multiply rapidly and become airborne whenever you walk over or vacuum the carpet. And when inhaled, they can trigger runny noses, coughing, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions.
People suffering from allergies can witness their condition worsening, while those who never had an allergy are at risk of developing it. The list of risks goes on and includes the likes of Norovirus, a stomach flu-inducing germ that can survive up to a month on an unclean carpet.
Mitigating the risks
The good news is that you don’t have to get rid of all your beloved carpets.
The key to steering away from health risks is cleaning and maintaining them regularly. In general, twice per week does the trick, but bear in mind that the frequency of vacuuming depends on the carpet’s type as well as on the amount of foot traffic. And in case you have pets, you might have to do this chore every single day.
It certainly helps to have a quality carpet to begin with. What is more, carpets do have a lifespan and sometimes, there’s no other option than to bid farewell to them. Search for quality rugs online and replace those worn out fabrics that are beyond salvation. Figure out which type of carpet fiber suits your needs the best.
Also, note that using an old vacuum cleaner can aggravate the problem. Namely, due to the lack of suction, the air blown from it disperses germs and bacteria all around your room. On the other hand, a newer model with a HEPA filter is sure to properly clean your carpets. To stay on the safe side, you should also do professional cleaning (preferably using the steam technique) once per year.
That way, you will be able to prolong the life of your carpet and alleviate all the perilous health risks.
Clean up your act
The best place to start cleaning the house is the one you stand on. Unattended carpets tend to be riddled with a variety of diseases that can lay waste to your immune system and impede good health. Thus, they pose a significant health risk that you cannot afford to overlook.
Extra care and maintenance, when performed regularly, go a long way towards preventing your carpet from becoming a host of germs and pollutants. So, if you mean to preserve the well-being of you and your family, refrain from sweeping the problems under the carpet.
Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor-in-chief of Smooth Decorator. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that’s where she gets most of her inspiration from.