There is a certain joy in waking up on winter mornings and sinking your toes into fresh, warm carpeting. It is certainly better than standing on cool hardwood flooring. But which is better for your health? New carpets and old carpets both have certain health risks and, depending on the specifics of your carpet and your health, could even make you sick.
Research has found that even modern carpets collect pollutants and pathogens which may impact your health. So if you find yourself asking: ‘Can home carpeting make you sick?’, here is what you need to know about whether your carpeting could cause discomfort and what you need to do to keep your carpets clean.
How Can Home Carpeting Make You Sick And Impact Health?
Carpets act like sinks. Debris, pollutants, and pathogens fall into them and stay there instead of getting swept away. When you walk on the carpet, you disturb those pollutants and pathogens and release them back into the air, where you can breathe them in again. Or, if you walk on carpeting with bare feet, your skin comes into direct contact with whatever is hiding in the carpet. Sometimes these things can make you sick. This is especially true for people with respiratory issues, skin conditions, vulnerable immune systems, allergies, and other health issues.
Of course, your doctor should be your first stop for all of these problems, and managing them will likely require more than cleaning your carpet. But it is still empowering to know how your carpet may play a role in these issues and in keeping yourself more healthy and comfortable.
What Is Hiding In Carpets?
What could be in your carpet that you recirculate every time you step on it or vacuum it up? You’d be surprised. A wide range of potential contaminants and other substances could be hiding in your carpet. Here are some of the things you can expect to find:
- Lingering pet dander: Anyone with pets knows that their dander, the material their skin naturally produces, ends up in the carpet. That’s true for dogs, cats, and less common pets like rabbits and ferrets. Basically, any pet with hair. If you have allergies or have guests in your home with allergies, being near or touching the carpet can trigger a reaction. People with severe allergies should avoid being near carpets that pets have been on. And, if you temporarily need to let a pet into your home, then you may need to do some carpet cleaning after to remove their dander.
- Bringing the outdoors in: When you step outside, even for a moment, you end up tracking things in onto your carpet. Your shoes can deposit dirt, bacteria, mold, outdoor allergens, and even pathogens like parasites onto the carpet. There they can linger and spread.
- Sickness: It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we get sick. Children may not make it to the bathroom before vomiting or may have accidents when potty training. Pets may also have accidents, whether they are in puppy training or old age has given them incontinence issues. No matter who has been sick on the carpet or why, you want to make sure that the stain is removed and that any bacteria or other debris left behind are also completely cleaned out of the carpet.
- Allergens: Carpets are full of indoor and outdoor allergens. Indoor molds and dust mites collect in carpets. Air from outside brings in pollen and other seasonal allergens, which then drop into the carpet and stay there. If you’ve had allergy issues outside of your trigger season, it could be the carpet’s fault.
- VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are not “stuck” in carpets like the other things on this list. Instead, they are produced by new carpets and released into the air. VOCs can be harmful to human health, especially if you have a lot of exposure to them.
- Mold: Mold spores and mold growth can both occur in carpets, or even on the backside of carpets.
- Fungi: Fungi can also grow in carpets, especially those that have been exposed to water.
- Dust mites: Dust mites may live in carpeting, and dust itself collects easily in carpets.
- Spills and crumbs: Drink spills or food crumbs can make your carpet a great place for bacteria, mold, or even bugs. It’s hard to avoid spills and crumbs when you have young children, or when you entertain in carpeted rooms.
What Are Some Common Reactions To The Health Risks From Carpets?
Sometimes we don’t quite connect the dots that it is exposure to our carpeting which is causing our health issues, or making our existing health issues worse. Some negative ways that you might react from exposure to what is in your carpet include:
- Asthma attacks
- Allergy symptoms
- Respiratory irritation
- Skin irritation
- Fungal growth
It is important to consider that these issues can be worse for babies who are still crawling or young children who are just closer to the ground.
How To Keep Carpets Clean
Professional carpet cleaning is the best way to keep your carpets clean and actually remove the debris lingering in them. Most homeowners use vacuums that do not even have HEPA filters, meaning they simply pull up debris particles from the carpet and release them back into the air with the exhaust. It then settles back down into the carpet.
Professional carpet cleaners use HEPA filters and many other steps to provide a deep clean to your carpet that will actually remove contaminants in it—even odors. Here is our carpet and rug cleaning process:
- Inspection for color fastness
- Dry soil extraction
- Immersion in a mild conditioner
- Light agitation to work it in
- Full rinse of the soil and cleaning residue
- Treatments for odors when needed
- Wringing and extracting
- Applying a professional fiber protector
- Nap groom and hang to dry
- Repair work when needed
Choose Professional Carpet Cleaning From Appleby Cleaning And Restoration
If you are wondering: ‘Can home carpeting make you sick?’ as well as what you can do about it, we can provide you with a truly deep, professional carpet cleaning for optimal health benefits. Contact us today at 510-351-5230 or click here to learn more.