Can Carpets and Cleaning Them Affect Your Health?By Angelica Malin
In the words of the Big Lebowski, or at least to a similar effect, a rug can really pull a room together. So indeed can a beautiful carpet.
Carpets, however, aren’t just for visual effect. Although they can certainly be aesthetically pleasing and add appeal to a room, they have practical benefits too.
They help to provide insulation to a room and give warmth too. They are comfortable to recline on as many children like to do as they draw, or read books. Pets are also fond of lying and sleeping on rugs and carpets.
They are soft underfoot and act as shock absorbers as you walk barefoot across them.
All this traffic from humans and animals though takes its toll. Obviously, if you don’t clean your carpets you would expect them to become somewhat duller. But have you ever considered the health hazards that your carpet may be causing?
Can carpets affect your health?
In some cases, carpets may include what are known as volatile organic compounds. These can appear in adhesives and glues used to fit the carpet, or in the carpet itself.
These are known to affect some people’s health and have been linked to some respiratory issues with newborn babies.
However, this is an issue that can be avoided simply by checking with the manufacturer whether VOCs have been used in the manufacture of the carpet or will be used to fit it in the home.
Another way that carpets can harm health is through a lack of cleaning. Carpets can attract all manner of pollutants and debris that can cause physical health issues. And, can even lead to mental wellness concerns.
Why is carpet cleaning so important?
Undertaking carpet cleaning in London is as simple as searching for a local professional. Yet many people neglect to understand why carpet cleaning is so important.
The lovely weave in your carpet that makes them so attractive, and comfortable underfoot, is also great at trapping all manner of unwanted pollutants.
Leaving a carpet uncleaned will shorten its lifespan, make it look unattractive but worse than that; create a genuine health hazard.
If you ignore carpet cleaning how could this impact your health?
Most people vacuum their carpets regularly, but not everyone undertakes proper deep cleans. What you may not realise is that when you vacuum your carpet, you may be releasing pollutants into the air.
These pollutants and allergens can lead to a number of symptoms from itchy eyes, to runny noses. They can also exacerbate asthma symptoms.
You can clean a carpet yourself, but some cleaning jobs are best left to the professionals. A proper deep clean can remove a multitude of problems, and lead to a healthier home environment.
Here are some of the health hazards that can be caused by your carpet being left unclean.
Dust mites will set up home
These little insects are almost impossible to spot with the naked eye, yet they are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms.
While dust mites may be practically invisible, the thought of having thousands of living creatures in your carpet is surely unpleasant. Especially when you consider your children lying on the carpet as the mites crawl around.
Vacuuming alone will not remove dust mites as they cling to the carpet. Steam cleaning is needed as the heat will kill them off.
You may be able to tell you have dust mites if you start to suffer from watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Anyone with asthma can find that their health suffers dramatically with dust mites in the home.
Mental wellness can be affected
This may surprise you, but an unclean carpet can affect mental health too. Ongoing illnesses and unpleasant physical symptoms can lead to a decline in mental wellness.
This can be especially true for parents struggling to look after poorly children.
Another rather surprising, and scary fact, is that you can get salmonella from your dirty carpet.
For this to happen you would have to be eating off the carpet’s surface. Therefore there is no real risk, right? Now have a good think about how likely it is your child will happily pick up dropped biscuits and food from a carpet.
Salmonella causes very unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In very young children, salmonella can be very serious.
Indoor air quality
Your carpet can seriously affect the quality of your indoor air in the home. The NCBI produced a study on how carpets can impair indoor air quality. They concluded that carpets can act as repositories for pollutants and toxins.
When the carpet is disturbed, these pollutants can re-enter the atmosphere. The list of possible pollutants and allergens is almost endless. And to disturb them can be as simple as walking across the carpet, or from vacuuming.
What allergens and pollutants can be found in carpets?
You are already aware of the possibility of dust mites, but have you considered what you and your pets may be adding to your lovely carpeting?
Human and pet dander is shed naturally and can become trapped in the fibres of the carpet. Pet dander especially is an issue for anyone with asthma and can cause other allergic symptoms.
Pet dander can cause congestion, sore throats, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and more.
Carpets accumulate a lot of dirt and grime over a year’s use. Apparently, it isn’t unusual for a carpet that hasn’t been properly cleaned to add around 40lbs of dirt and grime during a 12 month period.
Carpets trap pollen, crumbs, dust, grease, and worse. Cockroaches can be attracted to carpets and their underlay. They shed skin and many people get unpleasant allergic reactions to these creepy-crawlies.
Then there is mold, to contend with.
How can you end up with a mouldy carpet?
You may not realise it, but mould spores are all around homes. They need moisture to thrive, and sadly, carpets are perfect for this.
The CDC has some basic facts about mould and dampness, and how they affect health.
Carpets are great at trapping moisture. Although you may not be able to see mould unless the situation grows severe, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Water damage is one way that can help provide a great environment for mould growth.
Visually they look awful
This has nothing to do with health, but neglecting to clean your carpet will simply make it look awful.
One of the most simple ways to update your room is by adding rugs or new carpets. However, just cleaning them can totally revitalise them.
You should try and get your carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year. Recommendations differ, and your own requirements will depend on how much traffic your carpet has to take.
If you have children and pets, then a carpet should be cleaned more frequently than one that is in a single person’s home.
Carpets have been around for thousands of years, and some of them are worth small fortunes.
It seems strange then that after spending out a considerable amount of money, someone would then neglect to care for that carpet. Nevertheless, it does happen.
While you may have thought the only problem with avoiding professional cleaning was a duller carpet, what could truly be happening is that your health is being affected.