Humans are easily fooled by appearances.
Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the maintenance of our carpets. We often notice the obvious – stains and spills, of course. But as the saying goes, “never judge a book by its cover”, what lies beneath the surface should be more alarming.
The fact is:
If you were aware of what lives and breeds in your carpeting, you would want to start deep cleaning today. Warning: this article is not for the faint of heart! You may want to sit down for this.
4 DISGUSTING FACTS ABOUT YOUR CARPET
What you don’t know – can in fact hurt you. Usually only those within the carpet industry know the truth behind how gross carpet can truly be.
The truth is, most carpet is prime breeding grounds for all types and species of bacteria, germs, and spores. This, unfortunately, is true regardless of whether the carpet type is commercial or residential.
Now a few eye-opening facts that may leave you queasy.
(Continue reading at your own peril. This information cannot be unlearned.)
CARPET HOLDS 4X TIMES ITS WEIGHT IN DIRT.
Did that sink in yet? Oh, that is right, it already DID!
Yep, you read that correctly – carpet can hold four times its own weight in dirt.
Anything and everything that is tracked in from the outside of your home – eventually settles into the depths of your carpeting. As time goes on, the accumulation of particulates of debris, oils, sand, and other foreign materials will outweigh the carpet itself. Deeply hidden beneath the surface of your (once) beautiful carpet – most folks wouldn’t expect this.
3 OUT OF 4 PEOPLE WALK ON CARPET WITH DIRTY SHOES.
With our busy lives – it is no surprise people aren’t minding the carpet.
As you neglect it, the greater the build up of dirt. But that is not the core of the problem.
Just don’t let that expectation make you numb to it. Not only do you carpets end up holding what your family brings in, but they also capture what your guests bring in. Your own dirt is one thing, but the dirt of others? Intolerable!
INDOOR AIR QUALITY MAY BE 8-10 TIMES WORSE THAN OUTDOOR AIR QUALITY.
This may be an eyeopener to most people. Why you may ask?
Soft goods (textiles and fabrics) that furnish your home easily absorb various contaminants. This includes living and non-living . With every step on that carpet you are catapulting invisible clouds of nasty into the air. Filthier carpeting equals filthier indoor air.
CARPET MAY HOLD UP TO 200,000 BACTERIA PER SQUARE INCH.
Disgustingly enough, that is approximately 4,000 TIMES more bacteria and germs than your toilet. Ok, now THAT is gross.
Of course, every carpet is unique, but none are immune to this fact. Ensuring that you keep on a routine maintenance schedule is more relevant than the materials type or length of the pile. The length of time that your carpet goes uncleaned, the more unclean it becomes – increasingly putting your family in increasing harm.
WHAT’S LIVING IN YOUR CARPETS
Your carpet acts as the largest filter of organic materials in your home. All day, every day.
- Food, Beverages, Moisture
- Dirt, Dust, Pollen, Smoke
- Hair, Skin Cells, Nastier Human Stuff
- Whatever Your Kids Dragged In
- The Presents Your Pet Leaves for You
Bit by bit it all adds up. All the gross stuff breaks down, sinks to the bottom, and rots. It gradually gives your carpets a darker overtone and a nice bouquet of smells to go along with it.
The problem is all the things that feed on the rotting organic matter. Those are the things that get you and your family sick. Heard of a thing named Fungus? Molds? Yep your dirty carpet may be acting as magnet for the spores – in essence the perfect breeding ground. Let’s talk about a few of them, starting with one you probably suspect.
Your carpets are one of the most high-risk areas for mold growth.
Airborne mold spores land on carpet fibers and find themselves comfortable and well-nourished. Mold often finds everything it needs to grow and thrive in your carpets. This is due to the high organic material content in poorly maintained carpeting. Moisture is the biggest factor for mold growth. Mold loves humid climates, like we have in North Carolina. Carpets near bathrooms, basements, or other damp parts of your home are at a high risk. Moisture provided by air conditioning contributes as well.
It can be difficult to spot mold as it is not always obvious. It is rarely visible, lurking in the far and dark corners of your home. You don’t even know it is there, and yet it is spreading. This is unfortunate because it can negatively impact your families health. Mold is quite a proficient nuisance – the allergens it creates as it consumes organic materials affect every individual differently. Reactions and severity thereof can range drastically. Some common occurrences are skin rashes, cold like symptoms, or difficulty breathing.
Some mold also produces mycotoxins—toxic compounds that can have serious health effects. In fact, one of those effects is that it makes you more sensitive to the next unsavory character on our list.
Carpet is much like a large petri dish only on a much larger and much more diverse scale. It is essentially a bacteria cest pool highway super system. This isn’t just any bacteria. We’re talking about strains responsible for the some of the most illnesses, hospitalizations, and even deaths in the United States.
Some of these notorious bacteria include:
- SALMONELLA: This bacteria is often spread to your carpet by tracking in feces, from people and our animals. Contaminated food and other outside substances can contain it as well. Salmonella infections can result in diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk.
- CAMPYLOBACTER: Campylobacter is commonly found in moist or damp carpets. This bacteria needs an especially moisture-rich environment. But it needs little oxygen to thrive. Campylobacter infections cause an illness called campylobacteriosis, which can lead to diarrhea or dysentery syndrome.
- E COLI: Perhaps the most notorious bacteria out there, E. coli is not to be taken lightly. It can come from raw food products in your home or tracked in by your family. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. In more severe cases, it can lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration, or kidney failure.
- COVID-19: 2020’s biggest celebrity bringing fear and worry into the life of every human on earth this year. We understand very little about the virus and how well it thrives, however, most studies suggest that it is similar to common cold viruses – they may remain on surfaces for several days. The make up of carpet can create a super highway system for the virus to multiply.
You never want to underestimate the power in little things. And these little things could make a big difference in the lives of your family. Unfortunately, mold and bacteria aren’t the only threats.
OTHER HARMFUL THINGS
Unfortunately, plenty of creepy little things love consuming rotting organic matter. For instance, many insects thrive on a concoction of food residue, pet feces, and other insects. And they can continue to thrive on it as it rots away beneath the surface of your carpet.
Tiny channels within your home can provide direct routes to your kitchen or bedroom. Even worse, some of the organic matter will inevitably escape the carpet to land as dust around your home.
Obviously, such insects transmit disease. This should be motivation enough. But sometimes, dirty carpets can get you sick without any extra help. Norovirus is a contagious stomach and intestinal virus. It can survive in carpets for an extended period of time. This is one of the things that make norovirus outbreaks difficult to control.
Steam cleaning is the safest way to fight norovirus in carpets. However, it’s crucial that steam temperatures reach 170° for at least five minutes. This can be hard to do without the help of a professional. Norovirus can be life threatening for young children, the elderly, and those with other health conditions. And it’s clearly not the only virus that could survive in to your carpets. In fact, contaminated textiles throughout your home can help sickness spread. We are actually exposed to such microorganisms on a regular basis. The problem is that our homes too often foster their growth. Then, our immune systems are eventually overtaken through repeated exposure. Fortunately, the solution is simple. And no, you don’t have to burn your house down.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT CARPET CONTAMINANTS?
Seems simple but you must keep them clean. While regular vacuuming is a great first step, professional deep cleaning is a must. Household vacuums don’t have the power to pull debris from below the surface. Even dry vacuuming from a professional probably won’t be enough. But don’t just take it from us. We’re only agreeing with the Huffington Post. In our opinion, regular professional carpet cleaning is one of the most powerful ways to keep your family well.
You might think about it like this:
Deep cleaning your carpet will remove thousands of times more germs from your home than cleaning your bathroom. This includes some of the most likely to cause illness. A professional cleaner has a variety of techniques to deal with embedded carpet contaminants. In addition to fighting sickness, this also helps your carpets last. In fact, most carpet warranties mandate professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months. Pause and think why this might be.
You may have recently moved into your home. Or, you may have been living in the same place for 20 years. Either way, it’s a good time to start keeping a regular schedule of professional carpet cleaning. Better yet, choose a certified Senior Carpet Inspector who can better identify what you need. No matter who you choose, professional deep cleaning will benefit you and your family in the long run.
If you live in the Chicago metropolitan and suburban areas and are looking for someone to rid your home of it’s tiny invaders, look no Further than Wiz Team, Inc. Call us at (847)526-6060. Leave questions or comments below. And please, like and share this post so that others might consider what unseen dangers may lie beneath their feet.