Humans are easily fooled by appearances.
This is true when it comes to the state of our carpets. We notice stains and smells, sure. But our 5 senses only tell us a small part of the story. If you had the slightest idea the kind of nasty things are that living in your carpet, you would be probably be calling a professional carpet cleaning company right now! Here are four fascinatingly disgusting truths about your floor coverings:
Warning: Continue reading at your own risk. This information cannot be unlearned.
- Carpet can hold up to 4 times its weight in dirt and debris. Let that sink in. Oh wait… it already did! (A little humor to reduce the shock).
Dirt and whatever else gets tracked into your home often settles into the depths of your carpet. Over time, this accumulation can outweigh your carpet itself. Hidden well below the surface, few would ever expect this. You’ve heard that mattresses double in weight every 8 years and should be replaced…how often do you replace your carpet?
- 75% of people walk on carpet with dirty shoes.This one shouldn’t surprise you at all. Just don’t let that expectation make you numb to it–it’s pretty gross when you think about it. Not only do you carpets end up holding what your family brings in, but they also capture what your guests bring in. And what their guests brought into their home before yours. Dealing with your own dirt is one thing, but living with the dirt of every person that enters your home is just…ewwwww.
- Indoor air quality is typically 8-10 times worse than outdoor air quality.
This one always seems to surprise, as most people stay inside when their allergies and cold symptoms flare up, blaming outside irritants. Textiles in your home absorb an array of contaminants. This includes both living (germs) and non-living irritants (dirt and dust). Every step you take on a dirty carpet sends invisible clouds of nasty debris into the air. Dirtier carpets means dirtier air.
- Carpet can hold up to 200,000 bacterial PER SQUARE INCH.That is about 4000 times more than your toilet. No joke. You wouldn’t THINK about hanging out with guests in your bathroom, or letting your toddler play in the toilet–but how much time do we spend with family and friends in the carpeted areas of our home?
Every carpet is unique. But maintenance schedule is more important than the material or length of the fibers. The longer you allow your carpets to go uncleaned, the more unclean they become—putting your family and guests in increasing harm.
So, what’s weighing down your carpet and possible making you and your family sick? Your carpet is essentially one big sponge, absorbing organic matter all day, every day. Here’s a list of the usual suspects:
- 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 smell to go along with it.
The longer you neglect it, the worse it gets. But that’s not the true problem.
The problem is all the things that feed on the rotting organic matter. Those are the things that get you and your family sick. Here’s a quick rundown:
- 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.
- 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.
- Mold is hard to detect without an expert. It is rarely visible, lurking in the far reaches 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 health.
- Allergens produced by mold affect people in different ways. Reactions and severity may be different. But generally, allergic mold reactions are limited to symptoms like 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 can be a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. And 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.
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. 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.
Here’s what to do about it:
Fortunately, the solution is simple. And no, you don’t have to burn your house down (Put DOWN the matches and walk away slowly). You don’t even have to rip out all the carpeting in your house. You just have to keep it 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.
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 an experienced professional from Brody’s Dry Professional Carpet Cleaning 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. And it will definitely help you sleep better at night. Ready to give your family a healthier, safer home? Give Brody’s Dry Professional Carpet Cleaning a ring at (816) 895-7000 or just click HERE to schedule your free consultation.