Critters Beneath The Pile
Written by Clint Thorpe
Carpeting is undeniably the softest, most comfortable type of flooring. It muffles sound, insulates your room from temperature swings, and in most cases is one of your home’s most expensive assets. But that plush pile could be hiding a dark side. The very thing that makes carpeting so wonderful – all those thick twists of the carpeted pile – is also what makes it the perfect home for a wide variety of organisms and debris that you would rather not think about, but really should be.
Here are 7 of the most common contaminants that may be living right under your feet.
In a study published by Scientific Reports, it was found that carpeted homes had a greater variety of insects compared to non-carpeted homes. Researchers in the study, theorized, however, that most of these insects didn’t live in the carpeting. Instead, once inside your home, many got caught in the carpet pile and perished, turning your carpets into a plush insect cemetery.
Create a vacuum schedule and vacuum all carpeted areas at least weekly to remove bugs and other debris.
Carpeting soaks up liquid far quicker than you can blot a spill dry. Spilled food and drinks tend to wick deep into the carpet fibers where they become a breeding ground for various types of mould. Not only is mould a culprit for nasty stains and odours, but mould spores are the most common cause of indoor allergies.
Always blot a spill as quickly as possible, and then follow up with an enzyme cleaner (link to odour eliminator) to break down and remove food residue that organisms feed off.
3. Skin Flakes
Humans, on average, shed around 1.5 million skin flakes each day. Multiply that by the number of people in your home and then consider that those flakes must settle somewhere. “Somewhere” is generally the floor, where the flakes wedge between carpet fibers. This alone is enough to turn most people off their lunch but what is worse is that these skin flakes become dinner for dust mites. Dust mite waste is a common cause of indoor allergies.
Vacuum regularly and do not rush. 15 minutes of slow vacuuming can remove up to 83% of the debris living in your carpet. Make sure you deep clean your carpets and upholstery at least once a year. This number will increase for pet owners, parents, and allergy sufferers.
Spring is in the air and with it comes a lucky packet of pollen from every flowering plant in your neighbourhood. Pollen is everywhere and is an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Pollen is a year-round problem and easily enters your home through open windows and doors as well as on your clothing. That’s not good, especially because pollen is a common cause of hay fever and asthma flareups.
Vacuum at least once a week and more often if you have windows constantly open or if you have an allergy sufferer in the house.
5. Dog Droppings
Even if you don’t own a dog, chances are that your carpet contains microscopic bits of animal droppings. Take your child for a walk, stroll down the road to grab bread or milk, step into the gutter as you get out of your car – all day long, your shoes are picking up residue from animal waste to other contaminants.
Leave your “outdoor” shoes at the front door and change into a pair of indoor-only slippers.
According to The Healthy carpets can contain a shocking 31000 bacteria per square centimeter. To put that into perspective, that’s more than your toilet seat! While the large majority of these are harmless, others, including E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus can cause digestive upset, skin infections, respiratory illness, or allergic reactions.
Combine regular vacuuming and deep carpet cleaning with your cleaning schedule. Deep cleaning your carpets should be done at least once a year, more if you suffer from any of the above.
Your carpets can harbor a whole lot of dirt. There are potentially several kilograms of it spread through your home. Most of this dirt is tracked in on shoes or feet and fur of your pets. Although some blows in through open doors and windows. Once the dirt gets into the carpet, it can create stains and increase the populations of bacteria, mould, and bugs.
Place doormats at all entrances into your home so family and visitors can wipe their shoes before coming into your home.