Are Your Carpets Making You Sick?

Keeping carpet clean is a challenge due to the amount of daily foot traffic from both people and pets. However, it’s also necessary to ensure that substances trapped in the carpet don’t make people living in the home sick.

Carpet Can Hold Up to Four Times its Weight

The carpet in any type of home is the catch-all for many substances, including the following:

  • Bacteria
  • Dead skin cells
  • Dirt
  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Insect feces
  • Mold
  • Organic compounds
  • Pet hair
  • Pet urine

Unfortunately, vacuuming carpets once or twice a week is not enough to keep these substances away for good. People should also make a point to have their rugs professionally cleaned regularly to remove these substances from deep within the carpet fibers.

People with asthma or allergies often do not realize that the key to feeling better is either to remove their carpet or to invest in professional cleaning. Carpets can quickly become overrun with the droppings of dust mites that cause asthma or allergy flare-ups due to protein contained within them.

Chemicals Used to Manufacture Carpet Can Impact Health

Some carpet manufacturers use chemicals or adhesives when producing new carpets or carpet pads that make some people sick. The reason people become ill is because they have a sensitivity to volatile organic compounds that produce pollutants and strong odors.

These compounds are especially harmful for infants in their first year of life. Additionally, they’ve been associated with coughing and wheezing symptoms.

Recommendations from the American Lung Association

The best solution for people with respiratory sensitivities is to live in a home with hardwood floors and throw rugs they can clean outside. When this is not possible, the next best thing is to vacuum carpets three times a week.

Vacuuming should be done with equipment that contains a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. However, keep in mind that vacuuming can disrupt particles that had settled into the carpet and cause symptoms to worsen rather than improve.

According to the American Lung Association, everyone should deep clean their carpets once a year whether they struggle with asthma or allergies or not. Carpets should be steam dried to prevent moisture from developing into mold or mildew.

Disposing of Unwanted Carpet

People who decide to replace carpet for health reasons or just for a style change should not just throw it in their regular trashcan. Discarded carpet made from oil can sit in landfills for decades, causing dangerous chemicals to seep into the ground as they slowly disintegrate.

Burning carpet instead of throwing it away causes problems of its own. People living near the location where the carpet burned can inhale dioxin, mercury, or lead, leading to a host of health problems. Some of these include pulmonary disease, asthma, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

People who do not have any ideas to reuse the carpet can find a carpet recycling company by checking with the organization Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). Since carpet recycling companies are not in every community, another solution is to hire a junk hauler to take the carpet away. Junk haulers have many contacts within the community and will try to find another organization to take the carpet if they are unable to recycle it.