What is Lurking in Your Carpet: Why Hardwood and Tile May be Healthier

Sinking your feet into a luxurious, thick carpet is a wonderful feeling. However, you may not savor this sensation nearly as much if you knew how much bacteria might be breeding just below your feet.

An independent study of carpets across Britain performed by the cleaning machine manufacturer, Rug Doctor, revealed some nasty results. Many carpets were found to contain “dangerously high levels” of bacteria including Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Shigella. The carpets were also found to contain dust mites, food debris, pollen, human and pet hair, and traces of skin and human feces.

A survey of British carpet cleaning habits found that over four in ten people had never deep cleaned their carpets. Vacuuming alone will not destroy harmful bacteria such as Salmonella.

A US study by Rug Doctor, entitled the ‘Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaning Conundrum,’ found that the carpet cleaning habits of Americans were also insufficient. Rug Doctor rental brand manager and spokesperson said:

“Data reveals 84 percent of Americans know that having a clean carpet is a necessity to having a clean home. But the data also shows that only 55 percent of US consumers clean carpets as frequently as the EPA suggests – every six months… consumers know that a clean carpet is important, but they aren’t necessarily doing anything about it.”

This study also found that one square foot of carpet can hold one pound of dirt. One of the biggest things we do to bring bacteria into our carpets is failing to remove our shoes at the door. Research by University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba found that 93 percent of the shoes that he analyzed contained fecal bacteria.

If you want to remove dangerous bacteria and other pollutants from your carpet, you essentially have two choices: steam cleaning and chemical cleaning. Steam cleaning can successfully remove about 97 percent of dirt from your carpets, and you can use vinegar and water instead of chemical solutions if you choose to steam clean yourself. However, if you only do it once every six months, a large amount of bacteria could flourish on your carpets in between cleaning.

Chemical cleaning can leave dangerous residues on your carpet, which can be especially hazardous for children and pets.

If you don’t want to frequently steam clean your carpets, which can be quite a back-breaking job, especially if you have a lot of carpeting in your home, it may be a healthier choice to switch to hardwood or tile flooring. These can be easily mopped with much less effort, and you can skip the chemical cleaners in favor of simple-to-make home cleaners.

carpetsTo make a natural vinyl flooring cleaning solution, simply combine one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of warm water, and mix in a bucket before using to mop. For hardwood floors, mix half a cup of vinegar with the same gallon of warm water before you mop. Make sure that the wood does not get too wet, and towel dry after mopping.

For bathrooms or extremely dirty jobs, simply mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a gallon of water, and mop as usual.

If you love your carpets, there are ways to safely keep them clean. However, you might have to get used to frequent steam cleaning if you want to keep the bacteria at bay.

-The Alternative Daily


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