Health Hazard: Understanding the Dangers of Dirty Carpets

Carpets provide many benefits. They keep floors warm on cold winter mornings and are the perfect spots for children to lay down to watch a movie. But did you know your carpets could also be a health hazard?

Many people are unaware of just how hazardous their carpets could be. Continue reading to learn why.

Carpets Can Hold a Lot of Dirt

Some experts claim carpets can hold up to four times their weight in dirt. This means that eventually, the dirt trapped in the carpet will vastly outweigh the carpet itself.

Carpets Can Hold Excessive Amounts of Allergens

People with allergies need to be aware their carpets could be trapping allergens in their environment. Obvious culprits include pet dander and dust mites. But carpets can also hold onto pollen brought inside, cigarette smoke, and much more.

Carpets Can Hold Bacteria and Viruses

Carpets can hold bacteria and viruses for varying amounts of time. While these contagions live on your carpet, they have the potential to infect (or re-infect) any member of your family. Children, who spend time on carpets most often, are most at risk for picking up these germs.

But just how long will your carpet hold bacteria and viruses? It depends on the type. Here’s how long common contagions can live on soft surfaces like your carpet:

  • Salmonella – between one and four hours
  • Campylobacter – between one and four hours
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) – around six hours
  • Flu viruses – around one day
  • Cold viruses – between one and seven days
  • Herpesviruses – between one and seven days
  • HIV – about a week (when spread through blood contamination)
  • Coronaviruses – days to weeks
  • Norovirus – days to weeks
  • MRSA – days to weeks
  • C. dificile (a bacteria responsible for some stomach bugs) – as long as five months
  • E. Coli – sometimes for months

Many of these contagions can last months and cause serious health issues. The longest-lasting bacteria include those inducing the “stomach flu,” which can lead to dehydration and other serious problems.

Dirty Carpet Preventative Tips

Regular cleaning can help reduce how long dirt, bacteria, viruses, and allergens live in your carpet. Here are a few dirty carpet preventative tips to help you keep your loved ones safe:

  • Use a professional carpet cleaning company (like SBA Janitorial INC.) at least once a year
  • Vacuum daily
  • Don’t wear shoes inside the house
  • Mop up spills and stains immediately
  • Vacuum in two different directions to bring up the most dirt
  • Use a lint roller or specialty vacuum to get up excess pet hair

More Questions About the Dangers of Dirty Carpets?

Dirty carpets can be home to severe health hazards. Bacteria, viruses, allergens, and dirt can make themselves at home inside the carpet fibers. Keeping your carpets clean using the tips above can help reduce the number of these things in your home.

Do you have more questions about the dangers of dirty carpets?

Check out our other posts. You’ll find articles on health and cleaning to help you dive deeper into the subject matter.


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