Most homes have carpet somewhere in them. It’s particularly common in bedrooms or living rooms, but is often found throughout the home. Carpet usually adds comfort, cosiness, warmth and colour to a house and is a great choice of flooring. However, very old carpets, especially those that aren’t cared for properly, can cause problems to your health. This post explains what these health problems are, where they come from and what you can do about it.
Dirty carpet is the leading reason why carpets can be bad for your health. Accumulated dirt not only holds bacteria, but encourages it to grow. Mould and diseases can be in a carpet without you even knowing it.
Dust mites make their home in carpets, particularly dirty ones. They feed off dead skin cells, bacteria and fungi that are found in unclean carpets. If your carpet is old, it will have a lot more of these substances accumulated in it, meaning the perfect nest for dust mites. Dust mites can cause allergies, sneezing, blocked nose and other symptoms. When dust mites are dead, they are equally unpleasant. They can be breathed in and cause irritation to your nasal passageways and breathing.
Dirty carpets, as well as old carpets, will be dusty. Dust is the enemy of asthma as it can cause a person with asthma’s airways to close in a response to the allergen.
Damp carpets also vastly increase the risk of someone having an asthma attack in the home,
Fungi loves dirty and damp carpets. It’s the perfect environment in which harmful fungal life can grow and develop. There are hundreds of different types of fungi that could grow in an old carpet. The spores can be carried into a room through an open window or on people that come into your home (on shoes or simply falling from clothing). If the spore is removed through hoovering or cleaning then there’s no harm done, but in an old carpet, it can become trapped. The damp and dirty environment enables it to flourish with all the nutrients it needs.
The health problems from this are varied according to the type of fungus. As people move through the room, the microbes are stirred into the air. They can be inhaled, causing respiratory problems or irritations. Cuts on the feet can become infected, leading to issues such as athletes foot, ringworm or more.
One of the most well-known and harmful affects of fungi is mycotoxins. These are generated by different kinds of mould. The mycotoxins can cause stomach infections and weak immune systems. In extreme cases, they can even lead to death.
Old carpet not only accumulates much more dirt from the years of use that new carpets will have done, but it’s also much harder to clean. There comes a point where no amount of hoovering will completely remove the dirt that has built up. You can hire professional cleaners, but this often causes more problems down the line. Carpets that have been cleaned with chemicals often attract more dirt. It’s a solution that only works temporarily. Professional cleaning can also only do so much. Carpets that have seen heavy traffic for decades won’t be easily fixed even with professionals.
Sometimes, the only solution is to replace your old carpet with a new one. A new carpet will be free from germs and built up dirt, will be easier to clean and maintain. Not only that, but you get to spruce up your home in the process!
Don’t let an old and dirty carpet hurt your health!