Do Carpets Help Keep Your Home Clean or Do They Make It Worse?
The answer is both. Carpets and rugs can act as air filters, trapping dirt and allergens and preventing them from circulating freely in the air. (That’s in contrast to hard surfaces, on which dirt and dust and other unhealthy particles can settle but are easily stirred back up into the air once there is activity in the room.) This means that carpets can actually improve your indoor air quality.
The problem is that every air filter hits its breaking point. When carpets can’t act as air filters anymore due to dirt and dust build-up, then they allow particles back into the air and they become a breeding ground for bacteria and allergens.
So the real answer is this: Clean carpets help keep your home healthy and clean.
- According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, carpet and rugs account for 65% of floor coverings in the United States.
- Carpets accumulate dust and dirt at approximately 5-25 grams per square meter of surface area. 
- A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study found that when bedroom floors were at least 50% carpeted, cockroach allergen concentrations were lower than bedrooms with less than 50% carpet.
- The same study found that other allergens were as much as 25% lower on carpeted floors than smooth, hard floors.
- Up to 30% of adults and 40% of kids suffer from allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies)
- There are 6 or more allergens present in the majority of homes.
According to a national survey:
- Pet dander can get collected in carpets and upholstery.
- Over 55% of homes were found to have high enough levels of pet dander to trigger allergies.
- 35% of homes had levels high enough to trigger an asthma attack.
- Beyond the dander and the implications for allergy sufferers, pet urine is another pet owner nuisance – and it can also be a health risk.
Facts About Bacteria in the Home
Research by NSF International in 2011 showed that your kitchen actually has the most germs. They tested numerous household items to measure contamination levels of the most common forms of bacteria and germs, as well as yeast and mold. Some things they found include:
- 81% of households tested had Coliform bacteria present in detectable levels (a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli, which is an indicator of fecal contamination).
- 31% of these households had yeast and mold present.
- 45% of kitchen sinks tested had detectable amounts of Coliform bacteria.
- 32% of kitchen countertops had detectible amounts of Coliform bacteria.
- Only 9% of bathroom faucet handles had detectible amounts of bacteria.
Stay safe out there and make sure your home is clean and healthy! Call us anytime at John’s Chem-Dry of Whatcom County and we’ll be there to help you eliminate allergens and bacteria in your home!
National Center for Healthy Housing – http://www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/CarpetsHealthyHomes.pdf
National Survey of Lead & Allergens in Housing, by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) & U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15241352
NSF International – http://www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/studies-articles/germ-studies/germiest-items-home