Your home’s carpet might not be something you think much about, but if you have family members walking, sitting, playing, and spending time on carpet, it’s important to know what might be hiding in those little carpet fibers. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that your home’s indoor air can actually harbor a lot more contaminants than the air outside, and when you walk around in public places such as grocery stores, schools, workplaces, and malls you can track all sorts of things back into your house on the bottom of your feet. Here are some of the most common contaminants you might find in that carpet.
Dust mites are microscopic creates, invisible to the naked eye, that live in carpets and upholstery around the house. They leave behind dust mite droppings that can cause a significant reaction in people who are allergic, but even if you don’t notice an obvious respiratory issue or allergy, breathing in dust mites can still be harmful. Children who play on the carpet or babies who lay on the carpet could be breathing in these toxins, causing minor respiratory irritation, and some research has even linked it to asthma.
Manufacturers are not allowed to use lead in materials today, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely gone from our homes. In fact, household dust can carry high lead levels because the chemical still exists in soil and dirt from the days when it was part of the manufacturing process for things like gasoline and paint. Walking around outside and then heading inside can bring traces of lead that find their way into your carpet.
Pesticides and Chemicals
Part of what makes carpet great for walking, sitting, and living is how soft and absorbent it is, but that is also part of what makes carpet attract things like pesticides and chemicals. All the things that are used outside—dirt contaminated with pesticides, bug sprays, paint, and more—are often tracked inside on shoes, feet, and clothing where they settle into the carpet. Eventually they can spread to the air, or be absorbed by blankets, pillows, towels, and clothing on the floor.
Your pets are part of the family, but if you let them inside your home they are bringing all sorts of potential toxins and contaminants. Pet fur that sheds and remains on your carpet and furniture can have all kinds of dirt, soil, chemicals, and even fleas or other bugs that could end up in your carpet. In addition, if your pet isn’t quite house-trained yet, there could be a significant amount of pet excrement in your carpet fibers.
Cleaning up these toxins requires more than just vacuuming every few days or weeks—in many cases you will need professional carpet cleaning to remove the deeply ingrained carpet contaminants that could be most harmful to your family.