Despite its svelte appearance, carpet frequently bears bacteria, dust, allergens, and other perilous toxins that affect indoor air quality and could potentially make you sick.
It’s luxurious, it’s convenient, and it’s affordable. But if you’ve found yourself suffering from asthma or allergy related health problems as of lately – your carpet could be to blame. You spend countless hours vacuuming, swapping out air filters, and striving to keep allergens at bay, but your prudent efforts seem to be in vain. Chances are, when you wake up and make the trek across your house or apartment each morning, you don’t think twice about what’s hiding beneath the carpet. The reality is that many are unaware of the significant role carpet plays in determining the quality of indoor air, and ultimately lack knowledge of how to properly clean and maintain their carpet.
Carpet Harbors Pollutants
If you’ve recently moved into a new home with preexisting carpet, there’s no telling what pollutants are lying beneath you. Some of the most common types of impurities found in carpet include dust mites, particle pollution, pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, and dirt. Common household cleaners and pesticides can contribute to poor indoor air quality, even when used sparingly. Water damage left untreated causes the growth of mold spores and mildew, both of which have a tendency to nestle deep into carpet, making them increasingly difficult to eradicate. Such toxins can become airborne during renovations and vacuuming, but can also be triggered by ordinary daily activities, like walking or sitting.
New carpeting poses a threat to indoor air quality, as well. Many chemicals and adhesive glues utilized to install carpet contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which release harmful odors and pollutants into your home. Scores of people find themselves experiencing health problems after the installation of new carpet in their home, but these side effects can greatly be reduced by choosing carpet that releases fewer VOC emissions. Albeit there are several non-toxic carpet alternatives currently on the market, you’ll find yourself paying a substantial amount more for these. There are several key steps one is advised to take when installing new carpet:
• Prior to the installation process, ask that the carpet be unraveled and aired out either outdoors or in a well-ventilated warehouse.
• Make sure you are out of your home for the duration of the procedure. Most would recommend that you vacate the home for a minimum of 72 hours after installation. If you must stay in the home, keep windows open and employ fans and/or an air conditioner for at least three days post installation.
• Confirm that carpets are installed in accordance with proper standards and verify that you will be able to remove the carpet at a later time without the use of toxic chemicals.
• Adhere to instructions for cleaning and maintaining your carpet in the future to remove pollutants and allergens.
While carpet has been around for centuries and is the preferred flooring choice of millions of Americans, it’s certainly not without its pitfalls.
Poor Air Quality Causes Health Problems
Many of us spend the majority of our time indoors, yet we seldom reflect on how this might be negatively affecting us. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, inside air is two to five times more polluted than air found outdoors, deeming it one of the top five environmental risks to public health. There are several common symptoms that can be associated with poor indoor air quality due to pollutants:
• Stuffy or runny nose
• Skin irritation
• Recurrent headaches
• Itchy, irritated eyes
• Shortness of breath
Furthermore, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) can aggravate existing conditions like allergies, asthma, and other types of sensitivities. The deeper the pollutants lie in your carpet – the worse your symptoms may become. While proper treatment and maintenance of your carpet are paramount to keeping these symptoms under control, it’s always a good idea to visit your primary doctor for a thorough diagnosis.
A Viable Solution
For the aforementioned reasons, it’s crucial that you stay on top of carpet maintenance. If you opt to do it yourself, it’s best to vacuum the entirety of your flooring on a weekly basis. Make sure you are using a high-quality vacuum that is equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. Should you choose to hire a professional carpet cleaning company, you should always first verify that they are IICRC certified. If possible, kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers should remain carpet free in order to prevent mold growth in areas that water is prevalent. Keeping humidity levels below 51 percent will reduce the occurrence of dust mites, and making sure the home is well ventilated can help improve air quality vastly. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your carpet not only improves the appearance, but ensures that you and your loved ones are living in a safe and healthy environment. For more information on what we can do for you, visit our services (link here) page.