Carpets can trap about 200,000 bacteria per square inch, which is 4,000 times dirtier than the lid of your commode. Take a second to let that sink in.
Even with regular vacuuming and the occasional shampoo, your cleaning routine is no match for nature. In fact, The National Association for Home Builders actually recommends that you replace your carpets every eight to 10 years.
Here are a few things that might be hiding in your carpet:
You are constantly shedding skin cells, which create food for bacteria. And actual food feeds germs too — every time your kid eats on your deep pile rug, those crumbs and smears become a tasty treat for the germs such as staphylococcus, E. coli and the like.
One of the main problems with carpets in your home is how neatly they trap pollen and other allergens within their fibers. The National Center for Healthy Housing said carpets can create a “reservoir of indoor allergens.”
If you have pets in the house, especially long-haired animals, dander definitely poses a problem. It gets trapped in the bottom of the carpet fibers and if your pile is deep and the vacuum is old, the brush may not be getting clear to the bottom.
Another way carpet traps allergens is through your shoes. If you live in a high pollen area, outdoor debris can get tracked inside and settle deep into the fibers of the rug.
To help keep allergens from getting too cozy in your carpet, make sure you're keeping your home void of humidity. Healthline suggests keeping the windows closed and humidity low so the pollen can't get in and then proliferate once it's inside.
Sometimes a spill or leak happens — nobody can prevent every accident from happening. But even the most careful of people can have mold growing in the carpet — even if you think you've dried the carpet well enough. When moisture gets trapped beneath carpet pads, this can combine with trapped allergens to produce “a significantly increased risk of asthma,” according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
But this doesn’t mean your carpets have to go! Weekly dusting of furniture and weekly vacuuming with a good vacuum can keep your carpet from holding onto impurities. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help filter allergens out of the fibers.
Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to hire professional carpet cleaners every year. A professional cleaning can loosen up debris stuck deep, down in the threads of your carpet.