Carpet, although comfortable, can provide the ideal home for dirt, dust mites, molds and pesticide residues. Pesticide? Really? That’s right. Pesticide residues are brought into our homes from our shoes and represent one of the most harmful perpetrators of indoor air pollution.
Carpeting is also difficult to thoroughly clean because it’s part of a much larger system. Underneath the carpeting are backing, underlay and glues securing it to the floor. Additionally, synthetic carpeting systems that use nylon or polyester fiber can contain toxic chemicals derived from petroleum.
VOCs – or volatile organic chemicals – that settle into our carpeting can evaporate and get into the air we breathe. VOCs are also commonly emitted from many cleaners, pesticides, paints, sealants and pressed woods. Ultimately, VOCs are heavier than air and will eventually settle back into the carpeting along with dust and soot that’s tracked or blown indoors. Children often get the worst of this through playing on the carpeting.
The antidote to all the meddlesome things that eventually destroy our carpeting is vigilant cleaning, using steam machines and carpet shampoo. Vacuuming takes care of a good portion of the dust but is more of a topical rather than deep cleaning method, and needs to be backed up with more thorough methods.
If you want a cleaner, healthier home, the best practice is to get rid of carpeting altogether in favor of hard surfaces such as wood or tile. To soften it up, try throw or area rugs that are much easier to keep clean and also a great way to add beauty and comfort.