Your Carpet Is A Lot Dirtier Than You Think

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When most people think about cleaning their carpets, they think about removing dirt and perhaps pet hair that has built up over the last few years or months. There's another important reason to clean your carpet: to remove potentially harmful bacteria. That's right – the same bacteria you spend hours meticulously removing from bathroom floors, countertops and sinks is also found in your carpet. In fact, the average carpet has as many as 200,000 bacteria per square inch.

How do bacteria end up in your carpet?

Bacteria are introduced to your carpet every time you walk across it in dirty shoes, let your pet lay on it, or even touch it with your hands. Yes, even clean hands are home to some bacteria, and they wipe off easily onto the carpet. Many bacteria are spread through fecal contamination. While it may seem unlikely that fecal particles would end up on your carpet, keep in mind that tiny particles are released into the air every time you flush the toilet. It's virtually impossible to avoid introducing bacteria to your carpet because they literally are everywhere.

What species of bacteria are commonly found in carpets?

There are likely hundreds of species of bacteria on your carpet, but most are harmless. However, a few species of bacteria commonly found in carpets can cause disease. These include:

  • Salmonella, which can cause abdominal cramping and are commonly transferred to the carpet from the feces of pets and humans.
  • Staphylococcus aureus, which live on the skin and can cause pimples, boils and infections of the blood.
  • E. coli, some strains of which can cause urinary tract infections, intestinal illness and pneumonia, and are commonly carried found in the feces of pets and humans.

How can you remove bacteria from your carpet?

The best ways to keep bacterial levels on your carpet under control is to have it professionally steam-cleaned at least once, if not twice, per year. The high temperature of steam cleaning kills bacteria, leaving your home a much healthier place. Also, reduce bacterial buildup on carpets by not wearing shoes indoors, and by bathing your pets regularly. Remember that even if a carpet looks clean, it probably does have some degree of bacterial buildup. Don't eat anything you drop on the carpet, and wash your hands well after touching your carpet.

Carpets are harder to clean than countertops and smooth floors, so they tend to be dirtier overall. However, this is not a reason to neglect them. Have your carpets cleaned regularly by a company like Ringstad Carpet Cleaning & Restoration, and while they may not be completely bacteria-free, they'll have lower levels of bacteria and be less likely to contribute to an infection.