Decorating your home is a very personal endeavor, and some people prefer the cozy, warm look of carpeting over sleek laminate, tile, or hardwood floors. However, there is a substantial health-related downside to luxurious carpeting. A new study by HomeAdvisor.com found some startling statistics about the germs that it harbors. Among the findings were that the average carpet has:
• 30.2 times more germs than a refrigerator handle
• 16.4 times more germs than a cellphone
• 5.7 times more germs than a toilet seat
The American Lung Association does not recommend carpets. “Carpets may trap pollutants like dust mites, pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, mold spores, pesticides, dust and dirt,” says the association. “Toxic gases in the air can stick to small particles that settle into carpets.”
According to HomeAdvisor.com, while the carpet samples they tested were full of pathogens, skin cells and fungal spores, about one in four people surveyed said they would eat food that fell on the floor with little to no hesitation, regardless of whether the floor was carpeted.
Even worse, on average, people said that it had been at least 15 months since they had their carpets shampooed or steam cleaned. The American Lung Association recommends vacuuming every three days, but the survey found that some homeowners reported going 22 days without sweeping or vacuuming their carpeted bedrooms floors. Men scored slightly worse than women, admitting they didn’t vacuum for 24 days.
“Keeping a clean home is more than just aesthetically pleasing, it’s important to ensure good air quality and to minimize the risk of getting sick,” Mallory Micetich, an expert at HomeAdvisor.com, told Newsmax. “More than just dirt and hair, 95% of the germs in carpets are bacteria, which can lead to serious infection and illness. These bacteria are easily ignored and forgotten, considering ultimately we cannot see them.”
Micetich said there are many ways to reduce the buildup of germs in our homes.
“Prevention is important,” she says. “Leave your shoes by the front door when you come in from outside rather than walking around the house with them. Regular carpet cleaning and maintenance are vital. Routine vacuuming and deep cleaning will help remove what bacteria do come inside and help prevent future problems.”
When choosing new flooring, Micetich recommends easy-to-clean options in high traffic areas such as the hallway, entryway, and kitchen.
“These are great places to use materials like wood and tile that are easier to keep clean than carpets,” she said.
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