Bacteria in Rugs and Your Health – Why Cleaning Your Rug is Important

There is nothing like the feeling of waking up in the morning to feel a soft, plush rug under your feet. In fact, a home’s rug (especially oriental rugs) are treasured. Your rug is where your children – or maybe even you! – play videogames and watch TV. But without regular cleaning, your rug will quickly turn into an incubator for unwanted guests in your home. Dirty rugs are germ breeding farms, allowing bacteria, bugs and even viruses to find a home. And many of these can be very stubborn to remove.

With your rug as a focal point of your home, it can be hard to avoid exposure to germs. To protect those with weak immune systems, you need to ensure your rug is clean. Today we are going to discuss bacteria in rugs, and other nasties, and how they can affect your health. We will also discuss how you can help beat these contagions into submission.

Bacteria in Rugs

Did you know that there are roughly 200,000 bacteria per square inch of your rug? This makes your rug 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. This is due to the fact that toilet seats are smooth, sealed and are regularly cleaned. rugs, however, often wait years between cleanings. Bacteria and viruses can live up to two or more weeks in a rug or carpet – which means you definitely shouldn’t be eating anything that falls on them. Your rug can harbour a wide range of nasty bacteria and viruses including:

  • Norovirus – responsible for flu and stomach issues, norovirus can live up to 12 days in a rug
  • Clampylobacter – this bacteria threatens the immune system, causing diarrhea, cramps, pain and fever
  • Micrococcus – causes skin infections and even meningitis which can be fatal
  • Enterococci – causes urinary tract infections, diverticulitis and meningitis

Fungi and mould can also grow in your rug, causing a range of health issues, as well as affecting those with allergies. There are many other viruses and bacteria that can live in rugs, that you need to watch out for. As a result, it is important to get your rug regularly cleaned by a professional.

Rugs Can Hold an Enormous Amount of Dirt

Did you know that your rug can hold up to a kilogram of dirt before it even begins to look dirty? This dirt is the build up of pet dander, food crumbs, pollen, dirt off your shoes, and millions of dead skin cells shed every hour by each person in your home. Your rug can also carry other nasty things including:

  • Dead insects
  • Dust
  • Embedded dirt
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Bacteria
  • Grease
  • Pesticides
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Mould spores
  • Fungi
  • Moths and moth larvae
  • Viruses

This is why we recommend regularly cleaning your rugs, especially if the rug is in a high traffic areas.

Dirty Rugs, Dust, Allergens and Dust Mites

Dust mites love dirty rugs. In fact, 2,000 mites can survive on a milligram of dust. The reason they are so fond of rugs, is that it is a protected environment. Other items in your home are cleaned often, while a rug can sit in the same place for years without cleaning or even rotating. Because rugs aren’t cleaned or moved enough, they become allergen reservoirs, creating the perfect home for dust mites as well as other bugs, including moths. It is important to protect those in your home with allergies, especially dust mite allergies.

Rugs tend to act as a giant air filter in the home, trapping dirt, pollutants, dust and germs. Dirty rugs can contribute to respiratory issues and wheezing. And while some sniffles and coughing aren’t always life threatening, those with compromised immune systems, chronic illnesses, the elderly, and those with allergies can be at risk of becoming very sick.

Why Vacuuming Alone Isn’t Enough

While vacuuming alone, regularly, is fine, it is not enough to extract all the dirt and germs from your rug fibers. While we recommend you vacuum weekly, at the very least, you also need to have your rug professionally cleaned every 6 months to a year. We recommend every 6 months for rugs in high traffic areas like hallways and children’s rooms, while other rooms, like dining rooms, can wait a year between cleaning. However, if your rug has something spilled on it, you should have it cleaned right away.

At home rug cleaning is also not recommended. While it might seem convenient, at home cleaning cannot properly dry out your rug, leaving behind surface water and moisture which is a breeding ground for fungi, mould, bacteria and worse. It also can’t remove all allergens responsible for health problems and allergic reactions.

How To Clean a Rug

Good Practices to Guard Against Bacteria in Rugs

You should make a habit of removing your shoes before entering your home, to stop from tracking dirt, allergens and bacteria into your rug fibres. You should also regularly vacuum, at least once a week, if not more, with your rug being cleaned at least once a year or more. If your rug is in a high traffic area, you need to have it cleaned at least every 6 months.

If your rug is stained from food, drinks or if your pet has an accident, you need to have it cleaned immediately. Pet urine, especially, can not only cause terrible smells in the home, it can burn away at the fibres and cause dye run. Any spills or urine should be carefully blotted (do not rub the fibres or you can damage them and drive the stain in deeper) before organising a professional clean for your rug.

Does your rug need some tender love and care? Is dirt building up, now, with more people working from home? Contact the team at Woods Rug Laundry today to organise your professional rug cleaning service.