Shampooing your carpets (with non-toxic cleaner) regularly, can improve you air quality. I also strongly recommend a ‘no shoe rule’! Why is this? Enforcing a no shoe rule will dramatically decrease the toxins in your home.
Did you know carpeting is actually one of the most powerful natural air filters in your home, trapping dirt and germs from the air. Now, Let’s look at what’s lurking in our carpets.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures. They are one of the major indoor triggers for people with allergies and asthma. Dust mites are nearly everywhere, and they feed on dead human skin cells found in dust.
Pets, shoes, kiddos, etc. bring bacteria into the home. Carpets create perfect homes for growth of bacterial colonies, especially if it’s cleaned infrequently. Typical carpet contains roughly 200,000 bacteria per square inch on average. That makes your carpet more germ packed than your toilet seat!
Carpeting is a magnet for pollen and other allergens. They easily get stuck in the carpet fibers. Seasonal allergens enter the house through the windows and shoes, depositing right into your carpet.
Most carpets are treated with chemicals before they even enter your home. Did you purchase your phone from another family? I wonder what they used on their carpets... Remember my ‘no shoe rule’? It makes sense that chemical traces like herbicides, pesticides, gasoline, etc. have found on the soles of shoes.
I always suggest having your home tested for mold. Ongoing mold exposure is detrimental to your health and well-being. (Blog to come!) People living in humid parts of the world are more likely to have mold in their carpets. The fibers make it possible for mold to develop deep inside the fabric- without any noticeable symptoms.
Animal Hair, Dander, and Feces
Now, I am a huge proponent for pets being in the house. Having pets, like dogs or cats, are very beneficial for overall health and well-being. Fur sheds and it’s often deposited into the carpet and will inevitably get trapped between the fibers. Pets track in bacteria and feces- shampooing regularly for pet owners is a must.
Mud and Dirt
REMOVE YOUR SHOES! Pets, shoes, and kiddos are the main culprits when it comes to mud and dirt hiding in your carpets.
Skin Cell Flakes
Yes, you read that right. This sounds nasty but it’s a normal part of life. It’s estimated that the human your skin makes up about 16% of your body weight, meaning you have roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells. Within 24 hours, you lose almost a million skin cells. These are scattered throughout the home and often deposited in the carpet. Remember, dust mites live on dead human skin cells?
I’m not sure I need to or want to elaborate on all the different bugs that could be (and are) in your carpets.
Alright, alright, I'll stop the list. We’re [now] well aware of how dirty our carpets are. So, what do we do about it? Remove the toxic, expensive carpet cleaner you’ve added to your Amazon cart, Karen!
The whole point of this blog is to reduce chemicals in our homes. Spraying toxic concoctions on our carpets to “clean” them sounds foolish, doesn’t it? These chemicals absorb into our skin and wreak havoc on our bodies. My daughter puts ev-er-y thing in her mouth! I definitely don’t want these “cleaning” chemicals entering her system.
But no worries, there are safe options!
I’m going to share my favorite safe, easy, affordable and effective DIY recipe.
My go to:
1 teaspoon Norwex powder detergent (I've also used Molly's Suds)
1 cup vinegar
Some drops of your favorite essential oil (More or less pending the odor of your carpets.) I personally like lemon grass for a long list of reasons.
Stir in hot water to dissolve.
The vinegar smell will fade once the carpet is dry.
Do you have a favorite recipe?! Please share!
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D