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Reducing Allergens and Germs in Oriental Rugs and Carpeting

There is nothing like the feeling of a plush rug under your feet or the beauty of an Oriental or Persian rug as the focal point in a room.  Your rug is where you or maybe even your children or grandchildren play videogames, enjoy your pets or watch TV. But without regular cleaning, your cherished area rug will quickly turn into an incubator for unwanted guests in your home. Dirty rugs are germ breeding farms, allowing bacteria, insects, and even viruses to find a place to multiply. And many of these can be very stubborn to remove.

Due to the inherent nature of natural and synthetic fibers found in wall to wall and wool or silk area rugs, it can be hard to avoid exposure to germs. To protect those with weak immune systems, you need to ensure that your area rugs and carpeting are regularly cleaned.

In this blog, we will discuss bacteria and other nasties commonly found in rugs and how they can affect your health.

Bacteria in Area Rugs

Did you know that roughly 200,000 bacteria per square inch can be found in area rugs and wall to wall carpeting? This makes these surfaces 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. This is because toilet seats are smooth, sealed, and are regularly cleaned. Rugs and carpeting, 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 and any young children definitely shouldn’t be eating anything that falls on them. Your rug can harbor 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

Campylobacter – 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 mold can also grow in your rug, causing a range of health issues, thereby affecting those with allergies. Other viruses, contaminates, and bacteria can live in carpets (pet dander, dandruff, bed bugs, fleas, dried spills, and pet urine) that you also need to watch out for. As a result, it is crucial to get your rug regularly cleaned by a rug cleaning professional.

Rugs Can Hold an Enormous Amount of Dirt

Did you know that your rug can hold up to two pounds of dirt before it begins to look dirty? This dirt is the buildup of pet dander, food crumbs, pollen, dirt off your shoes, and millions of dead skin cells shed 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
  • Mold spores
  • Fungi
  • Moths and moth larvae
  • Viruses – Including the Coronavirus

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

Dirty Rugs, Dust, Allergens, and Dust Mites

Dust mites love dirty rugs, mattresses, and carpeting. In fact, 2,000 mites can survive on a milligram of dust. They are so fond of rugs and mattresses because these surfaces are a “protected environment.” Other items in your home are cleaned often, while an area rug, carpeting, and mattresses can sit in the same place for years without cleaning or even rotating. Because these surfaces aren’t cleaned or moved enough (When’s the last time you had your mattress professionally cleaned?), they become allergen reservoirs, creating the perfect home for dust mites as well as other insects, including moths. It is essential 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 carpets can contribute to respiratory issues, including coughing, runny eyes, 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, body and pet oils, 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 on the manufacturers recommended cleaning cycle (typically every 12-18 months).   Of course, if your pet has an accident or you spill food or drink on your carpeting, these spotting issues should be dealt with right away to prevent permanent staining.

Oriental Rug Salon is a professional Oriental, Persian, Turkish, Kilim, wool, and silk area rug cleaning company serving all of SW Florida.  We are an internationally Certified Service Provider recognized by the prestigious WoolSafe Organization.  We are also certified by the International Carpet & Rug Institute and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

Keeping your area rug clean will ensure they are cherished for generations to come, in addition to improving indoor air quality.

For more information about Oriental Rug Salon’s thoroughly exhaustive hand-washing of Oriental, Persian, Turkish, and all other wool and silk area rugs, please visit us online at www.OrientalRugSalon.com or “call us on the carpet” anytime at 239-424-8171.

Oriental Rug Salon services all of SW Florida, including Lee, Collier, and Charlotte County, and we provide Oriental and Persian rug cleaning services, Oriental Rug appraisals, area rug storage, insect, and pet urine treatments for all wool and silk rugs.