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By: Alison Jacobson
Posted on: May 11, 2016

Clean Carpet 101: How to Remove Bacteria and Allergens

Our guest blogger Alison Jacobson, The Safety Mom, is back again this week with tips on how to achieve clean carpet by removing bacteria and allergens!

While hardwood flooring is certainly attractive, nothing beats the warmth and comfort of wall-to-wall carpeting. And there’s nothing like it to muffle loud voices and running feet!

Keeping your carpets clean can be difficult especially in high-traffic areas but there’s more to it than simply eliminating the dirt you can see. Carpets act like a filter and trap a host of allergens and bacteria such as pet dander, dust mites and mold from wet feet. In fact research indicates the average homeowners' carpet harbors about 200,000 bacteria (such as E. coli, staph, and salmonella) on every square inch, about 4,000 times as much as their toilet seat!

For people with allergies carpeting can exacerbate symptoms and lead to asthmatic attacks but even for people without allergies the dust mites and pet dander in carpeting can cause allergy-like symptoms. Even in homes where there are no pets, dander can come in on shoes, blow in through doors and windows or be brought in with visitors to be stored in carpet. 15% to 30% of the populace is allergic in some degree to pet dander, many of whom don't even realize it.

Here’s how to get clean carpet and keep it as germ and allergen free as possible:

Remove shoes!

This is without a doubt the first line of defense for clean carpet. Invest in door mats that capture dirt particles as you walk in the door and then wash these frequently in hot water.

Vacuum effectively

The trick to removing the most dust mites and other particles is thorough vacuuming. Use a HEPA vacuum once or twice a week to slowly go over the entire carpet. Also use a high efficiency furnace filter and run a HEPA air cleaner, especially in the bedroom.

Call in the clean carpet professionals

Hire a company to do a deep steam cleaning at least once a year.

If liquid has spilled on the carpet, even if it’s just water, it’s important to dry immediately to prevent mold from growing. If it’s simply water, dry with terry cloth towels or white paper towels by placing them over the spill and weighting them down with an object that won’t be ruined by water. The water that has seeped and spread into the mat below will be wicked up into the dry cloth.