Carpet, health and the environment

Ever have a carpet cleaning professional in and been absolutely shocked at how much crud they are able to pull from your clean carpets?

Even professional cleaning cannot rid your carpet of a variety of toxins and dangers that build up in the pile. Aside from dust mites, pesticides you spray around the home settle and accumulate, not to mention the pesticides tramped in on the soles of shoes.

It’s reported that 80% of human exposure to pesticides happens indoors. Added to pesticides, there’s carpet glue, room deodorizer residue, stain protectors – the list goes on and on. Anything you spray into the air, even normal dust itself which can lead, all settles into your carpet and some of it cannot be removed by a standard vacuum cleaner.

Then there’s the carpet itself. Most people have a nylon or nylon and wool blend which exposes them to benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, acetone – all extremely hazardous substances.

If you’re building a new house, consider wood or slate flooring, but bear in mind there’s dangers there too in varnishes and sealants.

Part of our house is slate and we absolutely love it. A few strategically placed rugs keep things a little warmer on the feet during winter and the beauty of rugs is that you can take them outside and give them a good beating occasionally. If it’s not your thing and you really want carpet, go for a natural fibre carpet such as a pure wool blend. While it’s more expensive, it will outlast cheaper synthetic blends.

If you are stuck with synthetic carpet, the best thing you can do is to

a) Think before you spray – anything. Bear in mind that whatever is sprayed into the air, some of it will wind up embedded in your carpet

b) Remove shoes at the door – many toxins are trampled in from outside

c) Invest in a HEPA grade vacuum cleaner

d) Have your carpets professionally cleaned by an earth friendly company at least once a year.

e) Place and encourage the use of doormats.

If you have a green tip you’d like to add to this article on carpet, please do so below :)