One of the most effective things you can do to keep you and your household healthy is…keep your carpets clean. Even when they look pretty clean, carpet fibers can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

What’s in your carpet fibers?

For one thing, we shed thousands of dead human skin cells which make their way down into our carpets where they become a primary food source for dust mites. Then there’s all the pet fur and dander (plus the occasional accident). And there’s other debris that literally walks in on the bottom of shoes; it works deep into carpet fibers and can form what the National Center for Healthy Housing refers to as a ‘reservoir of allergens’, negatively affecting nearly 40 percent of Americans.

What can you do about it?

The good news is that regular dry vacuuming with a brush roller helps a lot – and accounts for about 80% of your carpet’s cleanliness. That’s because most of the debris in your carpet is dry, which can be removed reasonably well with dry suction vacuuming. Regular and prompt vacuum cleaning can not only remove dry soiling materials but also help keep them from building up and packing down.

However, there are times you need to go for the deep clean. The usual recommendation is at least once every 12 to 18 months – unless you have pets. Or children. Or both. With pets and children, the stain and dirt factor goes up quite a bit, so in addition to vacuuming at least twice a week, you may want to have your carpets deep cleaned as frequently as every six (or even three) months.

Professional cleaning isn’t the same as DIY cleaning

If you fall into the category of needing to have your carpets cleaned more frequently, you may be tempted to go down to the local hardware store and rent an at-home carpet cleaning system. It may seem like a good way to save money, but it could very well end up being ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’. Home steam cleaning systems often leave a layer of moisture behind which can lead to bigger problems than just dirty carpet. If there are people in your household who suffer with allergies or asthma, you’ll want to avoid leaving behind damp areas for allergens to grow and also want to steer clear of using harsh chemicals with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Protecting your carpets – and your air quality

Regular carpet cleaning also helps safeguard the health of your household by protecting the quality of your indoor air. Carpet fibers are like magnets for airborne pollutants, trapping them and saving them to be stirred up later in the air when your HVAC kicks on to circulate the air with heating and cooling.

Clean carpets – more than just a ‘pretty place’

Regular carpet cleaning not only removes harmful allergens, dirt, and bacteria, it prolongs the life of your carpet and makes your house feel, smell, and look freshly clean. Be sure to engage a carpet cleaning professional who will select the best cleaning process for the job (there are many to choose from) as well as use cleaning products that are not only effective, but healthy for the environment as well.