Under the Microscope: How to Disinfect Carpet and Keep Your Home Germ-Free

May 07, 2020
how to disinfect carpet

When it comes to collecting germs, your home’s carpet is 4,000 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. It isn’t just holding run-of-the-mill dirt and grime, either. Common hazards lurking in residential carpets include truly scary bacteria like MRSA, Campylobacter, and Norovirus.

Fortunately, proper disinfecting can not only keep your carpets looking new but rid them of those nasty germs, too. Keep reading now to learn when and how to disinfect carpets in your home.

Vacuuming Isn’t Enough

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that vacuuming is enough to clean up their dirty carpets. While vacuuming is an important first step, it is not enough by itself.

Although you may not realize it, the carpets in your home serve as a type of air filter. Carpet fibers pull dirt, bacteria, and other germs from the air and trap them. In fact, a single yard of carpet can hold up to a full pound of dirt and debris before it even begins to visibly look dirty!

This includes:

  • Dead human skin cells and pet dander
  • Dirt, dust, and pollen
  • Insect husks and feces
  • Food crumbs
  • Bacteria and mold
  • Dust mites

Vacuuming regularly can remove surface-level dirt and contaminants from your carpets. Even the best vacuums cannot get all the way down into the base fibers of most carpets, however. Dirt, bacteria, and mites hiding at the bottom will continue to build up over time, even with regular vacuuming.

How to Vacuum

If you remove your shoes at the door to your home and do not have pets or children, vacuum at least once a week. This will help keep surface dust and other contaminants under control between deeper cleanings.

If you have pets, children, particularly toddlers, or persons with allergies in your home, you will need to vacuum more often. Even if you vacuum daily, it is important to remember that dangers still linger even after all of the visible carpet dirt is removed.

How to Disinfect Carpet

Even when you vacuum regularly, unwanted things can continue to thrive in your home’s carpets. Mites, bacteria, and viruses all routinely survive vacuuming. Some, such as norovirus, can live in carpet for weeks at a time.

This extended lifespan provides ample opportunity for them to infect your family or to be ingested or inhaled, potentially causing serious health problems.

To truly kill off carpet bacteria, viruses, and mites, you need to steam clean your carpet with appropriate cleaners. Properly done, steam cleaning eliminates 97 percent of the contaminants lingering in your carpets.

The DIY Approach

It is possible to steam clean your carpets yourself. To do so, you must:

  • Rent or buy the appropriate equipment
  • Buy or make effective cleansers
  • Thoroughly steam clean the entirety of your carpet per the equipment’s directions

Doing the job yourself can be risky, however. Using the wrong cleaners can fail to kill the hazardous elements in your carpet. It can also potentially cause carpets dyes to run or result in discoloration.

It can also simply be a hassle. Hiring a professional is often the better choice.

Hiring a Professional

Professional carpet cleaners have the equipment and experience to ensure that your carpets get both clean and sanitized. They know how to disinfect carpet while protecting its condition and appearance, no matter what kind of carpet you have. Choosing the right company can make getting your carpets disinfected an easy and painless process.

How Often Should You Disinfect Your Carpet?

Experts uniformly recommend having your carpet disinfected at least once a year. In homes with pets, children, or individuals with allergies, disinfecting more often may be necessary.

If you have newer carpets, you may want to check your warranty. It is not uncommon for warranties to require professional deep cleaning at certain intervals in order to retain warranty coverage.

You may also want to disinfect more often if:

  • You have deep-pile carpet
  • You live in an area subject to high humidity
  • Your home experiences high traffic or excessive staining or soiling of the carpet

In all of these cases, you are likely to have higher than average levels of germs in your carpet that cannot be addressed or mitigated through vacuuming or other means.

The Importance of Green Cleaning

When disinfecting your carpets, it is important to be selective about what cleansers you use. This is equally true whether you clean your carpets yourself or hire professionals.

DIY Cleansers

Many DIY websites and instructions suggest using white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol-based cleansers. When used at the proper concentrations and for the right length of time, these substances are strong enough to properly disinfect a carpet. Used improperly, however, they can fail to kill off carpet bacteria.

There’s also a significant risk of discoloring or damaging carpets.

Professional Cleaners

Commercial cleaning products, both over-the-counter and those used by professional cleaners can be dangerously toxic. While these products absolutely eliminate the germs in carpet, they can leave behind chemicals that are equally dangerous to your family.

Take care to hire professional carpet cleaners using “green” products that are both safe and effective. These specially formulated products protect your loved ones and your home and belongings. They are used in exactly the same way as traditional products, which means there’s no extra hassle or fuss for you.

Protect Your Family

Now that you know how to disinfect carpet in your home, don’t wait to get your home and family the protection they deserve. Contact the green carpet cleaning experts and schedule an appointment to have your carpets disinfected today.

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