By Doug Taylor
Imagination is an amazing human trait. As children, most of us went through a night-time phase fearing there were monsters under our bed or in the closet. A few years later, we began watching horror movies in tense anticipation, expecting some creature lying in wait to suddenly appear on the screen and surprise us – or we’d keep a nervous eye on the surrounding dark woods while sitting at a campfire and sharing ghost stories. We have a fascination with the unknown, the unexplained, the “whatever it is out there” that might jump out and grab us. The stronger a person’s imagination, the more vivid that fascination or fear can be.
The thing is, those imaginary monsters are not able to physically hurt us. What can be unsafe though, are the real monsters in our homes that truly have the potential to cause us harm. The monsters I’m referring to are not big hairy beasts with long claws and sharp fangs. They are much smaller. So much smaller in fact, that you can’t actually see them. But the fact you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there – underfoot – lurking in your carpet. This cast of underfoot monsters include dust mites, dust, pollen, mold spores, pesticides etc.
The following quote was taken from the Indoor Air Quality section of the Environmental Protection Agency’s website:
“Carpet also acts as a reservoir for dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores, pesticides and other materials which may originate indoors or be brought into the indoor environment from outside. If kept very clean from the time it is installed, carpet can trap a significant amount of particles, which can be removed through regular and effective vacuuming. However, inadequate maintenance can allow large quantities of dust and debris to build up in carpet. Some studies indicate that poorly maintained carpet can release significant quantities of particles into the air during the course of daily activity.”
If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust mites or any of these air-born dust or debris particles, they can trigger anything from red eyes and a runny nose to a full blown asthma attack. And even if you are not immediately susceptible, prolonged exposure to these particles can potentially lead to other serious health problems. So how do you guard against these tiny underfoot monsters?
Your three lines of defense are:
- Frequent thorough vacuuming of your carpet. Don’t wait until the carpet “looks” like it needs vacuuming – vacuum on a regular schedule. This will keep the dust and debris in your carpet to a minimum.
- Spotting. Remove spots as they occur so they do not set, attract soil or provide a food source for bacteria or other creepy crawlies. As an additional bonus, prompt spotting will also keep your carpet looking good between cleanings. You can obtain premium HomePro spotting solutions through your Professional Cleaner or on the HomePro by Design website.
Professional cleaning. The leading manufacturers of carpeting recommend that residential carpet be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months. Professional cleaning will flush out the deeper dust, dirt and debris particles that your regular vacuuming has not been able to remove.
The Carpet & Rug Institute states:
“It cannot be over-emphasized that proper cleaning and maintenance is a critical component of any flooring system. To help ensure longer life, maintain appearance, and help protect indoor air quality, carpet requires regular vacuuming with a well-functioning vacuum cleaner equipped with strong suction and a high-performance filtration bag and periodic wet extraction cleaning.”
To summarize, frequent vacuuming, prompt spotting and scheduled professional cleaning will not only keep your carpet looking great, it will maintain the level of dust, debris, dust mites, and any other little underfoot critters at a minimum, thereby improving your indoor air quality and helping you maintain a healthy, safe home environment.
(HOWEVER….. If you really feel the need, it’s OK to occasionally take a peek under your bed….. just to make sure those childhood night-time monsters STILL aren’t there.)