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Why Carpet isn’t the Best Flooring

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living room carpet-flickr-BreadnBadger
Photo credit: BreadnBadger / Flickr

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Pulling the vacuum out of the closet every few days to keep the carpet clean is a dreadfully time-consuming part of home maintenance. But did you know that a carpet could also be bad for your health?

If you’ve got kids, you might think that a carpet would be the best way to keep their delicate feet and knees bruise-free, but there are also a lot of good reasons why carpet might not be the best idea.

Dirt Remains Hidden

One of the most insidious features of every carpet is that it might look clean, but it’s actually hiding all sorts of allergens, dirt, and contaminants just below the surface. Carpet clings and feeds upon dirt that sinks into its fibers. You can vacuum every day and still not remove all the ground-in dirt.

The surface of the carpet might look brand new, but dirt and other nasty contaminants are hiding at the bottom, just waiting to make you sneeze. In addition, unseen dirt slowly breaks down and destroys the carpet fibers.

This destruction means that the carpet will eventually look old and used, even if you vacuum it regularly.

Allergens and Chemicals Abound

Dirt, dust, and mud aren’t the only things in your carpet. Pet dander, dust mites, and pollen float in and settle on your carpets every single time someone walks in the room.

You can reduce the incidence of allergens in the carpet by vacuuming and professional cleaning; however, most doctors recommend avoiding carpet entirely when someone in the home has an allergy.

In addition, manufacturers routinely use toxic chemicals to make carpets, which means anyone who sits on the floor might be sitting on vicious toxins called “volatile organic chemicals.” As carpets age, these destructive VOCs gradually make their way into the air and your lungs.

Lifting the Veil on Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Vacuuming a carpet might remove some dirt that the dog tracked in after he went outside for a midnight bathroom break, but the top layer isn’t the only place where damage and decay may occur. A wall-to-wall carpet also includes a few layers of glue and some padding underneath the visible layer of carpet.

The glass of wine one of your guests spilled last week has probably made its way under the carpet layer, and is doing its best to grow mold and hasten decay of the supportive layer of foam and glue.

Replacing a wall-to-wall carpet often means replacing several layers, which will also put a hefty dent in your wallet.

Repair Is Usually Impossible

One of the reasons why carpet experts suggest you should keep your carpet vacuumed regularly is because destruction of the carpet fibers isn’t a repairable problem. When dirt sits at the base of the carpet the fibers are broken and destroyed each time someone steps on the carpet.

Unless the carpet is kept in an airtight chamber where no one walks on it, the surface will eventually break down, stains will start to appear, and the carpet will require replacement. Hardwood floors and tile, on the other hand, can last for centuries.
Exposure to the chemicals, dirt, and allergens in the average wall-to-wall carpet may cause allergies, asthma, and health problems to develop in the healthiest of people. Before installing a regular carpet or a wall-to-wall carpet in your home, make sure you’re aware of the potential health consequences.


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