When we think about air pollution, most of us probably think of car emissions, smoke from fires, and pollution from industrial factories. We are all aware of the link between breathing polluted air and increased respiratory symptoms, but what most people are not aware of is that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air pollutants are the leading causes of asthma and breathing problems. Understanding and controlling common indoor pollutants can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
Many factors contribute to indoor air pollution. The air in our home is heavily contaminated with particles such as pollen, food, dust mites, bacteria, and dead skin cells. All these pollutants get trapped around the home in items such as fabrics, linen, and carpets and can cause serious health problems, especially to children, the elderly and those already at risk of respiratory conditions. These particles float around the air in your home and seriously aggravate allergies, irritate your throat, eyes, and nose, as well as weaken your immune system leading to further cold and cases of flu while leaving you feeling lethargic.
We are encouraged more and more now to seal up our homes from the outside elements. Thicker door seals, triple glazing, super insulation, cavity wall filling and so on. This leads to poor ventilation within homes, limiting the amount of fresh air that can enter a property. Leaving windows and doors open to allow the flow of fresh air isn’t always an option. Securing your property nowadays is serious business. Making sure that you do everything to deter wannabe thieves is high on the priority list. No insurance company is going to have much sympathy if you leave a window open and allow someone to enter your home so easily. This being said, if maintained and cleaned properly, your home-based carpet can actually improve your family’s health.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom, or you work in an office, chances are you spend more than 90% of your time indoors. That’s a huge amount of time to be shut inside even the most comfortable of spaces! So how can a carpet help? Well, it stands to reason that most particles end up on the floor, those that do not will find a home on a shelf or ledge of some kind. A clean and well-maintained carpet can actually trap allergens and particles in its fibers to prevent them from escaping into the air and being inhaled. Carpets act as air filters to trap dust, pollen, and potentially dangerous particles to improve indoor air quality and overall breathing.
There are significant health benefits to maintaining clean carpets, especially in homes with young children as they are deemed as being the most at risk. This is because young children spend a lot of time close to the floor and because their immune system is not as robust as that of an adult. Respiratory complications, like asthma, can be triggered by poor indoor air quality, which is why most homeowners notice improved health following a thorough cleaning of their carpet.
What are the benefits of having a clean carpet in your home?
Carpets are big business nowadays. They are the most popular kind of house flooring. Given their softness & warmth, they add a sense of luxury and comfort that hard floor surfaces simply cannot offer. As previously mentioned, carpets act as filters within the home but they can also act as a placemat for food crumbs and spilled drinks. They collect dirt, debris, and bacteria from daily life. All sounds great, right? Sure but like all filters, it would need emptying at some stage right?
A clean carpet is the foundation of a cozy, comfortable home. However, a badly kept carpet can be the cause of untold health issues. Regular carpet cleaning, aside from improving the appearance of your home and extending the life of your carpets & rugs, as you can probably tell it has numerous health benefits, which include:
Helping prevent unhealthy mold growths
The risk of mold and other unhealthy growths developing in dirty carpets is greatly increased in areas of high humidity where the carpet is exposed to moisture. Areas around large pieces of furniture where airflow is reduced can also provide a perfect environment. When it’s raining moisture can track indoors, this moisture sinks into carpets where it promotes mildew and mold growth. Studies have shown that mold is actually more harmful than smoking cigarettes as it produces spores on the lungs leading to serious health and respiratory diseases
Preventing dust mites
Dust mites are microscopic. They share our homes and most of us are probably not even aware of their existence. With this in mind, when an infestation occurs, most of us are probably not even aware of its happening. It’s the feces of dust mites left behind which cause allergic reactions. The microscopic particles are easily inhaled when an infested area is disturbed. Sounds disgusting right? Well, consider this. To put this problem into perspective, about half a teaspoon of dust may contain up to 20,000 dust mites. Then consider how big your carpet space is, even in the smallest room in your home.
Promoting good air quality
When you vacuum your carpet it removes dirty elements from the carpet surface. Some vacuum cleaners may suggest a deep clean but most will ultimately clean the surface layer of the carpet pile. Without getting deep into the pile, these contaminants are left to penetrate deep into the carpet. Deep cleaning your carpets is probably not something you would immediately associate with improved indoor air quality but it does have a very positive effect. Dust and allergens accumulated by not deep cleaning the carpet can circulate in the air when disturbed and can affect the health of asthma patients and ultimately, anyone in the room.
Elimination of Harmful Pollutants
As we have mentioned, carpets retain sources of indoor pollutants. Apart from everyday dust and dirt, carpets contain pollutants, allergens, and pet dander. Toxic airborne gasses adhere to the particulate matter and become trapped in the carpet. When we vacuum or disturb the carpet, these toxic gasses are released into the air, starting the cycle all over again. Using state of the art equipment, here at Shaw’s we use high-powered vacuuming techniques to remove these deeply trapped pollutants.
Benefits of keeping our carpets clean
It stands to reason that by keeping our carpets clean will as a consequence improve indoor air quality which can be beneficial to the home. This shows in the following ways:
Whether you cook a lot, have children or pets, smoke or live nearby sources of smells, odors are always a potential problem in the household. Bad smells do have a very unpleasant effect on your mood, thoughts, and behaviors. Bad odors can leave you uncharacteristically grumpy and irritable. Smells can be absorbed into your carpet and released when walking on them.
Good indoor air quality brings about a good balance of humidity. Humidity (measured as the amount of water in the air) affects all aspects of your environment. Too much makes breathing feel heavy and also makes your home feel stuffy and moist. The extra moisture, as already mentioned, causes mold growth and increased dust mite populations while also attracting pests.
Our respiratory rate changes when we’re asleep such that our breathing rate decreases and becomes much steadier. So as important as air is when you’re awake, it’s just as important when you’re asleep. Consider that you probably spend around 6-8 hours a day asleep in your bedroom, that’s 8 hours in one room every day, a third of your day!
Breathing is naturally an unconscious action. You do it without thinking much about it, but if your home’s air quality is low, breathing can feel terrible. Surviving on shallow breaths puts a lot of stress on your body, especially your heart and lungs, making even climbing a flight of stairs a physically tiring task. Ever felt fatigued in your home? It might not just be because you are tired, your home might just be making you lethargic.
What to do:
Normal vacuuming is rarely enough as it only removes loose dirt from the top layer of your carpets, to obtain the health benefits from having a carpet you should both vacuum and have your carpets deep cleaned and treated by a professional cleaner such as Shaw’s. Why not contact us today and see how we can improve the internal environment of your home by providing a deep clean on your carpets.