Old Carpet Health Hazards

While hardwoods, vinyl, tile, and other materials are becoming a more significant part of the industry, carpeting is still the number one selling flooring product. For hundreds of years, carpeting was made mostly of natural fibers, but synthetic materials are becoming more prevalent over the past decades. But with these new materials, you may be wondering if there are any old carpet health hazards.

While other older building materials can be harmful (lead paint, asbestos siding, some insulation, and so on), older carpeting is actually “healthier” than many newer carpets. Natural fibers don’t off-gas and aren’t made of volatile organic compounds (VOC), although they may be treated with some chemicals.

According to the American Lung Association, “Chemicals used in some new carpets, carpet pads and the adhesives used to install them can harm your health. Some of these products are made with VOCs, which emit odors and chemicals.” So it’s actually newer carpets you need to be mindful of.

Old Carpet Health Hazards

That being said, older carpeting will have more dirt, air pollutants, and other allergens, than newer carpet, especially if it isn’t consistently cleaned. Here are a few of the indoor air quality issues you could encounter with a dirty carpet:

  • Dust Mites
  • Pet Dander
  • Mold
  • Bacteria

Dust Mites

Dust mites can cause a variety of health problems, especially in those who are prone to allergies or asthma. They are microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin cells found in dust and bedding, and their waste can be a major allergen for some people. Common symptoms associated with dust mite allergy include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing.

In more severe cases, dust mite allergy can lead to sinus infections, ear infections, and even trigger asthma attacks. To reduce the risk of allergies and other health issues caused by dust mites it is important to maintain a clean home environment. This could mean cleaning or vacuuming carpeting and furniture covered in fabric.

Pet Dander

Pet dander is microscopic particles of skin shed by animals with fur or feathers, and it is one of the most common allergens found in homes. Allergic reactions to pet dander (and pet hair) can include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, exposure to pet dander can lead to sinus infections or asthmatic issues. To reduce the risk of allergies, keep pets well-groomed, vacuum frequently, and use air filters.


Mold spores are microscopic fungi that thrive in damp and dark indoor environments, such as carpets, and their presence can lead to serious allergic reactions. Common symptoms associated with mold allergy include sneezing or coughing, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, exposure to mold spores can lead to infection in the sinus cavity.


Carpeting can harbor a variety of bacteria that can potentially cause health problems. Common bacteria found in carpets include E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria can cause a range of illnesses if ingested or inhaled, including food poisoning, respiratory infections, and skin infections like athlete’s foot.

To reduce the risk of health issues caused by bacterial contamination it is important to vacuum frequently, replace any moldy carpet, and deep clean your carpets on a consistent basis. The issue with bacteria and some molds are they are invisible to the naked eye. So if your home starts to smell “funky,” it’s a sign a professional carpet cleaning is in order.

Cleaning your carpets regularly is especially important if you have babies in the home. Our immune systems help fight off many of the above issues, but younger children’s immune systems aren’t as strong. And because they spend most of their time on the ground, they’re that much closer to mold, bacteria, dust, dirt, and more.

How to Fight Old Carpet Health Hazards

Although your carpet can make you sick, especially if you’re already at risk for other health issues, there are many steps you can take. Removing all pets from the home or tearing out the carpet and replacing it with tile are a few extreme examples–but could be necessary depending on your health.

For most of us, however, vacuuming a few times a week will take care of many of these issues. Modern vacuums have HEPA filters built in, which will help keep airborne pollutants from re-entering the atmosphere of the home. But for the deep-down grit and grime, you’ll want to consider professional carpet cleaning services.

Heaven’s Best has been cleaning carpets for more than two decades, keeping families safe from many harmful allergens and pollutants. Our low-moisture cleaning process means you can return to your home after an hour or so (instead of leaving for the whole day waiting for the carpets to dry).

In addition to cleaning your carpets, we also clean area rugs, upholstered furniture, tile floors, and wood flooring. Although those smooth services don’t retain airborne particles like carpets, they still need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Does it smell like your home could use a deep-down clean? Why not reach out to Heaven’s Best and start with your floor?

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