We realize that carpets are exposed to the dirt we track in and settling dust. We tend to overlook mould, pollen, pesticides, general pollution, dust mites, and possible issues with pets. We also tend to overlook the chemicals used in the manufacturing of virtually all carpets. Many allergies and unexplained illnesses are tracked back to problems that accumulate in the carpet. Cleaning and airing the carpet can reduce and often remove many health issues.
Regular, weekly vacuuming is the obvious method of dealing with dust and toxins. If you have children, pets or just several people sharing the space, it may help to vacuum twice a week.
Carpet manufacturers often include advice on how their carpet is best cleaned. Recommendations often include regular vacuuming, and almost all advise steam or water extraction cleaning at least twice per year. This removes deeper issues in the carpet that regular vacuuming cannot reach, including mould and mildew. The heat of steam cleaning will kill bacteria and most live threats in the material.
Carpets are one source of VOCs, volatile Organic chemicals. The volatile chemicals exist in many plastic, cosmetics and cleaning products, and as part of the manufacturing process they are present when carpet is new and recently installed. VOC are known to trigger sinus problems, headaches, eye irritation, nose and throat issues, and asthma; reactions vary between individuals, but almost all people experience at least some fatigue and mental exhaustion when exposed to chemicals like formaldehyde.
Carpet should be aired out when first installed, at least for a few days. Circulating air, fans and open windows all help. For long term control homes can include plants. Indoor plants have been show to drastically reduce formaldehyde and other common VOCs, though some less known chemicals may require a different means of removal.
Chemical and pollution problems are twice the issue with children. Children tend to tack more dirt into the house, and they tend to be more exposed to the contaminants when they play on the floor. VOCs and other carpet issues can aggravate allergies and may be linked to development problems. Professional carpet cleaning will virtually illuminate these issues.