What's In Your Carpet? Surprise! (You'll Want To Clean It After Finding Out)

No one has to tell you that your carpet is dirty; just one glance reminds you of the wine spill and the dog's "accident."  You would agree with anyone who says it is time to get your carpet cleaned. However, what you can't see in your carpet makes it downright dangerous. Read on to see why you don't want to put it off any longer.


You think of bacteria as living on your kitchen counter or your bathroom floor, but did you know that germs live in your carpet? In fact, carpets are 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat. They are home to such nefarious characters as E. coli and salmonella, which can produce miserable cases of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Staphylococcus aureus also lurks in your carpet fibers, ready to pounce on any scratches or skin wounds and turn them into skin infections. If you're not already feeling creepy, consider this: about 200,000 bacteria live in each square inch of your carpet.

By the way, just so you know: there's no such thing as a five second rule. These germs live in your carpet for an indefinite period of time and transfer immediately to food surfaces.

Urine, feces, and other bodily fluids

No one wants to talk about waste products that have seeped down into the bottom of your carpet, but if you want to know the full truth about carpets you do indeed need to pay attention. ABC News did a study on hotel rooms in major United States cities: using black light, the reporters found the light revealed all kinds of things that make you go "ewwww"--including urine in the carpets (whether it was animal or human was not, apparently, definable). Therefore, while you may think you completely removed the stain from your dog's "accident," black light might show otherwise. Further, any living beings in your carpet (spoiler alert for next two categories) are going to leave waste behind. 

Skin and mites

Did you know that you shed 1.5 million skin cells a day? Multiply that for your spouse and kids, and your family is just showering your carpet every day with skin flake snow. As if that isn't repulsive enough, these flakes are considered something of a feast to dust mites, which can create allergy symptoms in many people. Dust mites' activity increases in warm environments and during warm weather, so if you live in a warm climate or just like to keep your house toasty, you are encouraging them to stay and keep eating your free skin flake buffet.

Additional disgusting facts

From the "can it get any weirder?" file:

  1. Every year, your carpet can accumulate several pounds of soil in or underneath the surface.

  2. Up to a million miniscule dust particles can fill one cubic inch of air--and then fall down into your carpet.

  3. A very strange creature called a "firebrat" loves to make its home in carpets close to fireplaces.

Clean now

You can choose to steam clean your carpet by yourself using rented equipment (usually found at your local home improvement store). This comes with certain advantages:

  • this costs less than paying a professional

  • it can be done at whatever time works best for you

  • you can go over problem areas repeatedly until you are satisfied with results

However, you could decide to have your carpet cleaned professionally. There are also advantages to this, including

  • a guarantee that the carpet will be cleaned to industry standards

  • the cleaners will move furniture for you (although some companies charge an extra fee for this service)

  • the shampoo and any additional chemicals used (such as those for for optional flea and tick treatment) will be of the highest quality

Regardless of whether you decide to clean your carpet yourself or use a professional like Grimebusters Carpet Cleaning, don't delay. Get rid of germs, skin flakes, mites, soil, and bodily fluid residues soon--because now that you know they are embedded in your carpet, can you really pretend they're not?