Carpets are usually reservoirs of any particulates including dust and microorganisms that settles from the air or brought in from outside via various means. By their nature carpets can hold these tiny particles without being noticed. The problem comes when the carpet becomes wet. Wet carpets made of natural material and the settled dust supports microbial growth. If you have ever entered a building that had a damp or wet carpet for 2 or more days, you must have smelt a strong musty odor. The odor is due to the growth of mold and bacteria in the wet carpet.
Carpets with higher concentrations of dust are more likely to support proliferation of microbial growth than those with lower concentrations. Even if the carpet was made of synthetic material that may not support mold growth, the dust and the moisture could be sufficient to support microbial growth.
How to reduce microbial growth on carpets
The most important cause of microbial growth on any organic material is moisture. Therefore, drying the carpet immediately after it gets wet will prevent mold and bacteria from growing. The drying should be done within 48 hours if mold growth is to be prevented.
The second important thing to do is to frequently vacuum clean the carpet, at least once a week. This removes most of the dust which is food for the microorganisms. Dust also carries spores, and so by removing it, the spores are also removed. Fewer spores on the carpet would also mean less microbial growth if the carpet becomes wet.
Why keep your carpet mold and bacteria free
Disturbing a dusty carpet by normal activities like walking re-suspends the dust into the air. This dust carries mold spores, bacteria and other allergenic material such as animal dander and dust mites.
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling airborne mold spores can cause serious allergic reactions, including sneezing and runny nose. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath and even asthmatic attacks.
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