In the age of antibacterial-resistant superbugs, most people are looking for ways to avoid coming into contact with potentially sickening or deadly diseases. A recent study from scientists in the UK discovered that these diseases could be reaching people from an unanticipated source — their carpets.
The study, which was released last week, indicated that unclean rugs and carpets can contain incredibly high levels of disease-causing bacteria, including bacteria from the E.Coli and pneumonia families. Additionally, the study found everything from traces of animal faecal bacteria to vomit-inducing toxins in their samplings.
The researchers said that much of the bacteria and toxins were getting tracked in through footwear, noting that about 40% of Britons wear their shoes inside, even though less than 20% ever clean the bottom of their shoes. This invites into the home any toxins that are collected from the outdoors, or from less clean floors in schools and work.
Upon hearing about the study, Dr. Pixie McKenna from the show “Embarrassing Bodies” said that the results were frightening to hear.
“Dangerous bugs like pneumonia and E. Coli are being brought into our homes on the soles of our shoes, and are then trampled into the carpets by us not removing our shoes at the door,’ said McKenna. The reality is that germs in the carpet don’t just stay in the carpet — they can be further transferred into the air we breathe or onto our clothes and skin.
Alternative studies have also indicated that pets, too, are often adversely affected by the chemicals and toxins owners introduce to their carpets, either through shoe transference or from using unnecessarily strong floor cleaners. “This is no laughing matter – poor hygiene at home risks your health,” McKenna adds.
Some risks are more difficult to eliminate — 91% of people admit to allowing children to play on the carpet, but in most cases that will be the only logical place for children to play. Removing shoes at the door, though, should be a regular practice and encouraged for homeowners and visitors alike. Regular carpet cleaning can also help remove some of the accumulated bacteria.