Owning a rug is commonplace whether it’s your grand inherited oriental passed down by your grandmother or the welcome mat outside your front door. On a daily basis we trample dirt from the outside on it and it collects dust over the years and becomes an heirloom of household memories. While that deep red stain on the corner of your rug might send you on a trip of nostalgia, remembering tipsy laughter with loved ones infused by the spilling of wine – we should still consider what else lurks therein.

The unseen dangers of dirty rugs

There are actually a number of health risks associated with dirty rugs. Many lead to disease symptoms that we casually overlook or differ onto other causes. Are you having trouble breathing properly, to the extent that you’re having difficulty sleeping? There could be many reasons, of course, though one shouldn’t weigh-out the possibility of putting your beloved rugs at blame.

Rugs are generally infested with small particles of dust, hair, dead skin and other kinds of dirt. They can even have mites if you’re a pet owner or mold, if the rug is continuously exposed to damp conditions. These particles are easily dispersed into the air by simply walking over the rug or vacuuming (for example). The particles are then in turn inhaled by you and get trapped among mucus and hair follicles in your nose and throat.

Depending on your sensitivity, these particles become irritants and your body tries its best to expel them. Symptoms generally associated with allergies; a runny nose swollen or itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing could be a sign that your rug is contaminated with microparticles. If left unchecked, through many years of breathing in toxic, moldy air, the particles could enter your lungs and lead to respiratory problems.



Furthermore, your body’s number one defense unit – the immune system – may be compromised as it’s weakened overtime, continuously battling foreign contaminants. Once your immune system is weakened, you stand at risk of incurring a long list of unwanted illnesses.

Now that we know that our beloved rugs are disease toting tyrants, what is the best way to disarm them? Naturally, the answer would be cleaning them. If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can definitely opt for cleaning the rugs yourself.

First and foremost, you will need to put aside a sunny day. Once the rug is washed, it’ll need hot and dry conditions to dry effectively. If the rug isn’t left out to dry extensively and is put back inside in a damp state it risks gathering mold which would be entirely counter intuitive. Additionally, the heat of the sun should kill the trace of bacteria and fleas and mites (in the case of pet owners). Secondly, you’ll want to prepare a cleaning station (preferably outdoors to avoid watery messes in your home) with the necessary tools to facilitate the cleaning process.

The unseen dangers of dirty rugs - bacteria

Set up a table or elevated surface on which to place the mats, so that you can avoid the mat settling into more dust from the surrounding earth. Get a well-recommended rug shampoo and scrubbing brush. Hook up your extension cord indoors and lead it out to the cleaning station so that you can vacuum out the larger particles. Make sure to tend to both sides. If this is not possible, a good old ‘rug beating’ isn’t out of the question. You can use a broomstick handle or almost anything with a solid surface to thoroughly whack out the dust particles.

Once this is done you should use a garden hose to wet the rug. Thereafter shampoo is applied and with a little elbow grease, lathered into the rug by using the scrubbing brush. Ensure that the bristles are not too hard as well as the pressure of brushing should also be medium and consistent so as not to mistakenly de-thread the rug. Allow the rug 15 -20 minutes to soak up the foamy soap and penetrate the pores and fabric. You will then use the hose to rinse the rug repeatedly until all of the soapy residue is gone. Depending on the size of the rug, you will want to leave it out to dry for a considerable amount of time.

If this sounds like a lot of effort to you and you don’t mind spending the money – professional rug cleaning may be a better option. On the plus side, these companies specialize in this area and have been doing it for a lot longer then you have. The potential damage to your rug will be significantly reduced and the rug will have a much deeper cleaning as a result.