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For a lot of people, installing carpet in the home is the most cost effective, simple and comfortable solution to home flooring. Carefully selected and professionally installed home carpeting can give your home a soft and luxurious feel, but if the carpet in your home has been around for a while, it may be causing more harm than good. In fact, your old carpet may be making you sick and costing you more money in the long run.

If you find yourself coughing, sneezing or itching in your home, your old carpet may be to blame. Here are three ways your old carpet may be making you sick:

1. Dirt, Mold, Dust Mites and Other Allergens

Carpet traps in dirt, mold, dust mites and other allergens and over time it gets worse. Every time you go outdoors, you attract allergens and other nasty particles that you then bring back into your home with you. While this happens no matter what you do, or what kind of flooring you have, these nasty particles like to hide in your carpet and even get pressed down to its deepest layers over time. While frequent cleanings can definitely help to remove some of the build up, you may want to consider a deep, professional clean or even carpet replacement.

2. Bacteria and Other Pathogens

Old carpet is a hot bet for bacteria and other pathogens. Just like dust and other allergens get trapped inside, so do their biological counterparts. Since bacteria, fungus and other agents are able to stick to the fibers of the carpet, they are much harder to clean and even build up over time. So, the older your carpet, the more contamination it has. If you have pets, they are tracking in pathogens as well. When you, or your children, lay on the carpet you then attract these pathogens to your body, which can in turn make you sick. Remember, just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

3. Air Quality

Since older carpet is a playground for allergens and other contaminants, the air quality in your home can be affected. Simple everyday activities like vacuuming, walking or moving furniture cause the nasty particles in your carpet to become airborne, ultimately lowering the air quality in your home. This can cause coughing and breathing problems and can be particularly troublesome for those with asthma or other similar conditions. To improve the air quality of your home that has older carpets, The American Lung Association recommends that you vacuum at least three times a week with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in order to protect your lungs from the common problems caused by having carpet, especially older carpet, in your home.

Choose Wisely

The kind of carpet and padding that you choose can also play a role in the amount of build up that happens over time. So, when considering carpet, or any other flooring installation for your home, make sure you weigh all of your options carefully. Be sure to learn about how to care for your carpet so that you can keep it clean and make it last as long as possible. Once installed make sure to care for your carpet properly so that it doesn’t only last a long time, but it also keeps your healthy!