Carpet cleaning is somehow considered more of a luxury than a necessity, but cleaning your carpets has much more to do with your life than just how your floor looks. Not having your carpets cleaned regularly can actually cause health problems. The toughest problems (stains, damp etc…) can often be the ones most neglected, yet are often the most potentially harmful. Whether you can simply use water and a cloth, or need a carpet cleaning machine, there are many reasons (health-related and otherwise) to make sure you regularly clean your carpets.

Here are the top 5 potential health issues associated with not cleaning your carpets.

1 Damp carpets can cause asthma.

The Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health conducted a recent study which conclusively found that damp carpets increased the incidences of asthma in an environment where people were constantly exposed to the carpet. Organisms known as volatile organic compounds and microbial growth were found able to flourish in an unclean, damp carpet, and the results were increased cases of bronchial asthma, one of the deepest forms of the disease.

2 Dirty carpets house dust mites.

Dirty carpets are well known to be a breeding ground for dust mites, in the same way that dirty hair is a breeding ground for lice. Dust mites feed off of the same fungi, bacteria, and human skin cells that naturally filter into a carpet and stay if the carpet is not cleaned on a regular basis. Studies have also shown that most people are allergic to dust mites, and as they die, their carcasses are inhaled by humans who come into contact with the dirty carpet. Inhalation of the dead bodies has been known to cause rashes, and eye and nose irritation.

3 Dirty carpets house mould.

Mould has not been proven to link to asthmatic attacks, but this does not mean that mould does not cause humans great discomfort if left unattended. Bacteria and allergens which live on the mould can build up on uncared-for carpeting, and when ingested, can cause allergies to surface via the respiratory system. Worse problems can arise if the body succumbs to the bacteria which live on the mould spores, which it is especially prone to do if already weakened by another disease. If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms more often than normal, it is most likely time to get your carpet cleaned.

4 Athlete’s foot.

As before mentioned, dirty carpets house an incredible number of parasitic organisms which, if ingested into the respiratory system, can cause a number of health issues. The dust, fungi, and other organisms are kicked back into the air by movement on the carpet. However, another risk arises even if the movement on the carpet is not violent enough to move the organisms into the air, they can still cause athlete’s foot by entering the body through tiny cuts in the foot.

5 Mycotoxins.

More serious health issues can arise if the body is exposed to too many mycotoxins, which dirty carpets are an attractive environment for. Buildings are a source of mycotoxins and people living or working in areas with mould increase their chances of adverse health effects. These can range from stomach infections to fatality, depending on the initial health of the exposed person, or over time, as the mycotoxins wear down the body’s defences. For example, Stachybotrys chartarum contains a higher number of mycotoxins than other moulds grown in the indoor environment and has been associated with allergies and respiratory inflammation.

About the author: Carlo Ruggiero is a social blogger and “green” aficionado who is passionate about a variety of topics, including health, home, ecological issues and psychology. You can follow his struggle with social media and daily musings on Twitter.