The study shows dangerously high levels of bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella and Listeria and most worryingly, a high concentration of Campylobacter, which can be a cause of stomach ulcers. As well as bacteria, the samples by the carpet cleaning machine experts, Rug Doctor also found other hidden dirt including human and pet hair, dust mites, pollen, traces of faeces and skin.
Analysis of the nation’s cleaning habits reveals why it’s no surprise we’re exposing ourselves to high levels of germs. While three quarters of us think our homes are fairly clean, we are a population of dirt dodgers. Nearly half of respondents said they don’t have time to do a thorough cleaning job, a third do the minimum required and are happy as long as it looks good and 23 per cent only clean when absolutely necessary.
Despite a carpet’s high exposure to dirt and germs, more than four in ten have never deep cleaned their carpets and a third vacuum only once a week, which is dramatically less when compared to other flooring areas - 35 per cent clean their kitchen floor at least once a week with a quarter doing it up to four times a week, 44 per cent clean the bathroom floor once a week.
The Rug Doctor research also revealed that only 25 per cent of people remove their shoes when entering a home and more than half never ask guests to remove their footwear.
Lack of awareness about what lurks beneath also means we have some pretty repulsive habits - 51 per cent admit they would still eat food if they dropped it on their own carpet, yet 76 per cent say if they dropped food on a friend’s carpet they wouldn’t.
Aggie MacKenzie, the queen of clean, comments: “It’s worrying to think what could be lurking in our carpets and the findings show that we should be giving more consideration to carpet cleanliness, which is just as important as bathroom and kitchen hygiene. The research from Rug Doctor just goes to show that behind closed doors, we’re not a clean and tidy nation and so I’m appealing for people to particularly consider their carpet cleaning habits to reduce dirt and grime that could be having severe consequences on their health.”
Not only is it a case of dirt being brought into the house, but spills, stains and mishaps are adding to the ground-in grime in our carpets. More than a quarter of the UK’s population has had a pet be sick on the flooring and 24 per cent have had a pet leave their mess. Furthermore nearly a third have had a baby or someone else be sick on their carpet and a quarter admit to having had sex on the floor.
Paul Fildes from Rug Doctor adds: “These shocking findings illustrate just how important it is for homeowners to wet clean their carpets as they would with other types of flooring – ensuring they are kept as free from as much dirt and debris as possible as these form the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria. The findings illustrate that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. A carpet acts like a filter, trapping dirt deep within its pile – so much so that vacuuming alone can never remove it.
“We had the contents of the recovery tanks analysed after a Rug Doctor deep clean and found that the machine removed vast amounts of pollen, food debris, shed skin and human and pet hair from people’s carpets – bacteria and germs thrive on these nasties. So we’re urging the nation to dramatically improve the quality of their home environment for both themselves and their families and think about deep cleaning their carpets to grime-bust the hidden nasties that lurk beneath.”