Can Old Carpet Make You Sick?

While hardwood, lamination, and vinyl floorings are still an option in the market, carpet is still one of the most popular flooring types- it’s comfortable, warm, and gives an aesthetic vibe to your home. However, if this carpet is older than your age, then believe us, it is more harmful than UV rays and pollution outside. But can old carpet really make you sick?

Can Old Carpet Make You Sick

Without further ado, let’s begin our guide to understand if an old carpet really makes you sick and what are the health hazards associated with it.

Can Old Carpet Make You Sick?

Unfortunately, Yes, old carpets can actually make you sick. As your carpet gets old over time, it gets contaminated with gross substances around your house.

One of the disadvantages of installing a carpet is- it needs extra care and maintenance, and not cleaning it regularly may cause it to fade and discolor with time. Carpets need regular and sometimes professional cleaning.

So, if you are dealing with an old carpet, then the best option is to replace it. Replacing the old carpet and keeping them clean not only improves the aesthetic vibes of your house but also prevents health issues.

These are some unsanitary irritants that can cause health issues:

  • Dust Mites
  • Pet Danders
  • Mold Build Up
  • Pollen
  • Fungi and Bacteria

What Are The Health Issues An Old Carpet Can Give You?

There are organisms which are not visible to human eyes and these organisms are hosts in your carpet. Your carpet might look clean but it contains many bacteria and fungi which might create a problem to your health.

These are some health hazards which an old dirt carpet can cause:

1. Respiratory Issues

Respiratory Issues

As we discussed earlier your carpet is the host for dust mites, pet danders, pet hair, and mold, and vacuuming it makes them airborne.

These pollutants then lead to causing respiratory problems such as coughing or difficulty in breathing. Moreover, if you have asthma, then these irritants can badly trigger the problem. These can also risk the health of your kids, who spend more time on carpets.

2. Skin Irritation

Skin Irritation

Dust mites in the unclean carpet can trigger itchy skin, eczema, rashes and athlete’s foot. Even if you clean your carpet regularly, dust mites are small enough to evade the regular vacuum.

We recommend to either use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner or using steam cleaning every once or twice a month.

3. Allergies


If you suffer from allergies, then a dirty then you first question might be can dirty carpet cause allergies? Well, those same dust mites and mold can give you a runny nose and red eyes.

A build-up in your carpet will easily trigger an allergy attack and make your life a little unpleasant. Moreover, if you are constantly waking up with allergy-like symptoms, then the first thing to do is to either treat your carpet or get it replaced.

4. Weak Immune System

Weak Immune System

The immune system of your body is constantly fighting the pollutants and germs outside the house and if you live in an unhygienic environment, then it is likely that your body is working overtime to fight those germs too.

This ultimately leads your immune system to get tired and become weak. In this case, babies are more vulnerable as they have a developing immune system and tend to roam around the carpet.

5. Stomach Illness

Stomach Illness

The next issue you can face is stomach illness. This occurs mainly due to the mold build up in the carpet. When your carpet is wet like in the basement it contains mycotoxins which causes severe stomach irritation and illness.

In addition, a damp carpet can also be a host to salmonella. It’s a foodborne disease and can be tracked into your home, putting the health of your children at risk.

6. Pet Germs

Pet Germs

With pets comes a great responsibility to give the carpet clean from pet hair, feces, pet danders, and urination.

Pet waste can be extremely dangerous to children as they create a smell like ammonia that causes lung and nose irritation. So, if you have a pet it makes it essential to either prevent your cat or dog from peeing on the carpet or treat the dog pee smell as quickly as possible.

7. Mental Distress

Mental Distress

Skin irritation, stomach illness, weakened immune system, and respiratory problems all this takes a toll on your mental health. It becomes tiring and stressful to take care of sick toddlers.

According to the experts, stress leads to physical symptoms and a weakened immune system. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your carpet using a HEPA filter, as a clean carpet helps you stay healthy too.

How To Tackle Old Carpet Health Problems?

How To Tackle Old Carpet Health Problems

In order to keep yourself and your family safe from any health issues that can be caused by dirty old carpets, you can take certain measures.

The following approaches will help you maintain hygienic carpet and eventually improve the indoor air quality:

1. Be Careful About Where You Install A Wall-to-wall Carpet

A carpet is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungi. It is also home to many dust mites, carpet beetles, and coccidia.

This makes it extremely important to be careful of where you are installing your carpet and determine whether you actually need the carpet to be installed all around the house or not.

According to the experts, you should avoid installing the carpet in mold and stain-prone areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.

2. Use HEPA Vacuum

According to the National Center for Health Housing, a carpet should be regularly vacuumed and cleaned.

Meanwhile, vacuuming the carpet with a regular vacuum doesn’t eliminate all the harmful organisms from the carpet. It will simply rearrange the dirt particles on the carpet.

Instead, we recommend using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. It uses a mechanical air filter that allows it to filter the air from pet danders, mold, dust mites, and pollen.

3. Professional Carpet Cleaning

If you have a busy schedule or are simply just tired of cleaning a large, lavish carpet, you can opt for professional cleaning.

They come with experience and equipment specifically designed to clean the carpet and restore its freshness.

But even if your carpet is not too old or worn out considering professional cleaning will help you remove the stains and odors along with minimizing the allergens and eventually increasing the life of the carpet

4. Replace The Carpet

Some carpets lasts for 10 years while some lasts for 30 years but even after regularly cleaning the carpet, it looks overused and worned out then you need to replace it.

Carpets should also be replaced if it’s giving out a pungent smell. You can also try professional cleaning in this case; however, if the carpet is still giving away the odor, then it is likely that it has penetrated deeper into the carpet or carpet pads.

How Dirty Carpet Looks Under Microscope?

What Are The Types Of Mold An Old Carpet Builds?

A mold build-up on the carpet also poses a serious threat to your health. Listed below are some common types of molds that you need to eliminate:

1. Black Mold

Black Mold

These molds are caused by dry air, high humidity and moisture. In these conditions, the spores become active and begin to reproduce.

The mold will thrive due to these conditions and can be found in your basement or other low-lying areas.

2. White Mold

White Mold

White mold occurs due to the release of spores in the carpet. This release of spores happens due to natural process like rain or humidity or through exterior sources like pet or kids.

If these spores land on the carpet, they get trapped into the fibers of the carpet and start to grow into white mold.

3. Orange Mold

Orange Mold

These molds are also results of high moisture level, which is found in carpets. Orange mold thrives in moist and humid environments and feeds on organic matters like dead skin and spores.

4. Green Mold

Green Mold

The green mold is a type of fungus that is caused due to standing water on the carpet. So, if the carpet has standing water, then get it extracted from the carpet fibers. You can get your carpet extracted on a monthly basis.

Tips To Prevent Mold From Building

Here are some tips to help you prevent mold build-up on your carpet:

  • Avoid installing carpets in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, basement, and other areas which are prone to moisture or dampness.
  • Use high-quality carpets. However, they are quite expensive but are worth it to protect against mold growth in areas of high-humidity.
  • Treat the mold growth quickly using detergent, water, and steam cleaning machine.
  • Reduce the number of furnishing around the mold spot. This will prevent the furnishing to absorb the moisture from the mold.
  • If large areas of carpet are moldy, it is best to dispose off the entire carpet carefully.
  • If you notice a pungent smell from the carpet, call for mold testing or air quality testing immediately.
  • Clean your carpet at least once a week to protect the carpet from mold growth.
  • If you’ve accidentally spilled water on the carpet, make sure to get it dry thoroughly.
  • Remove the wet carpeting and allow it to dry completely. When installing a new carpet, make sure the floor underneath is completely dry.
  • Replace your carpet with man-made carpet materials like nylon, olefin, polyester. These materials are water-resistant and will avoid any mold build up on the carpet.

What Are The Misconceptions Of Carpet Cleaning?

What Are The Misconceptions Of Carpet Cleaning

1. Vacuuming Is Enough

The very first misconception about carpet cleaning is that vacuuming is enough. Sure, vacuum cleaning will remove the dirt, debris, and hair from the carpet, but it can’t deeply extract all the dirt from the carpet.

So, in addition to vacuum cleaning your carpet, you must also get it steamed cleaned once a month.

2. All Carpet Cleaning Methods Are Same

There are various types of carpet cleaning methods like dry-chem method, dry-foam method, and dry-compound method, but all have their own methods and benefits.

The one and only true method that will thoroughly clean the carpet is steam cleaning. The process is simple and uses hot water extraction, which not only removes the dirt but also kills bacteria in the carpet.

3. The Longer You Wait, The Better

If you are waiting to get your carpet cleaned and save your money, then it makes your carpet look even worse. Then your only option will be to replace the carpet.

On the contrary, if you regularly clean your carpet, it will extend the life of your carpet, also saving you the money to replace it.


No matter how much beautiful your old carpet is you need to replace it if it is moldy, worn out or older than 10 years. You also need to clean it regularly using a HEPA filter or steam cleaning it once or twice a month.

Replacing your old carpet will not only protect you and your family from potential health hazards but will also give a new, fresh look to your house.

However, if your old carpet is not old enough, then you can also consider getting it cleaned professionally.

We hope this guide provides you with an insight on can old carpet make you sick and what are the measures you can take to protect yourself.


Can a 20 year old carpet be cleaned?

If the carpet is 12-15 years old and hasn’t been professionally cleaned for a long time then it’s recommended to replace the carpet.

Why do I still feel sick after cleaning the carpet?

If the carpet cleaning is not done properly or if it is cleaned using a rgular vacuum then the chances are that it might have made the toxins airborne causing you sick.

Can carpet grow bacteria?

Carpet May Hold up to 200,000 Bacteria Per Square Inch.

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