Can Old Carpet Make You Sick?

Once I noticed that I coughed and sneezed every evening. My nose was running and I had shortness of breath. But these symptoms disappeared whenever I left the house. My doctor told me, that my old carpet was the reason for my health disorder. 

Very often such health issues, like allergy, skin irritation, rhinitis, and some other illnesses are caused by parasites, which live in an old carpet pile. The pests, like dust mites, fleas, mold, mildew, and pathogenic bacteria, which live in the old carpet, can make the home inhabitants sick. Read further to know, how to make your old carpet safe.

How Do You Tell The Carpet Is Making You Sick?

ld Carpet Make You Sick

Perhaps the carpet makes you sick and you don’t even notice it. You may feel ill every day. You may breathe heavily and have itching. But you do not associate it with the old fluffy carpet that you’ve inherited from your grandmother. So how do you know that this carpet is making you sick?

3 Hints the Carpet Makes You Sick

1. It’s hard for you to breathe at home

I’m not talking about those few breathtaking moments of your life. I mean that awful shortness of breath that starts immediately as you’ve crossed the threshold of your house. If it happens often, it’s the first sign that your old carpet makes you sick.

2. Rhinitis disturbs you

At the office, you may forget about handkerchiefs and nasal drops, for the whole day. But at home, you use them every single moment. If your nose doesn’t work and your eyes are red and itchy, you may need a new carpet in this case. It is the hint that your old carpet makes you ill.

3. You have skin irritation

I know that each person may have some rash on his face or hands from time to time. But if your body is covered with small red dots permanently, it’s time to examine your old carpet. It may be the reason for skin problems. 

Why Does a Old Carpet Make You Sick?

Old Carpet Sick

I know that many skeptics are smiling scornfully now. The old carpet has faded and its corners have worn out. But who can say, that it makes you cough and sneeze? You will be surprised, but behind the fluffy (or smooth) pile of your carpet, there’s a lifetime. Let’s see, what germs and pests live on your carpet.

Dust mites

Your old carpet can be infested with small pests, called dust mites. They live in a long pile of your carpet, which is a great dust collector! Dust mites eat skin cells shed by people and then produce droppings, which weigh 200 times more than the pest itself. The droppings gradually get into the air, which we breathe. It causes various skin illnesses and allergies.

Mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are two little but very dangerous inhabitants of an old carpet. They appear in the carpet’s fiber because of the high humidity level. So, if your carpet lies in the bathroom or in the kitchen, where the pipes are leaking, there’s a real possibility that mold or mildew has appeared on it. These pests cause severe allergy and respiratory problems. 


Do you have a pet at home? So, probably, you have fleas, too. Even if you have removed the fleas from your pet’s wool and carpet surface, jumping parasites will quickly return. Fleas bite house inhabitants with pleasure, suck their blood, and transmit dangerous diseases.

Pathogenic bacteria

Even if you vacuum your carpet regularly, you can’t be sure, there are no bacteria in it. If you have kids, then I am sure, your carpet pile is full of food crumbs and dust. Besides, the huge amount of versatile pathogenic bacteria appears in the carpet soft fiber immediately after you or your kids have come into the room in the street shoes. There are even more bacteria in the carpet pile in the houses, where pets live.

Pathogenic bacteria

Bacteria cause various kinds of infections, including pneumonia. Additionally, they can cause skin irritation and can stress the immune system.

These germs and bucks can appear even on a new carpet. But surely, they reside with comfort in old rugs, which decorate the homeowners’ rooms for decades. I’ve already mentioned several health issues, which the old carpet can cause. Let’s summarize their list and add some new points to it. Besides, let’s see, how we can solve this problem.

What Diseases Can an Old Carpet Cause? How to Struggle?

IllnessWhat CausesSolution
AllergyDust mites, mold, mildewTo get rid of dust mites, you have to do wet cleaning of the carpet twice a year. Don’t forget to ventilate the room, where the carpet is, regularly. In the most severe cases use an ultraviolet lamp to lit the carpet.
Asthma Dust mitesIn case, if you’ve noticed signs of asthma, it is better to visit a doctor immediately and replace an old carpet.
Skin IrritationFleasTo get rid of fleas, you should use strong chemicals. In this case, it is better to leave the room with an old carpet and poisonous substances for several days. Read “The Best 5 Flea Carpet Powder” to get deeper into the topic. Otherwise, you may take the carpet to a cleaning company. 
PneumoniaBacteriaTo kill bacteria, which live in deep layers of the carpet, you should hire an expert from a cleaning company.
Lowered ImmunityBacteria, mold, mildewTo get rid of mold and mildew, use special means, like [amazon link=”B01N3Y22K4″ title=”RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray.” /] RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray.

Are Old Carpets Toxic?

Old Carpets Toxic

Sometimes, carpets are toxic, independently of their age. Probably, you have also met such posts on the Internet, mostly done by advertising agents of flooring companies, which tell you that your old carpet is “a toxic bomb” under your feet. I’ve studied lots of materials, and now I can confirm that some carpets may be toxic. I’ve studied the report, made by an Ecology Center, which examined the 12 most popular American carpet manufacturers, including “Interface”, “Mohawk”, “Tarkett” and others. 

Unfortunately, some carpets, made by these reputable companies, contained toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, benzene, and others. They could have caused many serious health disorders, including hormone disruption and cancer. But the chemical substances are present in the carpet fabric from the moment of its production. So your old carpet can be toxic only if you’ve already bought it that way. I recommend reading the information on carpet fabric structure on its care tag. Check on the Internet, whether the fabric it is made of, contains any toxic chemicals. If yes, then try to replace your old toxic carpet with a new one.


As usual, natural carpet materials, like wool, sisal, or jute, don’t contain any chemicals. To be sure, your carpet is not toxic, prefer an item from a natural material. If you buy the carpet from synthetics, study carefully its structure in advance. Read the carpet certificate to know exactly, what chemicals it contains and if they are safe. Besides, check the structure of the carpet’s padding and the carpet adhesive to be sure, they are not toxic.

How to Care about an Old Carpet to Make It Safe?

There are several tips you should keep in mind to make the old carpet safe and not get sick of it.

  • Vacuum the carpet once or twice a week
  • Do wet cleaning of the carpet yourself or with an expert twice a week
  • Get your carpet dried out carefully whenever it gets wet to avoid the appearance of mold and mildew
  • Use fans and conditioners to ventilate the room every day
  • Never go into the room in street shoes
  • If nothing can help, replace the old carpet with a new one


To conclude, the old carpet can make you sick. It causes severe illnesses, like allergy, asthma, pneumonia, and even hormone disruption. To solve these problems, you should maintain your old carpet carefully. Sometimes, the only way out is to replace it. If your health issues, caused by an old carpet, are serious, visit a doctor immediately.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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