Is Your Family’s Health At Risk?
We Need To Talk About Carpets…
It’s hard enough planning and preparing for your pregnancy and birth, but prospective Mums and Dads also face the worrying task of baby-proofing their home and nursery, too.
Aside from baby gates, plug socket safety and the whole feeding paranoia, though – the carpet your babies will sit, roll, crawl, drool over and walk around on gets a bit overlooked.
New Doesn’t Mean Safe
New baby advice creeps up you every where all the time, and you might assume that ‘the newer the better’ when it comes to furnishing and textiles for your baby and child, but it’s worth knowing that not all that glitters is gold.
Research has shown that even brand new carpets, furnishings and textiles you might expect to see in shiny new nurseries can be harmful.
Mums and dads need to know…
One thing that doesn’t get a mention from your lovely carpet salesperson: volatile organic compounds (VCOs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and phthalates, causing everything from eye irritation to asthma and eczema. No joke.
Unless your carpet is a complete write-off, you might be better off re-conditioning and deep-cleaning your existing carpet.
So what can you do to keep your furnishings and upholstery fighting fit and in tip top shape?
And what to keep in mind for that phase when your sweet immobile baby suddenly fills you with horror when they start coasting along furniture and walking!?
I’ve put together the list below to give you some helpful ideas for consideration.
So whether it’s early baby prep or full on toddler tantrum phase, your home will be ready for the pitter patter and all the associated splatter of baby and toddlerhood.
I’m with you all the way, my friends!
Breathability: if you are buying a new rug or carpet, you should be looking for the non-toxic variety. The higher the density (or how tightly the weave of it is), the better it will wear and as a result the longer it will last. But new carpets/rugs can carry harmful VCOs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and can result in headaches, respiratory and eye irritations and dizziness.
- Some tips: if installing new carpet, avoid carpet adhesive (or use the water based/low solvent kind) when installing and if possible, roll the carpet out thoroughly to air it out before the room is occupied.
If deep-cleaning your existing carpets, pick a time as close to your due date as possible. Choose a low-water, natural clean which will use low-impact but effective methods and products suitable for pre and post birth.
Ventilation: although tempting to ensure the nursery and house are very warm, rooms can become stuffy and evidence shows that overheating can be a factor in SIDS.
- Some tips: Air your house at least once a day by opening a window. The ideal temperature should be 18C and some parents can increase ventilation in warm rooms by opening a window or using a fan.
If you buy new products like furniture/curtains, air them out outdoors (weather permitting) or even in a garage/well ventilated area first before bringing them indoors, to prevent potentially harmful VOCs from becoming harmful – give them time to acclimatise to the space.
Durability: Think about the footfall for the area in question – softer piles will work well in low-footfall areas like bedrooms but you’ll need something with a dense, tight, low-pile tuft in high-traffic areas like living rooms, play rooms and lounges.
- Some tips: Berber or frieze style carpets can be great in providing value for money and disguising stains and spills, while a traditional textured saxony-style carpet can help disguise footprints and vacuum marks.
Check that your new carpet comes with a stain warranty or ask your me about stain prevention treatments – ideal for babies and toddlers.
Products to avoid: Avoid plug in air-fresheners, freshener sprays and highly scented candles, which can release VCO chemicals and other toxins into the air your baby breathes.
- Some tips: If you want to freshen up your home, having your carpets deep cleaned is the best way to remove any unwanted smells. Strong bleach-filled cleaning/dusting products can be replaced with natural lemon pledge or vinegar/essential oil based solutions. House plants can also be effective in absorbing toxic vapours.
‘Nesting packages’: We offer a ‘nesting/new baby and toddler package’ for new and existing parents.
This includes sanitising, deep cleaning and protecting your carpet and upholstery from stains and soiling, ideal for blasting away harmful bacteria, bugs and germs.
- Some tips: Check that your carpet cleaning technician is using natural, low-impact cleaning products such as ‘Chem-dry’ to ensure the treatments are not invasive or harmful for your little ones and pets.
Get Professionally Cleaned Carpets Ready for Baby
Wear and tear: Consider using rugs to protect carpet in high-traffic areas. If using rugs, consider rotating them a few times a year to ensure even wear and tear.
To avoid marks, dents and divots, use castor cups for furniture and avoid wearing heels and stilettos on your carpet. Make sure your carpet is not in direct sunlight if possible – or use shades/curtains to protect from fading.
- Other tips: Avoid spillages and contamination by keeping food in the kitchen. Supervise your pets and train them to avoid nasty surprises, clawing and chewing – carpets can be a magnet for puppies and kittens! Taking off shoes and using doormats outside of each door will also prevent dirt, grime and debris being trampled indoors.
Stain guarding: Some new carpets have stain guarding elements built-in, but make sure the chemicals used for this are toxin and VCO-free.
Other tips: If deep-cleaning your carpet, ask your carpet cleaning technician about additional stain guard treatments for your carpet, making cleaning up after those little accidents SO much easier!
Emergency planning: For those evening and weekend emergencies when time is of the essence and it’s not practical or possible to call in a carpet cleaning firm, having a few natural home remedies in your back pocket will go a long way. White vinegar, baking soda, lemons, baking soda and coconut oil are some of the best natural cleaning companions it’s possible to buy.
- Other tips: check out some of these natural remedies for tackling those tough stains on the spot. If you’ve tried everything and it still won’t budge, ask me and my team about stain and stain prevention treatments.
Pets in your home (and on your carpet): some might say no home is complete without a dog but they can play havoc with the hygiene and smell levels in even the most particular of homes. Keeping your home regularly vacuumed is essential – don’t forget under the furniture, where those ‘hair tumbleweeds’ gather.
- Other tips: keeping the dogs’ feet clean (wiping down/washing after walking) can help, as can regular trips to the groomer. Use a pet tool to suck up hair and pet debris from furniture and drapes, too. Steam cleaning upholstery and sofas as well as deep cleaning carpets will ensure that they remain cleaner for longer.
‘Maintenance packages’: To ensure your carpets stays hygienic and fighting fit for longer, consider regular carpet maintenance. Frequent carpet cleaning will help limit potential contaminants and pollutants from becoming harmful and you can get a cheaper deal if you block-book cleans. Learn more about the Pure Clean Club to look after your carpets all year long.
That’s it in a nutshell – there are we can help with some of the above, not all of course – but either way, it’s now over to YOU!
Take action: don’t put it off
It’ll all be here before you know it, you know.
Even if you’re knee-deep in appointments, immunisations, parent and toddler groups and PTA meet-ups, you still want to be confident that your home is clean, breathable and protected against those little spillages.
If you’re curious and intend to do something about preparing your carpets for baby’s arrival or protecting them before your baby is mobile, enquire about health checks or cleaning offers with a local carpet cleaning firm.
(Plus – that’s another thing ticked off your ever-increasing list of things to do!)
Get Professionally Cleaned Carpets Ready for Baby
PS: This resource from the NHS is a great list for general cleanliness and hygiene. Knowing how to clean is as important as knowing what to clean.
NHS link to keeping your home in tip top shape. And having a clean home does wonders for your general health and wellbeing – reaaaally important during those sleepless nights.
PPS: My company is currently offering a 15 minute ‘health check’ for your carpets where we advise on the best treatment and products for you. The health check includes a no-obligation assessment of all carpets in your home, with a custom follow-up report. We’re also introducing our Carpet Cleaning Club: a cost-effective monthly subscription service. For less than the cost of a supermarket takeaway, get two gold star deep cleans plus three ‘SOS’ call out every year.