Health Effects of Hidden Bacterial Growth

When people hear the words Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, and Legionella they think of a biology lab or a doctor’s office filled with sick patients. But the truth is these are the chief types of harmful bacteria actually found in people’s homes! These pathogenic strains of bacteria when under the right circumstances can cause illness ranging from food poisoning, to boils on the skin or other skin infections, sore throats, and even pneumonia.  The common breeding grounds for these harmful bacteria or any other bacteria in a house can be linked to a source of water. In addition, sources of water are also breeding grounds for mold and fungi which can also lead to serious health problems. Mold can cause an allergic response in many people which can lead to symptoms such as runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing in many people. Additionally, mold and bacteria can cause asthma and infection of the respiratory tract. 

Common Places for Microbial Growth and How to Identify Growth

If you think of all the wet places in a house such as; kitchens, bathrooms, hot tubs, laundry rooms and even basements. Some of the less obvious places to find bacterial growth are; bathroom rugs, wet area rugs, wet carpet, sponges, mops, cleaning rags or even dish towels. Now that you know the common locations for microbial growth here are some steps to identify if you have mold or bacteria growing in hidden places.

  • The first thing to do is a basic visual inspection. Look for any water spots on the ceiling or on your walls. Look for discoloration on your wall such as yellow marks or streaks.
  • Look for any paint that’s cracked or peeling.
  • Another simple way of checking for growth is to simply smell around. If any areas smell musty or like mildew then there is a good possibility of microbial growth. Sometimes a strange odor will be your only sign of a mold problem.
  • Check the gutters on your house. Plugged up gutters can lead to water running down the side of your house.
  • Lastly, take note of any new allergy symptoms you may have recently come across.

Natural Disasters and Floods

The recent disaster on the east coast known as hurricane Sandy has turned thousands of homes into bacterial breeding grounds. Thousands of houses and business were a under a few feet of water. This basically turns any building into heaven for bacteria and mold. Bacteria start to grow in places where it is extremely hard to dry after water exposure such as in your walls and in your carpets and rugs. In fact, one particular type of mold that has been recently highlighted in the media is Stachybotrys chartarumStachybotrys is a greenish-black mold that grows on materials with high cellulose content such as drywall, wood, paper, ceiling tiles that are chronically wet or moist. It is one of several molds that can produce a mycotoxin.

Here is an interesting video on Stachybotrys:

Mycotoxins can cause a wide variety of health problems with long exposure. Materials like these tend to get saturated with water and hold on to this water for a very long time which turns these materials into microbial breeding grounds. The shortest solution to minimize growth after a disaster like Sandy is to dry everything out. In addition, you should consider getting your carpets cleaned and your area rugs sent to a reputable company who uses only organic soaps to professionally clean and revitalize your rugs. By minimizing standing water or even moisture in your home or building you will be creating an environment in which bacteria cannot survive. 

Do You Need Area Rug Cleaning? Contact Our Professional Rug Cleaning:

Ready to clean your area rugs? The first step? Getting your fast, free, no-obligation quote from one of our revitaRUGS Experts! Call us at 1.855.5.REVITA or, fill out our contact form here. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you might have about your rug cleaning process.