How to Kill Bacteria or Remove Allergens in the Carpet

By Melissa Lewis

Carpets can become a repository of allergens such as dust mites, which trigger allergic reactions. Bacteria, such as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, can sometimes be found in your carpet as well. To address bacteria and allergens in carpets, pursue more than one cleaning method.

Studio shot of toddler on plush rug
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Bacteria and allergens in your carpet can be kept at a minimum.

Step 1

Vacuum frequently with a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove dust mites. If possible, invest in a carpet with short piles so vacuuming is more efficient at removing the dust mites near the bottom. Vacuuming also sucks up pet hair and dander, another common allergen found in carpet.

Step 2

Steam-clean the carpet using hot water and an appropriate detergent safe for use with your machine. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the solution to help kill the bacteria found in the carpet. Read the owner's manual first before adding an additive, such as vinegar, to a carpet-cleaning machine.

Step 3

Lower the humidity in your home and maintain levels below 50 percent. Excess humidity can cause dampness in your carpet, creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites. Run a can use a dehumidifier, install a dehumidifier on your furnace or install vents in the most humid rooms in the home, such as the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms.

Step 4

Spray a disinfectant safe for fabrics on the carpet to kill the bacteria. If you want to kill a specific bacterium, clean with a disinfectant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as an effective disinfectant for that particular bacteria.