Today I was (window) shopping with a friend and happened upon a gorgeous woven mat that I really fell in love with. I was umming and aaahhing over it, as I “wasn’t really supposed to be” spending money – but it was just so “me”… The sales assistant could see I was tempted but reluctant, so tried to sweeten the deal by offering me a discount, her reason being that this particular rug was a display rug, that she casually mentioned had been on the floor for around 5 months.
As she spoke to me, another customer happened to be standing on the mat in a big dirty pair of sneakers, and this really brought it home to me what “on the floor for 5 months” actually meant.
It meant that God only knows how many dirty pairs of shoes have walked over and over that mat since it’s been on the floor of that shop.
And in that moment, you couldn’t have paid me to take that gorgeous mat and put it in my home!
Now, I’m not particularly finicky, I have a child, a dog and a cat, and I am of the opinion that exposure to the odd germ is actually not a bad thing, as it increases our immune response and makes us stronger.
But get this: “Carpets contain a wealth of information because they are a magnet for house dust. These archaeological sites may contain up to 1kg of dust per square metre.” (Nicole Bijlsma – Healthy Homes)
In my home we take our shoes off before going inside, as one thing I know for sure is shoes worn all over the place can track some nasty stuff through a house, which manifests as toxic dust that can really impact your health.
Imagine you walk along or across a road even once a day. If you live in a town or city it will likely be a busy road. All of the nasty chemicals from passing cars, exhaust fumes, etc. are being picked up on your shoes. Then you go home and walk those same shoes through your house… Not a good scene for your health – especially if you have young children who spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor! It’s a fact that most household dust is tracked in from shoes with a significantly smaller proportion coming in from outdoor air.
Needless to say, I did NOT buy that mat (I will however be searching Auntie Google for one that hasn’t been on the floor) , and I urge you to really think about what you and your family might be tracking into your house.
If you don’t already, consider making your home a “shoe-free zone” and protect the health of your family.
If you’re not convinced, think about these facts… “Exposure to this kind of pollution may lead to a number of health problems, including allergies (hay fever) and respiratory illnesses such as asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis to cardiovascular disease (diesel exhaust). “
“Babies and infants are at particular risk because their breathing zone is only a few centimetres from the floor. Children may ingest up to 10 grams of dust per day because they put their fingers in their mouths. According to David Suzuki (2000), toddlers ingest toxic compounds such as pesticides, cooking fumes and cigarette smoke from their carpets, which is equivalent in harm to smoking 3 cigarettes a day!”
Whilst you can never totally get rid of dust from a home, good housekeeping (and a decent vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter) will significantly reduce the levels.
And think twice before buying display (or second-hand) rugs or mats!