When you think of the most germ ridden areas of your house, many of us would immediately think about the bathroom. Maybe the toilet is the first thing that comes to mind.

Yes, there are plenty of germs in that area. But the toilet doesn't even come close to the amount of bad stuff in terms of germs you will find on the floors of your house.

"You have a couple of different things getting tracked in ... salmonella, staph and e-coli," said Bobby Middleton of Rug-Ratz Carpet Cleaning.

Here's a fun and really gross fact for you: Bacteria love munching on dead skin cells. Considering that the average person sheds about 1.5 million cells every hour, that turns your rugs into a fine dining experience when you add food particles, pet dander, pollen, and other bits. About 200,000 bacteria live in each square inch of carpet, nearly 700 times more than on your toilet seat.

Middleton, a local cleaning expert, named his company Rug-Ratz because of the time many, especially kids, spend rolling around on the floor.

"We've seen everything from where you can physically see it, a pet had an accident ... ate something they weren't supposed to eat and got sick on the carpet and we're called in to remove that," said Middleton.

The Environmental Protection Agency has researched the topic extensively. They say shoes are bringing in everything from fecal matter to E-coli, rodent droppings, toxic herbicides, cigarette residue, pollen and lead dust all on the soles of our shoes.

Reiko Reavis advocates for cleaner homes in the U.S. by adopting the Japanese custom of taking off your shoes before entering a home. "The reason why is in Japan we eat on the floor, we sleep near the floor on a futon and we are always close to the floor. It's kind of dirty to bring shoes into the house."

Are most Americans going to take this advice? Probably not. So health experts say hire a company to deep clean also known as steam clean at least once a year.

"Steam cleaning, hot water extraction. There's a pre-treatment, the pre-treatment involves emulsifiers that break loose soils and oils that break loose from the carpet and suspend them so that the steam can rinse them and there all extracted out into my truck," said Middleton.

And something else to think about ... even if you get those carpets deep cleaned regularly don't forget about what's right outside your front door.

"This is a good example of things that can be tracked in the home. Water is coming off the roof and sort of standing here. It's not running off fast enough. So you're growing mold and algae. Walking over this the spores would attach itself to the bottom of your feet and you would carry it right in your home. So that would be another reason to remove your shoes until you can get it taken car of," said Middleton.

Studies suggest most of us spend about 70 percent of our time inside our homes. Healthy and Cleaner Homes advocates say with that much time being spent inside we should all take a second look at what we're living on everyday.


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