We all want to live in a safe environment, to keep ourselves and our families healthy. But to be able to maintain a healthy home, you need to be armed with the facts so you know what you’re up against and what to do about it.
For instance, did you know that...
It’s true. In fact:
It's Not Just Allergens, It's Bacteria Too
Allergens aren’t the only challenge we face in maintaining a healthy home. Bacteria is another obstacle in our path. It’s been reported that 7 pathogens or types of bacteria – not hundreds or thousands – cause 90% of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. 
One little known fact is that carpets, rugs and upholstery act as air filters in the home, trapping allergens and bacteria that would otherwise circulate more freely in your home. These soft furnishings are our healthy allies – sort of unsung heroes – in our home.
However, periodic deep cleaning of these carpets, rugs and upholstery is required for them to remain optimally effective in their mission of capturing and holding unhealthy particles.
There are other surfaces where allergens and bacteria can build up. Over time, dirt, grime and allergens build up in the porous surfaces of your stone, tile and grout flooring and even granite countertops, which can lead to bacteria growth.
We love them and they’re a big part of our families. Although not all homes own a pet, one study found that 100% of homes in the U.S. have detectable levels of dog and cat dander.  However it got there, on clothes or footwear or some other way, pet dander is everywhere. And what’s even more shocking is the level of pet dander in many homes:
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org) defines an allergy as the reaction of your immune system to a foreign substance, called an allergen. An allergen could be something eaten, inhaled into your lungs, injected into your body or touched. Potential symptoms of an allergic reaction include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. Rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks and even death are more severe reactions to allergens.
The most common allergic reaction is called allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. This condition is a general term used to described symptoms that affect the nose. Typical symptoms include:
There are generally two types of hay fever:
Allergic reactions come from indoor and outdoor triggers. Sinus swelling, seasonal and recurring allergies along with hay fever and nasal allergies can all be triggered by indoor and outdoor sources. 
The most common triggers include: tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches and dander (from cats, dogs and even rodents!). 
Think your bathroom is the dirtiest place in your home? Research by NSF International in 2011 showed that your kitchen actually has the most germs. NSF International asked families to swab 30 household items to measure contamination levels of the most common forms of bacteria and germs, as well as yeast and mold. Both of these are considered to be triggers for allergic reactions.
Some sobering highlights include:
Regular household cleaning is a simple, inexpensive but effective regimen that helps reduce overall exposure to allergens, dust, bacteria and dander.
It is recommended to use a quality vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter weekly or at least every other week to pick up surface level dirt, dust and other unhealthy elements and to help maintain your carpet’s ability to act as an effective filter.
Periodic deep cleanings are also recommended, which can get down to the base of the carpet where much of the dirt, allergens and bacteria settle. Seek the services of a qualified professional carpet cleaning company 2-3 times per year. Educate yourself on the options. Some services like traditional steam cleaners use not only soapy water but high pressure, which can soak through to the base of the carpet backing and create a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. With typical steam cleaning, your carpets often stay wet for 2 or more days, which is also a nuisance for the family. Other services like Chem-Dry use green certified solutions without any soaps or detergents and use far less water, so carpets dry faster – within a couple of hours rather than a couple of days.