Carpet Not Cleaned In 30 Years


My in-laws installed carpet in their home 30 years ago. It was high quality and vacuumed regularly; it still looks good. However, they have never had the carpet professionally cleaned in any way (either steamed or shampooed). We may inherit this home one day. By then the carpet will be 40 or more years old. Are their any health or cleanliness problems we should be concerned about?
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My inlaws house is the same way. The house was built in '74 and the carpet has never been professional cleaned, just vacuumed. They always took their shoes off when they came in the house and put on slippers. The green shag still looks like new.
Jimmie
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No matter how well it is vacuumed, after 40 years it will still be loaded with all sorts of dirt deep down in the pile. I'd get rid of it. Just recently heard that carpet can weigh twice as much as new because of the accumulated dust over the years. I don't know if that is completely true. If they have pets, I'd get rid of it before moving in.
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It is amazing how much dirt you will find UNDER a carpet. The fine dust and dirt filters down the pile, through the backing and sits on the floor or the underpad. Also an underpad that is 30 years old will also be deteriorating and probably is just crumbs where the heavy traffic is. No amount of shampooing and cleaning will remove this stuff from under the carpet. Actually wetting the carpet may make it worse.
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I can't think of any health hazard but would probably have house professionally cleaned when empty. A new carpet actually presents higher health hazards while fumes from the manufacturing process clear.
Frank
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Yuck! Get rid of it no matter how good it looks. Open up all of the shades and blinds in the house and turn on all of the lights to get a good look. There are a tremendous amount of floor covering options today. Start looking at them and decide what you might really want. Ask realtors what they think in terms of resale value.
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Robinkae wrote:

A forty year accumulation of dirt particles buried in the carpet and pad. It's up to you whether that's a concern for you or not.
The carpet backing is probably crumbling already, and might be showing visible decay in just a few more years. My brother and I pulled 30-year old carpeting out of his house. While pulling it up it tore almost as easily as paper. Turned out the backing was brittle and crumbling.
HellT
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We just hauled up the carpet in our daughter's room to replace it with laminate, we bought the house 3 weeks ago, and under the carpet and regular underlay, there was some black rubbery stuck to the floorboards underlay. I'm guessing it was there for the 30 years the house has been built. The stink from it was disgusting, as soon as you opened the door to the room it assaulted you. I would definately haul it up if it's still on the floor at that point. Based on what we saw/smelled in our daughter's room, we decided to renovate the other bedroom as well just to eliminate it.

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On Sun, 10 Aug 2008 21:45:41 -0700 (PDT), Robinkae

Health problems, I doubt it. How is the health of your in-laws?
I say, Wait another 30 years and then it's your children's problem.
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Robinkae wrote:

any chance is there hardwood under there? If the house was built in 1968, I'd say probably, but if it was built in 1978, it gets iffy. Next time you are over there, pull up a heat grate from the floor, and take a peek. If there is hardwood, it's a no brainer- pull the carpet out and get the floors cleaned or refinished. (Sometimes, if it was a factory finish on the hardwood and they didn't have pets or houseplants on the floor, you get lucky and all it needs is cleaning and waxing.)
If no hardwood, I agree with the others- time for a rip'n'replace. In 30-40 years, no matter how clean a house, there will be a layer of crud under there.
I'm not a fan of w/w carpet, for lots of reasons. Not being allergy-friendly is just one of them.
-- aem sends...
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If the layer of crud is under there and so well embedded that neither steam nor vacuum can remove it, what difference does it make?
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None if is stays there, but it may be unhealthy if particles become airborne. Can't tell from where we sit.
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If neither steam nor vacuum can free the particles, they won't become airborn.
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Maybe, but there can still be some particulate, like the outgassing of chemical that you can't vacuum away or steam clean. Depends on what is actually in there, how well embedded or how fast/slow it is deteriorating. Running a vacuum cleaner over the carpet for a few minutes once or twice a week is not the same as exposure 24 hours a day.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

On the other hand, the aged and infirm folks have lived with it for thirty years - and will do so for another ten - so there's obviously not a problem for normal folk. Only defective humans need worry.
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On Sun, 10 Aug 2008 21:45:41 -0700 (PDT), Robinkae

Sorry OP, but RID yourself of the carpet.
But, not before they (in/outlaws) move out. ymmv.
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Well you can see that a lot of people are concerned, but not I, that I have seen, has any real reason to believe so. We don't need to live in a sterile environment. In fact we don't.
OK if you pull it up, you will find DIRT under it. Likely anyway. Now, go out the front door and look around. Guess what, there is dirt on the sidewalk, there is dirt under the grass. Get a life. If you want it cleaned, clean it.
Frankly I would expect carpet that old to be worn and read for replacement. Yea, I would clean things up before putting new down. But if the carpet is OK and you don't hate the color or style, I would sure leave it there.
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On Sun, 10 Aug 2008 21:45:41 -0700 (PDT), Robinkae

Probably. When the dead bodies of your in-laws decay on the carpet, there will likely be some odor as well as maggots and mold. You will also see a human body shaped stain on the carpet. At that point, it might be best to just replace the carpeting, unless you want to remember them everytime you walk into that room. If you do, I suggest you leave the dead maggots where they lay so you can enjoy their decay process. Placing a grave stone with religious cross on that spot is another option.
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