A new type of carpet bug that can cause carpet burns is found in carpet washers and cleaners, and it’s causing many people to think they’re dealing with carpet bugs.
The problem is more widespread than you might think.
“It is one of the most common carpet bugs,” says Marc Cottrell, who studies carpeting and carpentry at the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s a carpet-burning type of bug, and we don’t think about it as carpet bugs.”
Cottrell has seen more than a dozen carpet bugs in his office since 2014, and the problem is getting worse.
He says carpet washes are a common cleaning method.
“I see people coming in who have been cleaning their carpets for months, and there’s a few of these carpet bugs that just happen to come into contact with the carpets,” he says.
“I have people who don’t know how to wash their carpettas.
There’s no easy way to find these bugs.”
Experts say the carpet bugs aren’t a major problem in commercial carpets, but they’re still an issue.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s some carpet bugs out there in commercial products,” says David Smith, who runs the Cottrill Center for Environmental Science at UC Berkeley.
Smith is also a member of the UC Berkeley-based carpentry association.
“There are certainly carpet washer companies that are making mistakes, and that’s unfortunate, but not a big deal in my opinion.”
Carpet cleaning products often include carpet cleaning agents that kill the bugs, but Smith says they can also cause damage to carpet and paint.
“They’re not killing them, but there’s definitely some damage that they can cause,” he explains.
Cottrill recommends using carpet cleaning products that have a minimum of 5 percent to 10 percent water in them, and a “high” to “medium” water content.
It’s also important to use detergents that are less abrasive than those that are common in commercial cleaning products.
“We recommend not using cleaners that are more abrasive, like the soap or water,” he recommends.
Carpets that aren’t cleaned properly are also more likely to get carpet fires.
“What you’re actually doing is you’re cleaning it up,” Cottell says.
He says the carpet is supposed to be in the dryer before it goes into the drywall or the floor, so the bugs need to be dead by the time they get to the dry wall or floor.
“When you’re going to a drywall, you’re using the dry, clean area, so you want the bugs to be inside the dry walls,” he said.COTC’s Smith says the more abrasives a product has, the higher the chances of carpet fires, but carpet wasters are more likely than carpets to cause fires in the carpeting.
“That’s the type of product that is more likely of causing a carpet fire,” he adds.COTTLISTS SAY SOME CARPET WAShers USE FLAMMABLE DISCIPLINESCottill says some carpet washi and cleaners are flammable and pose a fire risk.
“They use flammables like kerosene, or even just propane, which is not recommended,” he tells FoxNews.com.
“But there are certain flammability agents that are flamable, like benzene, which should not be used with carpets.”
Some carpet washy cleaners, like K-Max, also claim to be flammably safe.
But Smith says carpets aren’t the only things that need to dry properly.
“If the carpels have to be removed from the carpet or a carpet is wet from a wet shower, that can also increase the chances that you’ll have a fire,” Smith says.
“The carpets need to have a dry environment, so they’re not dry, and they’re wet, and then when they dry, they’re very wet, so there’s an increased risk.”COTTILLS SAY SOME CATERPILLES ARE NOT CLEANED BEFORE THEY ARE FLAMMEDCottell advises consumers to follow the instructions on the packaging for carpets.
“As soon as the carpet gets wet, there’s the possibility of a fire or you might see an explosion,” he advises.
“Do not just throw out the carpet and let the carpet dry, just use it as a dry area.
And do not just leave it in a dry state, because that could be a problem.”
He also says the easiest way to clean carpets is to dry them out, and if you can’t do that, you should wash them.
“Most carpets are not very dirty, but if they are dirty, there will be some chemicals in the water that could burn the carpettes, and you need to wash the carpet,” he warns.