Don’t be fooled by what you don’t see on the surface of your carpet. When you and your family members come into your home, pollens, bacteria, fungus and pollutants are carried in and can end up in your carpet. There is no quick way to make sure your carpets are thoroughly cleaned, that is why it is always best to hire a professional carpet cleaning service to job right. Until then, here are 12 fascinating facts about your carpet and how to keep it clean, and germ free.

1. The Norwalk virus or Norovirus (the virus that causes the stomach flu) can survive on an uncleaned carpet for a month or more.

2. Microbiologists have identified air blown from a running vacuum cleaner as one of the five places in the home that has the highest numbers of germs. Other places include dish sponges, washing machines, bathroom toilets during a flush, and kitchen trash cans.

3. To remove gum from carpet, try pressing ice cubes against the gum until it becomes brittle and breaks off. Then use a spot remover to get rid of the remnants.

4. Each year, several pounds of soil can accumulate in and under a carpet.

5. Bed bugs can live in carpet fibers and wooden floorboards. For their size, they are extremely fast and can crawl more than 100 feet to obtain a blood meal, usually at night from people who are sleeping. Engorgement takes about three to 10 minutes yet people rarely realize they are being bitten.

6. Wall-to-wall carpeting is less healthy than smaller rugs because wall-to-wall carpets tend to be more permanent and harder-to-clean endpoints for moisture, chemicals, liquids, crumbs, and other spills that provide molds, mildew, yeasts, and bacteria (such as e-coli) with a rich and nearly continuous supply of nutrients.

7. In an ABC News investigation, a black light illuminated traces of urine not only on hotel walls, bedspreads, and bathroom vanity stools, but also on the carpeting. In every room they tested, from rooms priced at $55 a night to $400 a night, lab results showed traces of urine or semen in every room. Additionally, hotel rooms that allow pets may harbor fleas or animal urine in the carpet.

8. To make a carpet brighter, sprinkle salt onto the carpet and let it stand for an hour before vacuuming it up. Salt is also effective in removing muddy footprints.

9. Club soda is effective in getting up fresh stains in carpet. Just pour some on the spot, let it set for a few seconds, and then sponge it up.

10. To remove candle wax from a carpet, place a brown paper bag over the spot and put a hot iron over it. The wax will be absorbed into the bag.

11. To raise depressions in the carpet left by heavy furniture, hold a steam iron close enough for steam to reach the carpet, but don’t let the iron touch the carpet. Lift fibers by scraping them with edge of a coin or spoon.

12. One family kept falling ill with gastrointestinal problems because a leaky vacuum cleaner kept redepositing Salmonella germs from the carpet into the household air.