Kicking the Bugs and Morgellons Out of Your Carpet. 9/27/2022


Linda emailed me asking about how to clean and disinfect rugs. She's not the first, some time ago, Susan wrote,

"Hi Richard,

Thank you for all that you do to help people with this challenge,

Can you please tell me the best way to treat carpet.  I just moved into a new apartment and they are in the carpet.  
I Think I have Collembia or mites.  I do vacuum everyday and I can use DE mixed with water,

Just not sure it's a good idea to wet the carpet.  I can use just the powder but it seems to stay in the carpet even if I vacuum.


Carpet can be a challenge and sometimes you just have to experiment to see what works. For me, diatomaceous earth and spraying with ammonia was all that was required. I didn't vacuum up the DE, but left it in the carpet. Back then, I didn't know that I could spread the DE by spraying it with water. Instead, I used a duster and wore a breathing mask. To apply with water, using a funnel. put 2 tablespoons of DE in a 32 oz spray bottle and fill with water. Shake vigorously and spay lightly. You can spray walls, floors, rugs, bedding, clothes, and so on. Because, the DE is wet, you really can't see it as you spray so be careful to avoid over spraying. When it dries, you'll see it, so you might experiment with a small area to get an idea as to how to apply it. Boric acid would be another option to DE.

An alternative to DE are boric acid crystals dissolved in warm water and then sprayed. Again, there will be a white dust when dried.

To avoid mold or mildew, the idea is not to soak the carpet, but just lightly spray it. You can always operate a fan to dry it.

When you are dealing with carpet, you are dealing with layers: First there's the pile of the carpet which can be short or long shag or weaves. Then, there's the backing which can be multiple weaves that holds the pile together. And then there's the padding, of various thicknesses, which is under the backing. Organisms can be as deep as the underside of the padding which could make it very difficult or almost impossible to disinfect.

First, steam cleaning is impracticable for two reasons:
To get the padding hot enough it takes about 5 minutes with the steamer at one spot to heat and kill the organisms.
As the padding is heating up, the organisms will simply migrate away from the steam.

You can try ozone but if the organisms are deep in the padding, it won't work.

Likewise if you have an electrostatic sprayer you can try it with a disinfectant like Mediclean or enzymes, but again, if the organisms are in the padding it won't get deep enough.

The most effective approach, if any will work, is to use a shampooer. Add 2 capfulls of NG Concentrate plus
a half cup of white vinegar or
one part Mediclean to 8 parts of water or
some other disinfectant
about 2 or 3 tablespoons of DE or
stir in boric acid until it doesn't dissolve (must use warm water)
and then and a dropper of lavender essential oil for fragrance and disinfection value.
Shampoo the rug and then use a fan to dry the carpet.

You may need to shampoo every week or two to get the carpet under control.

How often you should vacuum? 
Only vacuum when necessary. The DE or boric acid will stay in the pile and the nap where it will shred any organisms coming up from the padding. Note that boric acid also dries white just as it was before dissolving it.

A more dramatic approach would be to spray the rug with lime sulfur solution. Our 5 ounce bottle of concentrate makes 5 quarts of solution. You may want to test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure the rug is not discolored. Again, avoid over wetting. And, you will have the distasteful odor of sulfur for several hours.

If you're dealing with Collembola, you might want to wear riding boots as you apply so they do not jump onto the lower portion of your legs and ankles."

I thank Susan and Linda for writing. As you see there is no one thing to do. You start basic with ammonia and if you need more, you go further. Sometimes, if it's an old carpet or rug, it's simply easier to throw out the rug or carpet and replace with tile or wood. If you're dealing with a resistant strain of skin parasites and have successfully disinfected your rugs or carpets, kindly write me back with how you did it--we learn from each other.