CarpetWhere else in the world would you see as many carpets as in the UK? Now, I don’t mean smart hand woven rugs from Persia. I mean nasty grey or blue acrylic carpets that seem to be found everywhere in British public buildings, and horrible patterned fitted carpets in homes – like the one pictured. So why this obsession?

You can’t fail to notice the carpets all over the place in the UK. From the passport check area at Heathrow airport, to the floors of government buildings… Brits tend to also put fitted wall-to-wall carpets in all of their houses, sometimes even in the bathroom!

This strikes me as a very unhealthy obsession indeed. Carpets are harder to clean than solid floors, although they do not show the dirt so easily. So are all these carpets just intended to cover up the dirt?

1 square metre of carpet contains 100000 dust mites according to this article from the BBC, and many are starting to link carpets to the high rates of asthma in the UK – we have more sufferers per head of population than any other European country.

Or does the issue come back once more to the inherently bad design of British buildings? For more on that, see this post. If I was to even contemplate tearing up the carpets in my flat in South London, I very much doubt whether the floor board to be found underneath would be even close to adequate as a basis for a solid floor.

So the next time you feel that squeak of the acrylic carpet under your feet, ask yourself: do we really need that?

7 Comments

  1. The reason the “British” took to fitted carpets in the 1950’s is because the climate is so damned awful and they like to feel all cosy and snug at home, plus it provided employment for “the carpet fitter” especially in New Towns such as Basildon, just an example. Fluffy slippers go with fitted carpets.

  2. Mastro Ciliegia

    Because in this country there is not a great sense of hygiene, especially in private houses, compared to private residences in Southern Europe and most of USA and latin America. In UK, if they re “clean”, they clean the house once a week (Full vacuum and mopping all floors and removing settlement dust,)

    Carpet is the dirtiest things you can have. I only like it in offices. Why have carpet in bedrooms? Bedrooms for me is the worst place to have a carpet. When you have new-born or young kids when they re sick for example, they vomit, or spill stuff on the floor. How you clean that? The dust carpets collect is unbelievable. The only good thing of carpet is that you can spit on them.

    Same for the lack of bidet. If you accidentally fell and your hand ends up on faeces, of human or animals, would you just clean your hand with a piece of paper? NO, YOU WOULD RINSE IT WITH WATER.
    I do not want to hear no excuses, “my behind is perfectly clean with paper”. NO, it is just that hygiene is not a big thing in UK, no other way around it.

  3. Edward Elric

    I’m too late for this post but recently I have moved to the UK and I can’t help but to be extremely annoyed with carpets in their houses .. my house have all carpets from stares to the upper floor and the ones before us were super dirty that it smell when when first got there and we cleaned it and it was a disaster ..till now I can’t really cope with it being underneath my feet ..I wish there are houses out there with no carpets or maybe I can remove them and replace them with wooden floor ??? I’m going mad here >.< But seriously I can't but to love everything else about the UK houses they are otherwise very smartly built ^^

  4. You forgot carpets are even in trains (although are being replaced), bathroom (!!!)

  5. Leszek

    It makes sense, as it isolates noise and provides a better learning environment in universities, libraries and so on. Something you never miss until you notice the difference.

  6. Angelo Olmetto

    As a foreign and hygiene-obsessed person, I can’t help hating carpets. I do acknowledge its fluffiness and the warm feeling under your feet but, as you said, it covers the dirt and it’s a nightmare to clean, not to mention when you find it in the bathroom (XO). I even thought that British houses were floored with carpets by law! Lol
    I guess carpets are another adorable weird British thing I’ll have to deal with in this lovely country.

  7. Niklas Henricson

    LOL I so agree with you man… It is completely an obsession with that! And so ugly too! I mean I understand official buildings to save money. It is cheaper replacing a carpet than polish a wooden or tiled floor or put plastic floor that over the years people move and drag furniture on, but we count that as a natural cost when repairing a house as much as re-painting it or redo electrics!

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