CLEAN. MEASURE. MONITOR.
Here are some issues regarding COIVD and carpet cleaning that building managers need to know to protect the health of building users.
But first, when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and stopping the spread of coronavirus, we are most often discussing hard surfaces such as high-touch points – light switches, door handles, even glass – as well as floors. But there is a soft surface we should not overlook, especially at this time, and that is carpet.
Although carpet is not in vogue as much as it was years ago, it is still found in many commercial facilities. Schools and offices install carpet for a variety of reasons, including to help “quiet” these locations. In addition, studies have found that carpet absorbs airborne impurities, just like a sponge absorbs water. This helps protect the health of building users.
Traditionally, soft flooring requires carpet extraction once or twice a year, with interim cleaning filling in the gaps. However, due to COVID, carpet cleaning has changed a bit. Here are some things Service Keepers advises our clients when it comes to cleaning carpet in the COVID era and what we think everyone should know.
We clean some carpets using dry, bonnet, and shampoo cleaning methods. These are what are called “interim” cleaning strategies. They remove loose dirt before it becomes embedded in the fibers. However, to deep clean carpets, we use carpet extraction. This releases cleaning solutions into the carpet and then extracts the solution – along with soils and pathogens – in one step. Extraction is needed more frequently now due to COVID to ensure your facility remains clean and healthy. We will talk more about this later.
In the age of COVID, some of our clients ask us to “disinfect” their carpet. This needs some clarification. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we can only disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces. Carpet is soft and porous. As a result, we can only sanitize carpet. Sanitizing removes most, but not all, pathogens from the carpet. It is enough to protect human health.
Now, how do we sanitize carpet? First, we prespray an EPA N-List disinfectant onto the carpet using the hot-water extraction method while the carpet is damp. An N-List disinfectant is one that has been tested and proven effective against the pathogens that cause COVID. The carpet is then extracted as usual, removing the disinfectant as well as moisture, soils, and pathogens.
In an earlier post, we introduced you to our new staffer, The Whiz. He’s our autonomous vacuum cleaning robot. Most of the soil in carpet is dry soil, which is best removed by The Whiz and the other vacuum cleaners we use.
But here is what’s important to know.
The Whiz and our other vacuum cleaners are equipped with high-filtration filters, such as HEPA filters. When vacuuming carpet, these filters trap pathogens, including the coronavirus, preventing them from being released into the air. This helps protect indoor air quality and the health of your facility.
Right now, there is another way The Whiz is helping us as well. With COVID, transparency, even as it applies to cleaning, is imperative. When we use The Whiz to vacuum our client’s carpet, he automatically generates reports about when and where he was used. We share this data with our clients, and it helps us determine how we can best put him to use.
There are no standard guidelines as to how often carpet should be cleaned. For instance, in some facilities, we clean a carpet using one of the interim methods described earlier one or two times before cleaning using the extraction method. In other situations, we just extract the carpet once or twice per year.
Due to COVID, however, we need to revisit carpet cleaning frequencies. Carpet should be cleaned using the extraction method more frequently. Instead of twice a year, for example, we recommend three times per year or more, depending on the facility and how it is used. Or, if you are not using interim cleaning methods, now is the time to increase them, along with adding more frequent carpet extraction.
Here’s what we need to remember. As we fight the spread of COVID, most cleaning frequencies are being increased in every type of facility. To ensure the health of your building and building users, this needs to be applied to carpet as well.
Interested in learning more? Then get in touch today. We’re Service Keepers and we’re here for you.
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