Clean Team

Most people clean carpets because they look bad.  Rarely does anyone acknowledge that their carpet needs to be cleaned to protect their health.  In spite of this, every time we extract pollutants from carpets we enhance the quality of the indoor environment by reducing exposures and protecting health.

For some time, we have known that outside contamination levels, especially in soil, can reach the same concentrations indoors.  Researchers have just begun to describe the chemical and biological contents of carpet dirt and house dust.

Studies also show that vacuuming with ineffective equipment does not reduce the level of fine particles indoors.  Particles of less than one micron tend to pass through vacuum cleaning bags. They build up over time and can cause great harm as they penetrate deep into our lungs. Furthermore, studies show that soil gases such as the harmful decay products of radon and a variety of organic compounds including pesticides – enter the microenvironment and adhere to particles or the surfaces of carpet and fabric.  Until those fibers are cleaned, the potential for humanexposure and health risk remains high.


Carpet Maintenance Analysis

Substances in CarpetMitigation guidanceVacuuming EffectHot Water Extraction Effect
SoilsWalk-off Mat and Frequent VacuumingHighHigh
Atmospheric DustsVacuuming, Cleaning and VentilationModerate to HighHigh
Toxic PMWalk-off Mat and Frequent VacuumingModerate to HighHigh
Chemical/PesticideActivity ManagementLowHigh

PollenWalk-off Mat and Frequent VacuumingHighHigh
FungiDry, Walk-off Mat and Frequent VacuumingHighHigh
MycotoxinDry, Walk-off Mat and Frequent VacuumingModerate to HighHigh
MiteDry, Frequent VacuumingModerate to HighModerate to High
CockroachDry, Frequent VacuumingModerate to HighModerate to High
Cat and DogActivity ManagementModerateModerate to High
Infectious Agents

BacteriaFrequent CleaningLow-ModerateModerate-High
EndotoxinFrequent CleaningModerate to HighHigh
VirusesFrequent CleaningLowHigh



Annual Book of ASTM Standards, “Strand Laboratory Method for Evaluation of Carpet-Embedded Dirt Removal Effectiveness of Household Vacuum Cleaners, Vol 15.07, 376-390, 1986.

ASTM D 5438-94. Standard Practice for Collection of Dust from Carpeted Floors for Chemical Analyses. American Society of Testing and Materials.

Ayliffe GAJ, et. al, Cleaning and Disinfection of Hospital Floors, Brit Med Journal, 2:442-445, 1966.

Gschwandtner, Gerhard, Dennis Sanders, Michael A. Berry, Measurements of Indoor ParticulatePollution from Household Vacuum Cleaning, paper presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Air and Waste Management Association, Anaheim California, June 25-30, 1989.

Lefcoe, N.M. I.I. Incult, Archieve Environmental Health Vol. 22, pages 230-238, 1971. 

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