“Carpets are a sink hole for toxins of all kinds that are brought into the home (or business) on shoes and boots, including pollens, lead, pesticides, and more. The cumulative levels of chemicals can become quite significant given that it is hard to clean carpets frequently and well enough, to remove the pollution buildup.”
Green living author, Amy Bond, writing for the Dr. Frank Lipman Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York
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Carpet has been described as “the largest filter in your facility.” In a zone of under an inch just below your feet, there is an entire world of activity going on between strands of carpet fibers. Carpets trap dirt and moisture, which leads to mold and mildew. Germs can also thrive there.
PRINCIPLE: Carpets are huge sponges that tend to retain what you leave on and in them.
GETTING AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Cut pile carpet can hide up to a pound of soil per square foot. Once soils and particulates have moved from the upper surfaces where they are easily removed by a commercial-quality vacuum, to the lower layers and under the carpet backing where suction is severely restricted, they become part of the carpet’s semi-permanent micro-environment.
PRINCIPLE: If the first three rules in real estate are location, location, location - the first three rules in getting ahead of carpet problems by vacuuming are frequency, frequency, frequency.
Longevity of carpet is also affected by frequency of vacuuming. When sand and grit are present, carpet fibers are crushed and worn between them as shoes apply pressure from above. If the carpet is clean, fibers rub against other fibers. If the carpet is full of soils, the fibers are ground like flour in a stone mill.
According to Mertel Carpets, average non-commercial carpet life in a family of 2-4 persons is 3-5 years. However, daily vacuuming in high-traffic areas and vacuuming every 2-3 days in low-traffic areas will “add many years” to the carpet lifespan. If that is true for a family of 2-4, certainly high-traffic areas in a building should be vacuumed beginning at a minimum of daily, and probably several times each day in high-traffic zones. The investment in daily care goes against the very large costs of restoration and replacement.
PRINCIPLE: Once the carpet has reached the point of appearing dirty, much damage is being done and it is time for restoration. Restoration is hard on carpets, expensive to perform, and therefore, something we want to move out into the future as far as possible.
WINTER MEANS SOGGY CARPET
Although water can become a problem when too much is using during summer extraction, most problem moisture occurs in winter. Particularly if your matting system is inadequate at entryways. Then your carpet becomes the entryway mat extension.
Moisture promotes the life of germs, molds and mildews. Dr. Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona, reports 5,000 bacteria can cling to one square inch of shoe soles. Gerba found that the same scraping, cleaning and drying actions 3-stage matting systems provide can also remove most of the germs at the door.
PRINCIPLE: Just as for hard floors, damage and staining of carpets can be reduced tremendously in winter by application of adequate entry mat systems and good clean-in-place principles. What is an adequate entry mat system? Click here for seven tips.