Tag Archives: American Lung Association

Three Questions to Have Answered Before Hiring a Carpet Cleaning Company

Your first impression is a lasting one. This is particularly the case with your carpets, which represents a significant interior investment that gets a lot of foot traffic.

Below are three tips we have provided to help you in your quest to ensure you hire the right company to improve the appearance and health of your carpets.

Tip 1 – Is the Company Certified by a Reputable Organization?

It would not be wise to receive medical treatment from an unlicensed practitioner, nor would it be smart to hire a carpet cleaning firm that is not certified by a reputable organization.

Companies that are certified by a reputable organization are trained experts to avoid making mistakes such as using the wrong processes, equipment, and chemicals on your carpets.

How to find a certified carpet cleaning firm?

The main body that oversees the carpet cleaning industry is the Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Cleaning companies that have the IICRC seal of approval are deemed to be “experts” in the knowledge and execution of properly cleaning carpets. These certified companies are in it for the long haul and are not some fly-by-night operation.

The IICRC certification cannot be bought. Carpet cleaners must earn the certification through study, experience and successful completion of formal, written examinations. Cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have in effect earned a degree in carpet cleaning.

The IICRC website lists certified organizations within your area. Just choose your region, then enter your zip code to find local certified firms close to your facility.

By using a company that is certified by the IICRC, you not only improve the health and appearance of your carpets, you also prolong the life of your investment.

Tip 2 – How long has the company been in business?

Are you calling a small fly-by-night company to save money on cleaning your carpets? Or, are you reaching out to an established, reputable, and certified company to properly clean your carpets and improve the health of your indoor environment?

Not using the right products, processes and equipment to extract indoor air pollutants and restoratively clean your carpets can lead to greater health concerns. According to the American Lung Association, a higher level of indoor air pollution “contributes to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma.”

Also, indoor air pollution can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue. All of these factors lead to indoor environmental health issues, which play a significant role in lowering your level of productivity, not to mention how well you feel. This is why hiring a reputable company that specializes in cleaning carpets for both health and appearance is the way to go.

Also, when seeking the right company, be sure to investigate their track record working in similar environments. Not all carpet cleaning companies are the best fit for your needs.

For instance, a company that specializes in cleaning residential homes may not be the right fit to clean a large number of carpets in a school or commercial office facility. Using such a company may end up costing you a lot more in labor dollars as they may not have the correct equipment to clean your carpets efficiently.

Tip 3 – Did you receive a carpet cleaning recommendation?

Any carpet cleaning company can send you a quote, but does that quote include a recommendation of the right process to use?

There are two primary methods to use when cleaning your carpets – dry or wet clean.

Dry cleaning can involve any of the following methods:

  • Dry foam – includes an application of shampoo on your carpet, which is then left to dry. Once dried, the shampoo is extracted through a vacuum.
  • Dry-chem – this process is similar to the dry foam method. The main difference, however, is that when a dry-chemical is used, a large cotton bonnet is set on your carpet. Using a machine, the bonnet spins from side-to-side, absorbing the dirt in the carpet. After the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another cotton bonnet is applied. This process is referred to as “Bonnet Cleaning.”
  • Dry-compound – spreads an absorbent mixture that looks like wet sawdust all over your carpet. A machine is then used to brush the mixture into the carpet. Then when the mixture is dried, a vacuum cleaner is used to extract the material out of the carpet.

Neither of these options is the most effective as they can leave a residue that is hard to remove and can destroy your carpet fibers.

Wet clean via hot water extraction

If your carpets have not been cleaned in a while, then a more appropriate and effective method to clean your carpets is through a wet cleaning approach via hot water extraction.

With this method, a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into the carpet and then extracted immediately back out of the carpet. This process can be performed using either a portable machine or truck mount.

If you have carpet tiles and/or sensitive wiring underneath your carpet tile, then hot water extraction is not the way to go. A more appropriate use under these scenarios would be to use a low moisture encapsulation (LME) method.

The LME method is a newer technology that has recently become an accepted way for commercial and residential carpet deep cleaning. Encapsulation carpet chemicals are manufactured with ingredients that do not leave a harmful sticky residue on the carpet. They also have a crystalline polymer included that is designed to trap and hold any remaining soil that is left behind in the cleaning process. When the carpet dries, the crystalline and soil are vacuumed up during the next dry vacuum cycle.

The LME method is also recommended to be a good interim cleaning/maintenance process in between hot water extraction cleanings. Encapsulation cleaning keeps carpets cleaner for longer periods of time compared to other methods, and this method also avoids the drying time of carpet extractions as carpets can be immediately walked on.

While you may think hiring any carpet cleaning company will suffice, in reality, it won’t. Your carpets trap many pollutants, which can be toxic to your health. Hiring a professional carpet cleaning provider that is reputable and certified by the IICRC, and provides the right recommendations to clean your carpets to improve their health and appearance is the way to go.

 

Mister Kleen is a leading provider of contract cleaning services to Commercial and High Security facilities since 1976. Our primary service area is the DC Metro region. We also provide a variety of interior and exterior specialty services.

Where you spend 90% of your time may be detrimental to your health

According to the EPA, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and the vast majority of this time is spent in an office environment. In most office environments, concentrations of some pollutants are often 2-5 times higher, and in some cases even 100 times greater, than typical outdoor concentrations.

While the vast majority of office environments do not fall under the more severe range, most office buildings, including the well-run ones, can experience episodes of indoor air pollution leading to poor air quality. Poor indoor air quality is a major contributor to allergy and illness threats, which leads to billions of dollars lost each year dealing with higher employee absenteeism and a decline in workplace productivity.

 

Indoor air pollutants that lead to poor indoor air quality

According to the American Lung Association, a higher level of indoor air pollution, “contributes to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma”. Also, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation Association (AAFA), points out that an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies, which is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S.

In addition, indoor air pollution can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue. All of these factors lead to indoor environmental health issues and play a major impact in lowering workplace productivity.

 

Major sources of pollutants

Biological

Biological

High levels of bacteria, viruses, fungi (including molds), dust mite allergen, animal dander and pollen are biological pollutants that lead to allergic reactions and asthmatic episodes. A high level of biological pollutants is often the result of poor housekeeping habits, water spills left untouched, inadequate humidity control, condensation, or may be brought in from other occupants.

 

Dust & Debris

Dust & Debris

With dust and debris, typically it is the smaller particles naked to the visible eye that is more harmful to our health. Such particles can make its way into facilities from the outside, and can also generate and accumulate from everyday activities that take place within facilities. This includes running and operating office equipment such as printing and copying, as well as poor cleaning methods that lead to more dirt and debris circulating in the air.

 

Chemicals

Chemicals

While there’s been a big push to eliminate harmful substances used indoors, many people are unaware of how hazardous these chemicals are toward our health.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals each day. While many of these chemicals have a higher propensity to cause harm due to their intended use and composite physical properties, there are only a small number of chemicals that are publicly regulated [5]. As a result, not only is there a strong chance many chemicals being used inside of facilities are non-regulated, but many of these chemicals are also exposing building occupants to toxic fumes that lead to major health issues.

 

Sustainable Cleaning Tips to Reduce the Amount of Pollutants

Sustainable cleaning –  sometimes referred to as “green cleaning” – reduces the exposure to potentially hazardous products, equipment, or processes that can adversely affect our health within the indoor work environment.

Our next article, entitled sustainable cleaning tips to reduce the amount of harmful indoor pollutants will share three (3) key areas to pay attention to inside your facility to help achieve a healthier indoor environment.

Mister Kleen is a leading provider of contract cleaning services to Commercial and High Security facilities since 1976. Our primary service area is the DC Metro region. We also provide a variety of interior and exterior specialty services.