Did you know that humans and pets lose skin cells every day, which is equivalent to the amount of approximately 16 crushed aspirin per week? The dust mites, which we can’t see with a naked eye, feed on our skin cells and their excretions are what causes the allergens. The good thing about carpet is that it acts like a filter and holds them in place, versus hard surface floors, which allow these skin cells and dust mites to just float around in your home. The important thing is to make sure you keep your carpet (filter) clean, so it doesn’t get overfilled with these skin cells, dust mites, etc. Vacuuming with a vacuum that has a beater bar and a good HEPA filter is very important on a regular basis as well as having your carpet deep cleaned properly by an IICRC (CleanTrust) Certified Firm to get deep down and help you keep your home healthy for you and your family. Most people have their carpets cleaned professionally just for appearance, when appearance really should be the last reason to do this. Carpet should be professionally deep cleaned first for Indoor Air Quality, second, to help extend the life of your carpet and to keep it looking like-new, and last, for appearance. If you wait to clean your carpet just for appearance, your carpet will be overfilled with these unhealthy items, and it could shorten the life of your carpet and not allow it to continue looking like new for many years to come.
You may have also seen recent national reports on how mold, mildew, and other bacteria are growing indoors and making people sick. Carpeting is often cited as a source for these harmful contaminants. While dirty carpeting can be a fertile home for indoor-air contaminants, clean carpet can have just the opposite effect. In fact, well-maintained carpet can actually help keep the indoor air you breathe healthy!
Here’s how it works. Indoor air contaminants naturally settle on the floor. As they do your carpet acts like a trap for things such as dirt, dust mites, allergens and bacteria. Similar to the way your car’s air filter traps dust and dirt, your carpet filters air pollutants from the air you breathe. And just like your car’s air filter needs to be changed to remain effective, your carpet needs to be cleaned regularly to continue filtering your indoor air.
The Carpet & Rug Institute notes that carpet can be wrongly blamed for contributing to asthma and allergy and for emitting levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Studies have shown that carpet is better at trapping allergens than hard surface, such as tile or hardwood, because carpet fibers catch particles and allergens that fall to the floor. When allergens are trapped in the carpet, they cannot circulate in the air for you to breathe. Proper cleaning keeps it out of the air.
Airtight structures keep air inside, but they also prevent the flow of fresh air from outside. Research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that our indoor environment has two to five times more pollutants than outside air. The quality of our indoor air has become more important to us in recent years in that the average American spends over 20 hours a day inside a closed structure. We spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. Heightened consumer health awareness has placed an emphasis on improving the quality of our indoor environment.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) states that carpet plays a vital, positive role in indoor air quality. It acts as an environmental filter, trapping and holding impurities from the air we breathe. The EPA and carpet industry findings indicate that with proper ventilation of new carpet, carpet itself does not contribute negatively to indoor air quality, but the buildup of soil in carpet does. Upholstery fabric also harbors soil and contaminants. According to Michael A. Berry, Ph.D., former Deputy Director for the EPA Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, the single leading cause of poor indoor air quality in built environments today is poor maintenance. Carpet and upholstery must be cleaned to remove trapped contaminants before they overflow and are released back into the indoor air.
So for a healthier indoor environment it’s recommended to:
- Vacuum frequently A vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency filtration bag removes soil and bio-contaminants from carpet and upholstery and reduces the release of respirable particles into the air.
- Periodically have all of your carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned. Proper, thorough, deep cleaning removes soil and pollutants to improve indoor air quality. For health reasons the EPA suggest cleaning annually, more often if you have small children, pets or allergy sufferers in your home. Apex Floor and Furniture Care, your local IICRC Certified Firm, specializes in cleaning for health and is trained in the proper use of cleaning agents and equipment for better indoor air quality.
- Control the sources. Entrance mats halt tracked-in soil and contaminants. Tobacco smoke, which is trapped in carpet and upholstery fabric, is a major source of indoor pollution.
- Increase fresh air flow. Our ancestors knew what they were doing when they opened windows to air out buildings.
- HVAC filter. Change your HVAC filter on a regular basis.
- Low Humidity. Keep humidity at 60% or below.
- Clean for health. Carpet and upholstery fabric hide soil. Don’t just clean for appearance when the accumulation of soil becomes visible, but instead clean for the health of you, your family and pets.
Contact your local IICRC Certified Firm near you. For the Tampa Bay area, your local IICRC (CleanTrust) Certified Firm is Apex Floor and Furniture Care. For more information or an in home consultation and quote call the owners, Ron and Jackie Wood at 352-556-4012, providing cleaning, repair and restoration for all types of floors, rugs and furnishings located in Spring Hill, serving the Tampa Bay area. You can also log onto their website at www.Apex-CarpetCleaning.com for more information, testimonials and a full list of services.