Indoor Air Quality: Did You Know Your Carpet Is a Filter?
Surprise! You have more air filters in your workplace than merely the ones toiling away in your HVAC system. In fact, depending upon the layout of your facility, you could have filters in every room.
What are these undercover air filters? They’re underfoot in the form of carpeting. Not only are flooring textiles aesthetically pleasing and functional, but they also help strain out nasty debris and particulate swirling through your spaces. Of course, like all filters, they need constant maintenance. Otherwise, you could wind up with indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, which can affect the health and productivity of everyone in your facility.
Cleaning Your Building’s Carpets Keeps the Air More Breathable
Carpets naturally trap both visible and microscopic items, but they have a limit. When they reach a point of saturation, carpets can no longer work to keep IAQ at proper levels. As the Environmental Protection Agency and partner organizations have shown, high pollution inside any business poses health and environmental risks.
How does a dirty carpet lead to lower IAQ? Think about most office spaces: The air circulates but remains localized. Though carpets are able to hold onto a certain amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other airborne irritants, they can’t keep up forever. Depending on the foot traffic in any workplace, retail location, or public facility, carpeting can soil quickly.
Running a vacuum may seem to solve the problem, but vacuums only do a small part of the job. The same holds true for carpeting cleaning systems that make textiles look clean but don’t go below the surface. In other words, you could be leaving VOCs and pollutants behind to recirculate into the air. When combined with inadequate ventilation and airtight structures that prevent fresh air from making its rounds, this is a recipe for a sick atmosphere. As the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers notes, the ideal circulation of fresh air in any workspace is about 20 cubic feet each minute. Any less, and you’ll likely be seeing signs of poor workplace IAQ in no time.
What are the symptoms of a workplace in need of smarter, more reliable carpet cleaning? To begin, does everyone in your business seem to have indoor allergies that improve when walking outside? Do your colleagues or customers complain of asthma and respiratory issues after being in the office or facility for even short periods? Do you or your co-workers experience headaches and other ailments that magically “lift” when you’re at home and return after a few hours on the job? These indicators could mean it’s time to properly clean carpets and restore them to top-notch filtering ability.
Picking the Right Type of Carpet Cleaning Solution and Protocol
Before you run out and hire someone to clean your carpets using hot water extraction methods, take a step back. Water-based carpet cleaning may seem like a smart idea, but it can leave the carpets in even worse shape. Bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in moisture-rich environments, which means certain cleaning methods can actually contribute to poor IAQ rather than solve the issue.
The better way to thoroughly clean your carpet “filter” is to rely on a dry-polymer system. The MilliCare process uses 99 percent less water than hot-water carpet cleaning extraction methods and leaves behind a fresh, dry carpet that’s ready to trap particles, dust, and more immediately. Not only does MilliCare ’s proprietary, environmentally safe carpet cleaning procedure promote higher IAQ, but it also draws up ground-in grime, dirt, oils, and pollutants from deep in the carpet fibers. It has also been proven to leave behind a mere 1 percent of allergens.
In addition to working with a local MilliCare technician to help your carpets become filtering magnets, remember to take other steps to improve the air quality within your space. For instance, keep air vents exposed rather than blocked by furniture. Plus, keep up with your HVAC maintenance. When you experience a sudden spill — or your carpets become unusually dirty faster than you expected — address the issue with energy-saving spot cleaning in between regular appointments.
Want to learn more about ways to improve the performance (and expand the life) of your carpets? Contact MilliCare today for a comprehensive walk-through of your floors and other textile surfaces. Filter out the bad and increase the good aspects of your company’s working areas.