The strategy for minimizing the effect of carpet care on air quality begins with maintaining a high level of cleanliness at building entrances. Vacuum cleaning should:
- Use equipment in good working order fitted with appropriate bags and/or filters (consider the use of HEPA filters).
- Vacuum bags should be emptied or replaced as required to maintain adequate suction.
Carpets can store undesirable dirt and microbials that can be activated when moisture is added, such aswhen extraction-cleaning is used. Effective cleaning and minimization of emissions can be achieved by:
- Notifying occupants prior to large-scale extraction-cleaning activities and scheduling them for periods when a building is to be unoccupied such as before weekends and holidays. As more and more tenants are working during off-office hours, communication is important to determine times that are mutually acceptable.
- Selecting appropriate cleaning solutions (see Section 5, Cleaning Products).
- Minimizing the amount of cleaning solution used.
- Using appropriate functioning equipment that will maximize the amount of water being extrac- ted from the carpet to minimize moisture and potential for mould, mildew and bacterial growth. Only in special situations should disinfectant be used after extraction-cleaning to prevent mould, mildew, and bacteria growth.
- Increasing ventilation, opening windows if weather allows and using fans or dehumidifiers to dry carpets quickly so that carpets are completely dry within 24 hours.
- Disposing of cleaning solutions properly.In general, extraction-cleaning should not be used for carpets that have an underlay due to the difficulty of removing water.
For more on custodial activities for indoor air quality go to: Module 3 – Custodial Activities, Maintenance, Repair and Renovation for Indoor Air Quality