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16 Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Making Carpet Cleaning Healthier for Building Users and the Environment

Healthier cleaning strategies are now becoming commonplace in many schools and offices throughout the country. How- ever, many cleaning professionals still know little about how to reduce the envi- ronmental impact of carpet care. This is unfortunate, as carpeting is generally the largest surface used on a daily basis in a facility, and some carpet cleaning methods have the potential to negatively impact the environment. What exactly is healthier carpet care?

Many cleaning experts describe it as fol- lows:

Healthier carpet care involves using systems, products, and procedures to help keep carpets clean and healthy with the least impact on the cleaning worker, build- ing users, and the environment. Cleaning professionals can accomplish this goal by employing three key prin- ciples. Involve Building Users. Healthier car- pet care is a shared responsibility. This means building users must do their part by immediately pointing out stains, spots, and soiled areas of the carpet to the facility’s cleaning professionals. Why is this impor- tant? Stains and spots have a tendency to attract more soils and contaminants like a magnet, making the carpet unhealthy and removal of the spot or stain all the more difficult. Attending to a problem area

quickly also can mean that less chemi- cal will be necessary to get the job done. Whenever less chemical is used in any type of cleaning, it is better for the health of cleaning professionals, building users, and the environment alike. Select Appropriate Chemicals. As with most cleaning products, carpet care chemicals have evolved over the years. There are now many carpet clean- ing products that are healthier for both the environment and people. The effectiveness of many of these products im- proves when they are used along with a heated carpet ex- tractor. In turn, this can mean that less chemical is neces- sary, again helping to lower the chemical’s impact on people and the environment. The problem with some older or more

conventional carpet cleaning chemicals is that they can release high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. They also contain a number of ingredients that are known to cause a variety of health- related problems. For instance, some tradi- tional chemicals have been proven to trig- ger asthma attacks in children. When transferring from conventional to more healthy carpet cleaning, facility

managers and cleaning professionals must be aware that these chemicals are not all alike. Some may work better in different situations or on certain types of carpeting. Trial and error may be called for in order to identify products that are not only effective but also envi- ronmentally preferable. Choose Proper Equipment. Portable

Doug Berjer

carpet extractors, which have evolved a great deal over the years, now contrib- ute significantly to making carpet cleaning healthier. What is often termed “low- moisture” carpet cleaning is a crucial component of such a cleaning program. While climatic and other conditions can impact dry- ing results, the ultimate goal of low-moisture car- pet cleaning is for carpets to dry in about two hours. This helps prevent mold

and mildew, as well as the resoiling that can sometimes occur when carpets stay damp for too long. And, of course, low- moisture cleaning makes it possible to open up blocked-off areas to foot traffic much more quickly. However, low-moisture carpet clean- ing does not necessarily require the use of extractors that actually use less wa- ter. Some of today’s advanced machines employ a combination of powerful vac- uum motors and more effective wands, which apply water/cleaning solution to


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carpets and recover (extract) it so quickly that moisture never rests on the carpet. This process, which is often referred to as “atomization,” can help ensure that carpets dry quickly.

Simple Steps to Lasting Benefits Following the principles outlined here can help make the largest and most-used surface in a facility healthier for the en- vironment, cleaning professionals, and building users—an increasingly common goal for facility managers in all settings. Doug Berjer has written extensively on cleaning, carpet cleaning, and water con- servation issues. He has worked for a large jansan distributorship in St. Louis, MO, as their Equipment Specialist and as the Operations Manager for a large building service contractor that specialized in ser- vicing shopping malls and anchor store re- tailers throughout North America. Doug is now Brand Manager for CFR (Continuous Flow Recycling) Extractors and Tornado Industries, both based in West Chicago, IL.

DPA Announces 2013 Travel Program The DPA Buying Group, a member-

driven marketing & procurement organi- zation, is excited to offer all DPA distribu- tor members a chance to win a tropical cruise (for two) by growing their sales with the group’s preferred vendors over the previous year. DPA would like to recognize the follow-

ing participating Vendors: Acme United (Pac-Kit First Aid), Americo Manufacturing, Ammex Gloves, Andersen Matting, Chase Products Co., Claire Manufacturing Co., Durable Corporation (Matting), Ero Concepts, ERB Safety,

ETC of Henderson, Fortune Plastics, Fresh Products, Green Klean Vac Bags, Impact Products, Kutol Products Company, LagasseSweet, Mercantile Development Inc. (MDI), Nexstep (O-Cedar), North American Salt, Norton Abrasives (Saint Gobain), Occunomix International, Oreck Commercial/Edmar Corp., Palmer Fixture Company, Quest Vapco Corporation, RDA Advantage, Rubbermaid Commerical, Ryzun div. of United Sorbents, Superior Manufacturing (No Trax), T ingley Rubber Corporation, Tolco Corporation, TTI Floor Care/Hoover Vacuum, U.S. Safety, Unger Enterprises, Inc., Valeo, Inc., Von Drehle Corporation, Wausau Paper (Bay West), and West Chester Holdings (Gloves).

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