Carpet flooring in   Spindale, NC from BPS Southeast

Can you disinfect flooring?

After what has happened in 2020 with Covid-19, a lot of people have thought about how to keep their place of business & homes clean and disinfected. Most people have learned that hard surfaces are the easiest to clean and disinfect. What do you do with fabrics and carpet though?
Unfortunately, you are only allowed to clean fabrics and carpets which are known as textiles. There are no rules that say you cannot apply a disinfectant to those surfaces, but the cleaning institutes and training facilities for cleaning say you cannot make any claims. Textiles are made up of various depths and thicknesses of fibers. Trying to properly disinfect them is not possible.

To disinfect a surface or product, you must be able to clean all the soiling or dirt off it. Once the surface is clean, then a disinfectant is to be applied to kill any bacteria or virus that the product is labeled for. In most cases, the product must sit on the surface and stay wet for a minimum of 2 minutes to 10 minutes depending on the product used and the cleanliness of the surface.

Because of the density and thickness of textiles, there is no way to guarantee that the surface gets completely clean. The second problem is that you cannot know that a disinfectant can encounter all the surface area for the proper dwell time to kill the germs. If you were to properly disinfect carpet, you would have to submerge it in disinfectant for the listed dwell time after you completely clean the flooring. Both processes would be impossible with carpet. You may get the carpet completely clean, but there is no way of testing it to verify the results if you were to disinfect the carpet. One of the more known cleaning education groups, the IICRC, has stated that if there was to be any biohazardous material such as bodily fluids or contaminated water come in contact with textiles, you dispose of them. This education body is made up of cleaners who over the years have tried different methods and processes which have determined these perimeters to train others in safe and proper cleaning processes.

When you are dealing with hard surfaces, you can see, test, and quantify the results of your work. There is a tool on the market known as an ATP measuring device. It measures the cleanliness of the surface using a numerical value. It allows you to see if your cleaning process is working and if the surface is getting cleaner as you work on it. The reason it only works on hard surfaces is that it requires a swab test of an area of the surface being cleaned. A hard surface is easy to mark out an area. Textiles are too dense and you cannot test behind the fibers on the surface or inside a cushion if it was furniture.

In commercial settings, there have been advances in surface coatings that are applied to vinyl and VCT that have some disinfecting properties. When these surfaces are kept clean, they kill several bacteria types that come in contact with the coating for a period of time. You will see on the product information that it has anti-microbial benefits. Many of the companies that make these products also have coatings that can be applied to other hard surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, and other high contact surfaces.

When you are disinfecting surfaces, please read the labels on how to use the product. If you do not follow the instructions, you will not get the benefit of the kill claim. The other issue you may run into is that many disinfectants may need to be rinsed off the surfaces when the cleaner is finished. They may be caustic to the surface and will cause damage over time if not removed.

When you have surfaces that cannot be disinfected, the best thing you can do is to have them professionally cleaned as often as possible. If you can keep a surface clean, there are less chances of bacteria growing there and less soiling for viruses to hide in. Some surfaces may not need professional cleaning, but they will need cleaning often since those surfaces get used or touched often. The best thing to do if you are trying to prevent sickness is to clean often and clean well. Clean areas that you come in contact with often, and clean the other well so that you can reduce the chances of getting sick.

Are you looking for professional floor cleaning? Contact BPS Southeast to see how we can help.