Can a Carpet Be Sanitized?

Home Builder

The outbreak of the coronavirus dominates headlines. Thousands of new people are infected every day around the globe. Facilities, such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and offices are ramping up disinfecting and cleaning of high-touch surfaces to curb the spread of infection.

The importance of proper carpet maintenance should not be overlooked. Being mindful of the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing carpet helps protect visitors and occupants as well as the investment in the carpet. 

Currently, there is no published research on how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces. The World Health Organization tells us it may persist on surfaces from a few hours to several days. Pay attention to both soft and hard surfaces. That includes carpets. 

The Truth About Disinfecting Carpets

Soft goods cannot be disinfected. However, they can be safely and effectively sanitized. Many consumers buy products under misleading or false pretense. Words such as ‘clean and sanitize’ and ‘clean and disinfect’ are words to upsell a product.

By definition, sanitizing means bringing something to a safe level for human use. Disinfecting kills organisms. It is impossible to kill all microorganisms on soft surfaces such as upholstery, carpets, rugs, and even tile.

Think about how laden with soil commercial restaurants and bathrooms must be. All the bleach in the world will not help remove the impacted soil unless the grout is cleaned with a high-performance hot water extraction process.

The same is true for rugs and carpets. Deep cleaning is a green activity. It removes unwanted allergens, molds, bacteria, and oils from the indoor environment. There is no need to buy a sanitizer unless there is an issue such as blood, vomit, mold remediation, or pet urine with which to deal.

The cleaning and heat of high-performance extraction provide a health benefit to indoor structures if appropriately done with accepted standards. Many biocides and disinfectants harm carpet stain resistance properties. 

Do-It-Yourself Sanitizing

Vacuuming is useful for removing loose crumbs and dust that accumulate on the carpet. It works well for day-to-day cleaning. Vacuuming does not sanitize. Although it is free of crumbs and dirt, bacteria remain. 

Occasionally, a sanitizing routine that removes dirt and kills bacterial should be incorporated. The do-it-yourself method entails a steam cleaner, white vinegar, and hot water. A solution of one-part water to one-part vinegar is used to fill the steam cleaner’s detergent vessel. 

Follow the directions for the steam machine to run over the carpets. Do not use the carpet until it dries. It is recommended to clean carpets before going to bed, allowing them to dry overnight. The vinegar smell dissipates as the carpet dries. 

Hire a Professional

It is best to have carpets, rugs, and upholstery cleaned by professionals. They use sanitizers that do not affect stain resistance. The EPA Design for the Environment program approves the products they use. Contact a professional with any concerns you might have. Sanitizing can be done by ozone blasting the entire home and fogging HVAC ducts with a disinfectant.


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