It’s all too easy to take your building’s carpets for granted. Yet they get walked on every single day by dozens if not hundreds of people, which can affect what is ultimately one of your building’s biggest investments. Beyond this obvious wear and tear, there are also other things like carpet deodorizers and air fresheners that can have a long-term effect on your carpeting.

At the same time, deodorization and providing a clean, fresh-smelling building is also very important. A stale environment, with smelly, worn-out carpets can put off tenants, and visitors. So, it’s certainly not the sort of thing you want to skimp on.

To really help you understand the value and strategic use of carpet deodorizers and air fresheners, we decided to take a closer look at how they affect your floor coverings. This also includes being mindful of how the odor of your carpets can affect the rest of the property.

The Importance Of Carpet Deodorizing

Of course, you want to be able to provide employees, tenants, and guests with a safe and healthy indoor environment. This calls for a building that not only looks clean, but also smells refreshing.

Cleaning product manufacturers are well aware of the need for carpet deodorizing and are quick to flood the retail market with options. Unfortunately, some are lacking in overall quality and a few can even leave behind chemical residues that are harmful to the carpet as well as potentially irritating to people who spend all day smelling them. Some carpet deodorizers can even start to damage the carpet, affecting the fibers, altering the deeper pile of the carpet, and possibly causing the carpet to fade or change color over time.

Some commercial custodial staffs use powdered carpet deodorizers to refresh the carpeting and give the surrounding air a relatively fresh scent. Though many of these deodorizers contain abrasive substances that can gradually degrade the carpet. Some can become trapped in the deeper layers of the carpet causing progressive degradation.

Risks Of Using Inferior Quality Carpet Deodorizers

There are several risks that come with frequent use of low-quality powdered carpet deodorizers.

  • Gradual discoloration
  • Delamination between carpet fibers and base
  • Persistent chemical odors
  • Fraying of carpet fibers
  • Residue on shoes
  • Graying in high traffic areas
  • Powdered Carpet Deodorizer Components

Different manufacturers have their own formulas and costume blends of powdered carpet deodorizers. Some work to add a scent, or capture unpleasant odors, while others are preservatives or serve as anti-clumping agents. The following are some of the most common components found in consumer-grade carpet deodorizers.

Baking Soda

A common cleaning product it has microscopic nucleation sites that will bond with scented additives and also helps capture unpleasant odors. Unfortunately, it is also abrasive and can gradually start to damage carpet fibers. Made from sodium bicarbonate it has both hydrophilic and hygroscopic properties. Meaning that if it isn’t fully removed by vacuuming the residual baking soda left in the pile of the carpet can also begin to chemically react with other debris.

Calcium Carbonate

Another common cleaning agent that helps capture foul odors. It is also abrasive and can damage carpet fibers as well as affect the PH when water from wet shows or melting snow from boots is added. This can have the net effect of breaking down the adhesive bond between the base of the carpet fibers and the underlying backer. As time goes on, it can even start to penetrate into the underlayment to affect the floorboards under the carpet.

Sodium Silicate

It helps to capture grease and other non-water soluble debris in a carpet. Though it also acts like microscopic shards of glass that can damage carpet fibers on multiple levels. It is also very hard for a traditional vacuum cleaner to remove.

Hydrated Silica

It helps capture biological agents that might be affecting the carpeting causing foul odors. Though it too is very abrasive and can start to damage the adhesive connection between the base of the carpet fibers and the underlayment.

Aerosol Air Fresheners Effects On Carpet

Aerosol air freshener sprays have been used for decades to cover or mask airborne odors. Though they have only short-term potency. This gave way to other room deodorizing inventions, like plug-in air fresheners.

They do help deodorize the room, but they tend to release compounds that gradually build up into an oily residue on the carpet. This can trap dust and other debris causing increasing discoloration around the outlet they are plugged into. Compounding the problem is the fact that significant buildup is hard to remove.

Removing Residue & Powdered Debris From Carpets

It is an unfortunate truth that conventional vacuum cleaners simply lack the suction and ability to fully draw up 100% of powdered dust and particulate matter from the deepest layers of a carpet. Especially in humid conditions, where things like sodium bicarbonate can interact with humidity to bond themselves to the carpet fibers.

It typically requires several encapsulating acid rinse treatments to remove sodium bicarbonate and other powder residues that have become stubbornly embedded in the carpet.

The Long-Term Consequences Of Low-Quality Carpet Deodorizers

Though left to its own devices the alkalinity of the sodium bicarbonate and sodium silicate powder can start to break down the latex adhesive used to laminate the carpet backing together. As time goes on, this can even cause the carpet to lose its dimensional stability and look flat.

At this point, the carpet typically cannot be restored to its like-new appearance. While it might last for a while, it will ultimately need to be replaced sooner than its expected lifespan.

Refreshing Carpets Without Residue

Fortunately, it is possible to freshen the air without leaving behind a lot of unwanted residues and potentially harmful vapors. The process starts with a professional deep cleaning to remove existing residue as well as sodium bicarbonate and other powders that are embedded in the carpet fibers.

This typically calls for hot water extraction that follows the ANSI/IICRC S100 Standards for Professional Cleaning of Textile Floor Coverings. After that professional carpet deodorizing can be applied, such as the “Green” non-toxic cleaning process offered by Building Solutions.

The net result is a carpet that is professionally cleaned down to the last fiber, which is also imbued with a long-lasting fresh odor. All without a pervasive toxic odor.