While vacuuming carpeting, rugs, floor mats, and other upholstered areas might seem a little mundane and even boringly repetitive, it can have a major impact on the air quality and health of your commercial property. Every year new research points toward a link between poor indoor air quality and respiratory health concerns. One of the most prime candidates behind these problems is the particulate matter discharged from carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
The Dangers Or Indoor Air Pollution
A growing body of scientific research points to a connection between a wide range of respiratory health conditions and problems with airborne air pollution. This includes a plethora of airborne microbes that are constantly floating around in the air you breathe.
When someone with a chronic respiratory health condition such as asthma or respiratory allergies like hay fever inhales them, it can cause respiratory irritation. In a particularly sensitive individual, this can cause an asthma attack, allergic reaction, or other biological responses such as triggering inflammation. This can be even more serious if there is an indoor mold problem present or an individual in the building has a chronic inflammation or autoimmune condition.
What Is In The Air?
You might be shocked at the number of things floating around in the air you breathe. This can include things like:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Pet hair
- Chemical fumes
- Mold spores & mycotoxins
It’s also worth bearing in mind that individuals with conditions like allergic rhinitis who come into contact with dust mites and similar airborne contaminants can experience escalating symptoms. This can include symptoms that essentially mimic a bad cold such as coughing, chest congestion, a runny nose, or itchy and watery eyes.
At the same time, the gradual accumulation of pet hair and pet dander, which are essentially dead skin cells shed by most animals, can cause people with pet allergies to experience nasal, respiratory, or skin symptoms. This includes things like frequent sneezing, coughing, and in some cases, even skin rashes.
So, it seems clear that a proactive approach needs to be taken toward establishing and maintaining good indoor air quality. Especially for a commercial property, where liability issues and health concerns are always valid. Of course, this requires a multifaceted approach, which starts with routine vacuuming of carpets, floor mats, rugs, and other soft, upholstered surfaces.
The Health Benefits of Regular Vacuuming
Since carpeting covers such a vast amount of square footage, and gravity naturally pulls particulate matter slowly down, the fibers and deeper pile layers essentially become a repository of particles. When you or anyone else walks across a rug or a carpeted surface, the tread of the shoes disturbs the upper levels of the carpet.
This can release those loosely trapped particles back into the air. Without routine vacuuming, this becomes a recurring problem that only gets worse over time. Especially during the wintertime, or in buildings with completely sealed windows.
Cleaning Carpets With A Traditional Vacuum
On a functional level, vacuuming a carpet or rug plays an essential role in helping it look clean, as well as reducing the potential damage to the carpet fibers caused by particulate matter causing wear and tear in the layers of the pile. When you consider the reduction of particulate matter caused by foot traffic, it also helps maintain a reasonable degree of indoor air quality.
Though with a lot of traditional vacuums there is still a problem with the filtration system of the vacuum bag. What ends up happening with a lot of these vacuums is that particulate matter is drawn up and out of the carpet fibers. While pet hair, dust mites, and larger particles become trapped in the internal vacuum filter of the bag, fine particles can often escape back into the air.
These fine particles can include a staggering array of microbes, potential pathogens, dust, and other tiny particulate matter that gets reintroduced in the air in a higher concentration than would have been released by typical daily foot traffic.
The result is that while you might have meant well, a traditional vacuum ultimately stirs up fine particles. These are exactly the kind of airborne contaminants that cause a strong reaction in people with respiratory health conditions and allergies.
The Importance of High-Quality Filtration For Indoor Air Quality
It seems clear, that vacuum filtration plays a critical role in maintaining good indoor air quality in both the short and long term. Ideally, you want a high-quality commercial-grade vacuum with a HEPA filter with a 99.7% efficiency rating for particles at 0.3 microns.
This type of filtration system combined with high-quality seals on the filter as well as a specially engineered motor housing that is designed to prevent particles from ejecting into the air to help maintain good indoor air quality.
You can then optimize the results by installing HEPA air filters strategically positioned in key rooms and locations throughout the building, as well as using HEPA filters in your HVAC system. This captures newly introduced particles, while the commercial-grade vacuum reduces the particle load of the carpeting and other soft surfaces.
How Often To Vacuum Commercial Carpets & Upholstery
The general rule of thumb is that you should provide basic floor care and maintenance at least once per week for every square inch of carpet and upholstered surface in your property. Though you might need to vacuum more than once per week in carpeted high traffic areas, or if your building has a high occupancy rate. Then you also need to take steps to replace the HEPA filters in the vacuum as needed. A clogged HEPA filter from overuse will be ineffective at trapping particulate matter.
Third-Party Custodial Services For Maintaining Commercial Carpets
One of the things that challenge a lot of commercial property owners and managers is getting access to the right equipment to properly maintain their building’s carpets and upholstered surfaces. When you contract a third-party professional janitorial service like Building Services Inc. you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your commercial carpets are being properly maintained by highly trained and experienced professionals who have access to state-of-the-art commercial vacuums. Each has a high-quality HEPA filtration system on board, and we make it a point to maintain them according to industry best practices.