* Cleanzine_logo_3a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 30th June 2022 Issue no. 1023

Your industry news - first    Number 1 for Recruitment

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Carpets versus hard floors: what do you consider to be more hygienic?

Ed: We recently published an item entitled ‘Studies help settle great debate' in which we reported on the results of studies into the use of carpeting in US hospitals and their contribution to a reduction in hospital acquired infections.  This has started a debate on our Facebook page and I’d be really interested in seeing what your feelings are about this argument. This is the debate so far:

Chris Netherton, who many of us will know through his work at the National Flood School, wrote:

“I do not understand the concept of trapping sequester contaminants into carpets being more healthy.

“I spent four weeks in St Georges Hospital last year, the floors were mopped every day and the walls washed about once or twice per week. Are you suggesting that carpeting the walls would improve hygiene? In the many areas I was in (mostly in ICU) many patients were very sick, and the staff had to clean them and the floors after toilet accidents. I really do not understand the argument about carpeting these areas.

“The NHS has reduced MRSA by a very high percentage in the last three years; this has been achieved by careful hygiene procedures including hand washing using special installed anti-microbials. MSRA can be carried by incoming patients so all are swabbed on admission to reduce that. Please explain the part carpets would play in practice.”

Tony Nash, of A+ Cleaning Services, responded thus:

“Hi Chris, at the very least, this may be the answer to your question:

“Many things that are airborne drop to the floor, they are then trapped by the carpet fibres and held much more easily than if the floor is smooth, which would allow things to become airborne again - thus allowing Volatile Organic Compounds to circulate up at the height of the human's nasal & mouth area. Naturally, this increases risk of breathing in allergens and anything else potentially harmful.

“As said, carpeting traps and holds VOC's like a big filter. Here's a quick example: I've two German Shepherd dogs. They love accompanying me in our 4x4, in the very tailgate area. When we only had rubber matting, the dogs’ hairs would circulate all the way to the front of our car, making me plenty of work in maintenance. We then added carpet to that area - the result being the dogs’ hairs fall on to the carpet, awaiting vacuuming and/or carpet cleaning, to remove the final bit of soiling that vacuuming does not.

“Now compare this to something you mentioned, which was that the floors were mopped daily; Mopping is not the best method of cleaning. Why not? Because mopping isn't proper 'extraction '. Mopping mostly pushes and moves dirt, soils and VOC's around the floor. Yes, sure, it ticks the box that asks if the floors been 'cleaned', but it does not tick the box that asks ‘How much soiling & VOC's were actually extracted?’ Carpet and carpet cleaning controls levels of all these contaminants.

“Hope this is useful and btw, I'm just browsing this site, I do not work for Cleanzine.”

Chris Netherton then responded:

“Hi Tony, I am in the flood restoration business. Mopping could be explained by ‘dilution is the solution to pollution’, i.e. biocides are controlling the process. Toilet accidents on carpets would be a very difficult process to carry out… mopping is quiet. Can you imagine the noise from a carpet extraction machine, around intensive care patients?

“As far as hospitals are concerned, I will trust an industry that is expert at infection control. Carpet cleaners and carpet manufacturers obviously have failed to convince doctors and nurses…

“Let’s suppose these accidents happened at 04.00. A nurse can wash down a hard floor with alcohol wipes. Further viruses die within short space of time outside the body on a hard surface. The combination of moisture, bacteria and temperature on carpet fibres, as well as the exhaust air from an extraction machine, would be recirculating VOC’s etc. Carpets are not dry following extraction. Vinyl floors are dressed up the wall, to create a cleanable barrier, i.e. no joint at ground level. How would carpet deal with that?

“Sorry - not convinced.”

Ed: Both Chris and Tony have made some convincing points. Do you have anything to add? If so, we’d love to see what you have to say…

20th February 2014

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