Carpets are much, much dirtier than you can imagine. In fact, the average carpet contains nearly 200,000 bacteria per square inch. That’s roughly 4,000 times more bacteria than what’s found in a toilet! So how do all these bacteria survive? By feeding off human skin, among other things! The average person loses 1.5 million skin cells every hour, and many of these cells end up on carpets. Throw in some dust, animal hair, food crumbs and whatever is stuck to the soles of your shoes, and you’ve got yourself an all-you-can eat buffet for bacteria! (Speaking of the soles of shoes, did you know that they harbour millions of bacteria alone? The most common being coliform – the bacteria found in human and animal waste.)
It almost makes you want to pull out the old vacuum cleaner, doesn’t it? But the real question is, if carpets are such bacteria and microbe magnets, then why do hotels and companies around the world insist on covering their floors with them?
It’s because carpets also offer many benefits. Many commercial establishments use carpets first and foremost to muffle noise. With all the people coming and going at all hours, a sound attenuation is welcome. Carpets also create a sense of comfort and well-being, while lending a sophisticated touch to a location’s ambiance.
In fact, carpets are one of the first things people notice when they walk into a room. And we all know how long-lasting first impressions can be. A positive impression will make your guests feel confident that they are in a clean and well maintained property. Dirty or smelly carpets, on the other hand, will turn guests off and make them question the venue’s overall cleanliness.
Carpets aren’t solely a matter of appearance; they can also raise certain health concerns. Clean carpets act as a huge filter that reduces the amount of dust suspended in the air (the very same air we breathe!). Whereas airborne dust tends to bounce off hard surfaces and remain suspended in the air, it becomes trapped in carpet fibres – along with a host of other things, such as saliva and animal feces, pollen, food crumbs, chemical products…
Think a domestic vacuum cleaner can adequately clean your carpets? Think again. Most vacuum cleaners are able to clean only the top portion of a carpet, allowing dust to settle comfortably in the lower portion. This accumulated dust can spell serious problems for those with chronic conditions like asthma and allergies. Fortunately, deep cleaning is very effective. Steam cleaning (also called extraction or encapsulation) is the most common and efficient deep cleaning method. It uses special equipment to spray hot water onto the carpet and then vacuum it up. When carpets are extremely dirty, cleaning products and mechanical brushing may be used prior to steaming to dislodge embedded dirt more easily.
In the end, carpets can become real “filth traps” when neglected – especially in a high-traffic establishment such as hotels and office towers. But when properly maintained, they can add lots of value. So protect your investment, because regular maintenance will keep your carpets clean and beautiful much longer.