Improve Indoor Air Quality with Healthy, High-Tech Rug Cleaning
Apr 29, 2016 09:16AM
By Linda Sechrist
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is now recognized as a significant component that contributes to our health. With statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showing that the average American spends more than 90 percent of their time indoors, where air pollution can be 100 times higher, it is time to pay attention to one the causes of poor IAQ—keepsake carpets and area rugs. Often considered investment pieces more than accessories that contribute to the comfort and style of living spaces, priceless area rugs can harbor unhealthy allergens, germs and bacteria that may, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, either cause or aggravate 50 percent of all respiratory illnesses.
In Southwest Florida, where dust mites thrive in warm, humid weather, the quality of indoor air can be compromised. Tiny, microscopic scavengers that feed on skin shed by people and pets, dust mites can cause big problems, especially for allergy sufferers. Invisible to the naked eye, they can be found even in the cleanest homes. Phil Koehler, an urban entomologist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, explains, “A gram of dust may contain up to 4,800 mites, and an ounce of dust may host 136,000 or more. While you can’t see them, they are busy producing allergens that can trigger uncomfortable allergic reactions in approximately 80 percent of allergy sufferers.”
Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D., a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Medical School and the author of The Secret Life of Germs, says research indicates that an average carpet probably contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch, making it 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. According to Tierno, rugs are like botanical and zoological parks where human skin cells, food particles, pollen and pet dander serve as a buffet for germs that a vacuum cleaner's suction and rotating beater brush are incapable of reaching.
With numerous options for rug cleaning such as steam, chemicals, industrial vacuuming, as well as others, a local company that can pick up and return the rug after removing embedded particles that a regular vacuum can't extract is invaluable. Naples Rug Spa, with the newest technology that doesn’t shrink or warp area carpets, provides pickup and delivery. “Our rug spa technology starts with rubber beaters vibrating on the back of the rug on a rotating, open conveyor grid to loosen the particles in the pile. The foreign materials drop into a collection bin and the remainder is sucked into the cyclone dust collector,” advises Naples Rug Spa owner Michelle Mehri, who along with her husband, have been in the rug business for 30 years.
“The entire process takes three days, and we stand behind our technology, which even removes the worst stains and re-dyes areas that have been damaged in the past,” says Michelle Mehri.
The next step is a wash in a tub that holds 1,200 gallons of water and mimics the Old World, gentle motion of hand washing. The gentle agitation removes soil, but does not harm rug fibers. Afterwards, a centrifugal system removes 95 percent of the water in three minutes. “Since wool and other materials hold up to 10 times their weight in water, the next-to-last step is an important one that serves to avoid the possibility of mold. If not dried quickly, mold is a big issue in Florida’s humid climate.
Lastly, the rugs are hung to dry completely in a special dry room. The entire process takes three days, and we stand behind our technology, which even removes the worst stains and re-dyes areas that have been damaged in the past,” says Mehri, who notes that she spent five years researching the market to find the technology. “This is so new that even the brand names in carpet cleaning do not have it up and running yet.”