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Monday, November 24, 2014

Question

We are considering purchasing a backpack sprayer to apply a disinfectant to the carpet before vacuuming. What would be the proper disinfectant to use to rid our carpets of virus and germs?


Answer

There is some concern over using cationic disinfectants on stain resistant carpets so you may want to ask the carpet manufacturer for this information.
My first response, however, is to ask why you are contemplating attempting something that might have fostered the phrase “hopeless endeavor”.
A study presented at the CIRI conference a year ago dealt with the various sorts of contamination found on shoe soles. E. coli and many others were present, and what that means is that the disinfection you do now is overcome by the foot traffic within hours after your treatment.
Not only that, but your application of this before vacuuming will mean that the air flow from the vacuuming will blow disinfectant particles all over the space. This does not sound to me like a good IAQ situation.
So the basic question, is not so much, “Can this be done?” or “What should I use?”, but instead, “Why should I be doing this at all?”
Are the members of the Florida House of Representatives spending an inordinate amount of time down on their hands and knees on the carpet? Are these folks wiping their hands on the carpet and then licking their fingers in anticipation of some exciting legislation? Do they picnic or snooze down there?
In other words, are there real dangers presented by this carpet that regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning cannot overcome without the addition of microbe poisons? I suggest rethinking this effort as time and money consuming without lasting results, and with the risk of adding unnecessary contaminants to the indoor environment.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com