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Care Home Carpet Cleaning

Keeping care homes clean and hygienic is essential, as those who work in them are well aware. Preventing the spread of germs is essential where residents may be frail or in poor health and in the winter time particularly, care home managers are concerned about possible flu epidemics.

Floor cleaning is a fundamental part of the cleaning regime as, thanks to gravity, most dirt will find its way there. Because the floor area in a care home is likely to need regular attention, you might wonder whether a hard floor would be a better option than a more difficult to clean carpet, but generally, that isn’t the case. We supply a wide range of carpet cleaning machines which are very effective in care homes.

COVID-19 care home carpet cleaning update

The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a requirement to sanitise all surfaces to help stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19. Care home managers and staff are of course well aware of this and have truly been on the front line as they care for their residents in extremely trying times. The latest recommendations that we have seen from the NHS are to use:
• A vacuum cleaner fitted with a high particulate (HEPA) filter
• Steam cleaner or carpet shampoo machine
and we consider both of these, along with carpet extraction cleaners which we find meet the carpet cleaning needs of many care homes, in this article. We’ve also included links to products in our range that you may find useful.

Why use carpet in a care home?

A care home is much more than a wipe clean capsule for people to live in, it is their home and needs to feel warm and welcoming to residents, staff and visitors. Carpets, as long as they are maintained well, look and feel comfortable.

We all know that warmth and comfort are hugely important to a feeling of well-being and the thermal insulation offered by carpet is estimated to be up to twenty times higher than that provided by a hard floor. Also noise can impact unfavourably on all the inhabitants of a care home and the level is much reduced by using carpet as a floor covering due to its sound absorbing qualities and reduction in sound reverberation as well as transfer from room to room. A quiet environment aids rest and relaxation and can help to reduce stress, making for a more pleasant environment for inhabitants.

But what about hygiene? It is often thought that carpet is inherently less hygienic than a hard floor or coverings such as linoleum or vinyl. Studies have shown however that harmful pathogens do not survive as well in carpet as they do on other hard floor coverings. The most important protection of course is that the carpet is kept clean and infection free.

Carpet cleaners for care homes

Depending on the type of flooring, it can take more than twice as long to clean a hard floor than carpet, and the cleaning chemicals required can also be much more expensive. To clean a carpet in a care home environment, vacuuming is the basic start point. Regular use of a vacuum cleaner is important as another advantage of carpet is that it traps allergens in its fibres which prevents them circulating and causing irritation to people who suffer from breathing difficulties. Regular vacuuming will remove not only the surface dust but also the trapped allergens to prevent contamination.

HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners

Many vacuum cleaners these days have good filters and some of the smaller tub vacuums, for daily use, are supplied with HEPA filters.

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters trap large numbers of micro particles that other vacuum cleaners would allow to pass through and recirculate into the air. The makes them recommended for vacuuming in dust-sensitive areas and in care homes, where clean air is critical, particularly in view of COVID-19. HEPA vacuums make it much more difficult for virus particles to get into the air where they can be breathed in or transported onto high-touch surfaces. They are also recommended for minimizing dust, and other common allergens in homes where people suffer from allergies and respiratory conditions.
See more information in this article by Nilfisk about the role of vacuuming in infection control.

Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters include the Nilfisk VP300 HEPA Vacuum and the
Viper DSU Tub Vacuum.

Vacuum cleaners remove dust and particles, although to actually clean the carpet, a carpet extraction cleaner is needed.

Carpet cleaning using a carpet extractor

Vacuum cleaning will remove the loose deposits from the carpet surface but the “unseen” dirt comes from people’s shoes and, particularly in a care home, wheelchair wheels. This tends to be oily and greasy in nature and can build up over time leaving the carpet unsightly and potentially unhygienic. A carpet extractor uses a chemical cleaner, suitable for the type of carpet being cleaned, and this is mixed with water to form a solution. This solution is then applied by the extractor to the carpet surface and then agitated deep into the pile to absorb the dirt. The resultant mixture is the vacuumed into a holding tank in the machine for later disposal.

Carpet extraction cleaners for care homes

The extractor used to clean a care home carpet will depend on the area of carpet, how maneuverable the machine needs to be and if cleaning when residents are about, how quiet the machine is.

Carpet extractors use chemicals to aid the cleaning process. Because carpets are made from a variety of materials, the correct choice of chemical is essential for the extractor to clean correctly. The wrong chemical can be harmful to a carpet so any large scale cleaning should be done by a fully trained operative.

There are a variety of carpet extractors available with a range of options, ranging from small vacuum cleaner sized machines like the Prochem Comet carpet and upholstery cleaning machine which is also particularly effective at removing spots and stains. to the larger, more sophisticated
Steempro range. These machines are very quiet in use, ideally suited to the care home environment. Hot water carpet cleaning is particularly effective and there is an option to have an inline heater, the Prochem Heat ‘N’ Run, which enables a constant supply of hot cleaning solution as you work.

We also supply Microsan Biocidal cleaner which has achieved the EN14476 Standard, approved for use against Coronavirus.

Carpet steam cleaners

Many experts recommend steam cleaning to control the spread of viruses, because heat above 77°C kills all living organisms and the temperature of steam is of course much higher than that.
You can find out more about steam cleaning for coronavirus decontamination in our blog.

We supply a range of dry steam cleaners including the small and easily portable STI QV6 and STI QV7 and also the Matrix SV8, which has been designed for use in care homes and healthcare environments, with a built-in vacuum to leave surfaces dry after cleaning.

If you need help to decide on the best types of equipment to use in your care home, please get in touch as we’re happy to offer advice.

Article originally written 6/12/18, updated by Martin Reece 18th November 2020

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