How Often Should Carpet Be Cleaned

The Science of Carpet Cleaning

Carpet is a matter absorber in that it traps and transfers unwanted matter, such as soil and dust. In that way, it conforms to the second law of thermodynamics: If left to itself, it seeks a state of disorder.

In order for the carpet to maintain its original state and function correctly, it needs an effective periodic cleaning.

What does it mean to effectively clean a carpet?

Scientifically, effective carpet cleaning is the process of extracting and removing unwanted matter to reduce exposure to the greatest or optimum extent. In other words, removing soil and other particulates to the extent that it doesn’t adversely affect humans, material surroundings, or air quality.


How does carpet get so dirty?

Most soil is tracked into buildings through ground-level entrances, but can also be deposited in other ways: direct contact (foot traffic), air deposition, impact, or filtration. Because carpet has a large and irregular surface area, it attracts and holds onto matter extremely well. Because of this, the carpet can also help control indoor air pollutants. In fact, there have been several studies over the past 25 years demonstrating that properly designed and scheduled carpet cleaning and extraction programs enhance the quality of the indoor environment by helping to reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants and protect health.


What types of indoor pollutants can be extracted by carpet cleaning?


There are several:

  • Fine particles that can’t be controlled through normal housekeeping methods such as frequent vacuuming.

  • Particles to which other pollutants such as solid and gas-phase organic compounds are bound.

  • Biological allergens of all types.

  • Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic found in outside soil dust.

  • Pesticides and herbicides used in and around the microenvironment.

  • Combustion byproducts from cooking, wood smoke, candles, and tobacco.

How often should carpets be effectively extracted and cleaned?

An effective carpet cleaning program will differ based on the building environment and its frequency is based on a number of variables. According to Dr. Michael A. Berry, a well-respected environmental scientist, the carpet in daycare facilities should be extracted and cleaned on a weekly basis, but in the case of an epidemic, daily. Similarly, Berry recommends that carpet in an office building should be extracted and cleaned every 6-12 months, but the ground level should be cleaned every 3-6 months.

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