Categories: Blog, Carpet Care

Pristine Cleaning Gal

Which Cleaning Method Kills More Viruses & Bacteria?

Steam or Dry Carpet Cleaning?

There are more than a few styles of carpet cleaning, but they all fall into one of two categories; wet or dry. While everyone has their preference for the style of cleaning that doesn’t mean that the method we prefer is going to automatically kill germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold or mildew. So which cleaning method kills more viruses & bacteria?

We are all acutely more aware of our health and protecting against viruses these days. This new way of life is making a lot of us wonder about properly sanitizing our homes. However, which carpet cleaning method is best for killing viruses and bacteria? While many assume that steam cleaning does a better job, the answer isn’t quite that simple. So what is the real answer?

Does hot water extraction kill more viruses & bacteria?

In order to effectively kill viruses, the water would have to maintain a temperature of 212 degrees for a full minute. Most truck-mounted steam cleaners heat the water to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. (If cleaning wool they set it to around 180 degrees). However, heat is lost between the truck and the end of the hose. Even if the temperature is hot enough, it needs to maintain the heat for 60 seconds. Many factors influence the temperature of the water. The loss of heat from movement, distance traveled, and the temperature of the carpet all play a factor in how long the water can maintain the required temperature. In addition, the wand must remain stationary over the exact same section of carpet for a full minute. These factors make it unlikely that the water will maintain the correct temperature long enough to effectively kill bacteria and viruses in the fabric.

One additional problem created by trying to maintain the temperature long enough is the over-soaking of the carpet. Carpet that remains wet for too long can actually grow mold and mildew. It doesn’t take long for spores to take hold. If fabric remains wet for longer than 24 hours, it is at risk.

Does dry cleaning kill more viruses & bacteria?

Many dry-cleaning methods also employ hot water. However, the same problem still exists. In order for the water to effectively kill viruses and bacteria, the temperature of 212 would have to be constant. Low to no moisture cleaning methods will not be able to accomplish a temperature this high for a long enough period of time.

Properly Treating For Viruses and Germs

The only way to ensure that viruses, bacteria, germs, and spores such as mold and mildew are killed, is to specifically treat them. Just like laundry may require an additional product to disinfect and remove odors, your carpet also requires a sanitizing treatment. If the carpet cleaning company is not using a product to sanitize, viruses and bacteria will remain. 

The best way to ensure that your family is protected is to use a sanitation product approved for carpets and upholstery. Do not rely on the heat of the cleaning process to adequately remove harmful germs and bacteria. In addition, sanitizing the carpet will improve problem odors that might remain after basic cleaning. If an odor does remain after cleaning, it is an indication that there is still some sort of bacteria present. Keep in mind that pet odors are incredibly difficult to remove. Not all companies guarantee pet odor removal even when they treat for it. 

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