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Checkmate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Reports

institute certifcationReport 1 – IICRC Cleaning Frequency Guideline
NormalContaminated Outside, DustyExtremely Cold WeatherHigh Humidity
Day Care Center2wk1wk2wk1wk
Nursing Home1mo1mo1mo1wk
(2 persons, nonsmoking)6-12mo2mo4-6mo4-6mo
(2 person with smoking)4mo2mo3mo4mo
(Young children)6mo1mo3mo3mo
(Young children with pets)3-6mo1mo2mo2mo
Office Building
(Ground floor)3-6mo1-4mo2-6mo2-6mo
(higher floors)6-12mo2-6mo3-9mo3-9mo
Food Service Establishment1mo1wk2wk2wk
(Retail shop, bank)3-6mo1mo2mo2mo

Report 2 – E.P.A. – Improving Your Indoor Environment

During the 1960’s and 1970’s much of our nation’s focus was on the pollution of our outdoor environment, but recently our focus has shifted to pollution of our indoor environment.

Concern for fuel economy in the early 1970’s led to changes in construction techniques and building design to prevent the loss of temperature-controlled air from buildings. Airtight structures keep air inside, but they also prevent the flow of fresh air from the outside. Research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that our indoor environment has two to five time as much pollutants than outside air.

The quality of our indoor air has become more important to us in recent years in that the average American spends over 20 hours a day inside a closed structure. We spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. Heightened consumer health awareness has placed an emphasis on improving the quality of our indoor environment.

Carpet plays a vital, positive role in indoor air quality. It acts as an environmental filter, trapping and holding impurities from the air we breathe. The EPA and carpet industry findings indicate that with proper ventilation of new carpet, carpet itself does not contribute negatively to indoor air quality, but the buildup of soil in carpet does. Upholstery fabric also harbors soil and contaminants.

According to Michael A. Berry, Ph.D., former Deputy Director for the EPA Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, the single leading cause of poor indoor air quality in built environments today is poor maintenance. Carpet and upholstery must be cleaned to remove trapped contaminants before they overflow and are released back in the indoor air.
For a healthier indoor environment, the IICRC recommends:

VACUUM FREQUENTLY — A vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency filtration bag removes soils and bio-contaminants from carpet and upholstery and reduces the release of respirable particles into the air. These bags are now available for most models of vacuum cleaners at retail stores.

PERIODICALLY HAVE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING — Thorough cleaning removes soil and pollutants to improve indoor air quality. Use an IICRC certified technician trained in the proper use of cleaning agents and equipment.

CONTROL THE SOURCES — Entrance mats halt tracked-in soil and contaminants. Tobacco smoke, which is trapped in carpet and upholstery fabric, is a major source of indoor pollution.

INCREASE FRESH AIRFLOW — Our ancestors knew what they were doing when they opened windows to air out buildings.

CLEAN FOR HEALTH — Carpet and upholstery fabric hide soil. Don’t just clean for appearance when the accumulation of soil becomes visible.

Report 3 – Carpet and Rug Institute – Fact vs. Fiction

Sneezing. Coughing. Running nose. Itching red eyes. Sound familiar? Up to 50-million Americans each year experience these symptoms due to allergies. While the symptoms are very real, some of the quick-fix remedies are not – including moving to Arizona or shaving the family dog. According to many allergists, the real cure for sniffing, sneezing and wheezing may be as simple as a regular house cleaning. In household dust, common allergens from dust mites, pets, mold, and cockroaches can trigger an allergic response. Dr. Mary Lasley, a pediatric allergist, explains “Simple changes in your routine house cleaning can reduce allergies and help your family live more comfortably.”

Please read on for more facts about allergies, as well as practical tips on how to maintain the home to prevent allergies.
You can breathe easier in your home.
Ask the Allergist

What is an allergen?
An allergen is any substance that can trigger an allergic response. Besides indoor substances, outdoor pollens and foods are common allergens. When an allergic person encounters an allergen, the immune system becomes activated. This triggers a complex chain of events, which produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as swelling of tissues, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and other reactions. It is unclear why some substances trigger allergies and others do not.

Who gets allergies?
It is not yet fully understood why certain people get allergies while others do not. However, we do know that allergies can develop at any age, and heredity plays a key role in who will develop allergies. If one parent has allergies, the child will develop allergies 48 percent of the time, and if both parents have allergies, the child’s risk grows to 70 percent.

How can I find out more about allergies?
If you suspect you may be suffering from allergies, contact an allergist /immunologist. Your allergist can perform tests to determine the source of your allergies and then establish the best course of treatment. Often, the first step is to minimize your exposure to your particular allergen(s). You and your allergist can work together so that you can make appropriate changes in your environment.

How to Reduce Allergies in Your Home
Indoor allergens that can be found in the home include dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroach allergens. An allergist may recommend environmental control measures for the home depending upon the offending allergen. Complete avoidance may be difficult, but simple steps can be taken to reduce exposure:

Lack of circulation
Opening windows to let indoor allergens out of the home can bring outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold spores into the house. Instead, use heat and air conditioning to clean, circulate and dehumidify the air in the home. Also, using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove airborne allergens, such as pet dander, can lessen the amount of circulating allergens. Dust mites and cockroach allergens are heavy particles that do not stay suspended in the air and settle quickly, so air filters do not work well for these allergens.

Dust mites and molds thrive only in high humidity areas. Maintain the home’s relative humidity level below 55 percent by using heat and/or air-conditioning equipment consistently and using a dehumidifier where necessary – doing so will discourage dust mites and mold growth. Repair all roof and plumbing leaks to prevent mold growth.


Cleaning is the best way to reduce allergens. Done regularly, cleaning stops allergens from accumulating, which helps minimize allergy and/or asthma symptoms. Pay special attention to the bedroom since most exposure to dust mites is while sleeping – 60 percent of dust mite allergen is found in mattresses and bedding. In order to control these allergens, wash bed linens in hot water (at least 130F) weekly and vacuum mattresses regularly. Comforters, blankets and curtains should be washed frequently. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in “allergen-control” covers, and freeze or wash stuffed animals weekly in hot water (at least 130F).

Clean and disinfect wet, warm areas – such as kitchens and bathrooms – weekly to stop mold growth.

Smooth floors should be vacuumed, dusted and wet mopped weekly. When sweeping, take care not to circulate dust from the floor into the air.

Vacuum carpet and rugs at least once a week – twice a week in bedrooms and high-traffic areas. Use a well-functioning vacuum cleaner that has adjustable brushes, and bears the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Vacuum Cleaner Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing Program green label. These are vacuum cleaners that have been tested for and meet strict standards for removing soil and containing the dust within the bag and the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners may produce dramatically different cleaning results and impact on the indoor environment. The green label program endorses only vacuum cleaners that perform each of the following three tasks well: soil removal, dust containment (without putting the dust back into the air) and carpet appearance retention.

Vacuum upholstered furniture regularly, and clean hard furniture with a damp cloth. A damp cloth should be used on window treatments, windowsills and window frames, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and storage units as well. Dust also can be reduced by storing books and knick-knacks in closed cabinets – doing so leaves fewer places for dust to settle and makes cleaning easier.

Your allergist/immunologist can provide you with more information on allergies.

Report 4 – Shaw Industries – Carpet Warranty Information

Shaw Industries the largest carpet mill in the world recommends the hot water extraction system, which research indicates provides the best capability for cleaning. This system is commonly referred to as “steam cleaning,” although no steam is actually generated. The process consists of spraying a solution of water and cleaners into the carpet pile and recovering the water and soil with a powerful vacuum into a holding tank. This can be done from a truck-mounted unit outside the home with only the hose and wand brought inside.

Professional carpet cleaners – It is to your advantage to use professional cleaners because their experience enables them to do a better job than you can do yourself. Their equipment has more extraction power than the rental units available to you, and the carpet should dry more quickly. True professionals have also made the investment in training to understand the equipment, to know the proper cleaning agents for the situation at hand, and to recognize the differences in fibers and carpet construction.

Shaw Industries recommends an IICRC technician (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).

Professional Cleaning – As a general rule, professional cleaning by a certified firm, should take place once per year. Many stain resist warranties require professional cleaning every 6 to 24 months or your warranty is void. This removes toxic pollutants for health reasons and helps with the performance of your carpet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, Carpet Rug Institute and your carpet manufacture they recommend hot water extraction every 6 to 12 months for health reasons. This is the industries minimum standard for the consumers protection.

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