Properly cleaning a home requires care under normal circumstances, but regular cleaning is nothing compared with the effort that must be expended when a major event occurs. Fires, floods and other natural disasters require cleaning methods that can successfully tackle removing smoke, mold and other germ-laden deposits.
How to best handle carpet cleaning following a major event, in this case a water pipe that had burst, was the impetus behind a recent study sponsored by The Carpet and Rug Institute. The study, which was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, evaluated three carpet cleaning methods and their ability to clean moldy carpet. The goal was to evaluate the growth of fungi and its removal over time using the selected methods: high-flow, hot-water extraction; hot water and detergent; and steam vapor. Researchers wanted to determine if carpet could be cleaned to an acceptable level so that it could be saved or if replacing the carpet would be warranted because it couldn’t be successfully treated.
“We were very pleased that the Ladybug® 2300 with Thermo Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitation (TANCS®) technology was included as one of the study methods,” says Rick Hoverson, principal with Advanced Vapor Technologies (AVT). “We believe that steam vapor cleaning is an excellent choice, and the results of the study validated that belief.”
The study was conducted by the University of St. Louis School of Public Health in St. Louis, MO. Essentially, the team simulated an average home’s carpet that was located in a flooded basement. Researchers embedded 60 carpet samples with heat-treated house dust. This was followed by imbedding, wearing with a hexopad, wetting and inoculation with a liquid suspension of Cladosporium sphaerospermum, a common mold spore, prior to placing the carpet over a water-saturated foam pad. The carpet was then incubated for 24 hours, seven days and 30 days, and was cleaned after each time period using the three selected cleaning methods.
Researchers found that fungal loading increased from approximately 1,300 colony forming units (CFU) per square foot after 24 hours to a maximum of approximately 9,200 CFU per square foot after seven days. There was a slight decline in growth after 30 days.
The results achieved with the three cleaning methods varied greatly. Steam vapor with TANCS® technology emerged as the superior alternative as evidenced by the results in the shortest and longest incubation times:
“The steam vapor system with TANCS® technology generates high-temperature, very low-moisture steam vapor, which is directed into the carpet surface at approximately 104 C,” says Hoverson. “Studies have shown that the TANCS® technology forms nano crystals within ordinary tap water. When this water transforms into super-heated steam vapor, these crystals are energized as well. It is our belief that these nano crystals assist in disrupting the microbes’ cell membrane, which in turn allows the moist heat to more quickly disable or coagulate cell proteins. Once this is accomplished, the mold organism dies. It’s a chemical-free, cost-effective and non-consumptive technology that is easy to use and that works successfully.”
AVT’s steam vapor system with TANCS® is a relative newcomer to the world of carpet cleaning. The product’s capabilities – in this case significantly reducing mold after being wetted for 24 hours or more – offers one proven answer for how to best treat carpet when disaster strikes.