The coronavirus crisis has caused millions of people around the world reassessing their cleaning procedures, re-learning how to wash their hands (eek!) and thinking about how to clean every surface in their homes and facilities. While much attention has been focused on disinfecting and sanitizing hard, non-porous surfaces, what about soft, porous surfaces, like carpets?
How long can COVID-19 survive on carpets?
In general, the infectious lifespan of viruses depends on a number of factors, including humidity, temperature and how porous the surface hosting the virus is. Because it is new, we don’t know exactly how long this particular strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, can last on carpets and other porous materials, but we can look to past research for some guidance.
According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infections, strains of coronavirus like MERS and SARS can survive from two hours to nine days on surfaces. We also know that studies show the flu virus stays infectious twice as long on non-porous surfaces like metal and plastic than on porous surfaces like wood, clothing and carpets.
While neither study conclusively answers the question of how long COVID-19 can survive on carpets, we can use this information to make educated assumptions and create guidance for carpet cleaning.
Carpet Cleaning for Health: Carpet Extractors
We talk a lot about “cleaning for health,” and applying that approach to your carpets can make your facility safer, cleaner and healthier.
In general, viruses survive longest in dry, cool environments. The best solution for cleaning carpets for health is therefore to use heat and moisture. The CDC also recommends removing visible contamination if present and cleaning with appropriate solutions.
When it comes to this type of deep cleaning, we highly recommend using a carpet extractor. This method uses heat and moisture to break down bacteria, debris and dirt at the molecular level and remove them from the carpet fibers.
We recommend first using a prespray to improve the effectiveness of your carpet extraction chemicals and prevent resoiling due to chemicals left in the carpet. Mix your formula in a pump sprayer, spray the area to be cleaned and let the solution sit for up to ten minutes. Next, run clean water through the carpet extractor to flush it all back up.
The iE410 carpet extractor from ICE is one of our favorite machines. It balances powerful vacuuming with chevron brush agitation and 100psi of solution pressure for the very deepest carpet cleaning. Your carpet is left clean and dry thanks to the three-stage tangential vac motor, and the fingertip controls make it easy to use.