Pouring Cold Water on the Studies
Upon first reading about these studies, it is fairly easy to surmise there might be a connection between carpet cleaning and KD. However, a closer investigation and follow-up studies question these conclusions.
First of all, most Japanese homes, where the disease was first identified, do not have carpets and few have areas rugs, at least the kinds we most often find in American homes. Traditionally, they have mats and these mats are not typically cleaned using carpet cleaning equipment, chemicals, or related tools.
Second, and more conclusively, a study of KD by the Kempe Research Center in Aurora, CO, found there was no connection between carpet cleaning and KD. The researchers tested a variety of carpet cleaning systems and methods and none showed a direct or even an indirect association with KD.
What Rental Professionals Should Do
"What is most important is that rental professionals know the facts [about KD]," says Nick Wiebe, marketing manager for U.S. Products, a leading manufacturer of professional portable carpet cleaning equipment. "Reliable, credible information about KD is always the best defense should a customer ask about the disease."
Additionally, he suggests rental professionals consider renting more professional carpet extractors than the small do-it-yourself equipment, often found in hardware and grocery stores. These small systems, although they can do an adequate job, were originally made popular because they were so small and easy to transport. However, Wiebe suggests, some professional portable extractors are now designed for "solo" operation - meaning they can be easily transported and operated by just one person and are typically more effective at cleaning carpets.
"We have to remember, cleaning is primarily about health. The more professional systems have more power to remove deeply embedded soils, heat the cleaning solution to improve cleaning effectiveness, and [have] more powerful vacuums to remove moisture," he says. "The result is healthier and cleaner carpets."
He also suggests that rental professionals consider adding other carpet cleaning tools to their rental arsenal.
"One of the most important is air movers," he says. "Not only do these help dry carpets quickly, they are an inexpensive add-on that makes renting professional carpet cleaning equipment all the more lucrative."
Going for the Gold
When selecting professional carpet extractors to rent, look for equipment that has been tested and evaluated by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and received the Seal of Approval. These machines are put through a number of testing procedures to evaluate their effectiveness, how well they remove soils and moisture. A machine bearing the Gold Seal of Approval will provide excellent performance and protect the health of your customers.