Tony Tennant, Founder and Director at Pulizia Solutions, discusses the importance of clean carpets to ensure the health and wellbeing of tenants
Over the past two decades, the growth of allergies such as asthma has been alarming, with more and more of us suffering a range of symptoms including wheezing, sneezing, coughing and sore throats.
Historically, this has often been blamed on pollutants in the outside environment, however, more recently, a phenomena known as ‘home fever’ has been suggested as the main contributor to allergies.
In 2011, Allergy UK predicted that at least 12 million people were allergic to their own home, and the organisation also found that more than half (58%) of allergy sufferers react to house dust mites.
For landlords, this represents a critical part of their responsibilities, to ensure their properties are not causing any adverse health problems or side effects to tenants. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants, from testing the safety of electrical equipment to servicing the gas boiler, however, what is often forgotten about is the cleanliness of the carpets.
Every property harbours thousands of tiny house dust mites which live off human skin scales and thrive in locations such as carpets. Each of those mites produces around 20 waste droppings every day, which fragment easily and disperse into the air, settling quickly into areas such as bedding and carpets.
House dust mite allergy is associated with eczema, rhinitis and asthma, therefore, eliminating these contributory allergens should be a priority after each tenancy, or in the case of long-term agreements, at least every 6-12 months.
Some of the onus will remain with the tenant, including regularly cleaning bedding and damp wiping dust away, however, investing in professional carpet cleaning is becoming increasingly recognised as a vital element in reducing the effects of ‘home fever’ and therefore, promoting healthier and safer environments for tenants, as it significantly reduces the amount of allergens present in the property.
Basic vacuum or domestic cleaners are not effective in reducing or eliminating dust mites, indeed, increasing the moisture within the carpet can actually have an adverse effect and increase the numbers. However, professional cleaning has been known to kill mites and therefore prevent their droppings from causing or increasing allergic reactions.
It is also important to consider the large variety of chemicals which are available to use during carpet cleaning. Knowledge on which products offer the best solutions to certain problems is key to a safe and effective carpet clean. Many landlords are tempted to carry out the clean themselves in order to save a nominal amount of money however, the sheer amount of products available to buy pose their own danger.
From solvents to detergents and powders, the industry has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and safety of the chemicals and products used, however, it is likely that an untrained landlord would not be aware of the implications of certain chemical use, in particular, if a tenant has asthma or is sensitive to chemicals. In such cases, a professional carpet cleaner should be able to suggest alternative, more specialised products which are designed to avoid reactions or discomfort.
Equally, depending on the issue, whether it be pet stains or smells, smoking, or just general dirt and grime, again, a professional cleaning outfit will know immediately the best and most effective product to use to combat the problem.
While there are no regulations or laws requiring landlords to clean their carpets, the duty of care they do agree to means that they are at risk of falling foul if their carpets are deemed to be a contributory factor in the deterioration of the health of the tenant.
Therefore, in times of increased law suits and personal injury claims, it is essential for landlords to protect both themselves from potential legal action, as well as their tenants from any health risks.
Getting yourself into the habit of having your carpets professionally cleaned at the end of each tenancy, or at least every 12 months, would go some way to reducing the adverse effects of home-based allergies, and will also add longevity to the life of your carpets, ultimately saving landlords money on replacing those carpets.
Tony Tennant is founder and director of Pulizia Solutions, located in Skelmersdale, in the North West of England. Services provided by Tony include domestic and commercial carpet and upholstery cleaning; pre-tenancy cleans; post-building works cleans; day-to-day contract cleaning; house cleans. All products used by Pulizia Solutions are environmentally-friendly, ensuring the premises are safe and habitable. Pulizia Solutions also offers card payments in addition to traditional forms of payment.