A reader writes: “We have a customer who requires us to use a deodorizing powder to ‘freshen’ the carpet. This is clogging our vacuum cleaners and requiring us to dump/change more often. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

Based on further inquiry it appears that there are a few different issues to address. I do not consider using such powders as best practice but will address the process.

First of all, we determined that the carpet has not been deep cleaned (hot water extraction) since it was installed over eight years ago. The carpet has a musky odor that could be alleviated if it were cleaned more often and allowed to dry. My suggestion is that you thoroughly vacuum the carpeted areas first to remove as much of the powder as possible since using a lot of water to flush out the carpet can create sludge and cause even more problems if not handled correctly and in the right steps.

We also determined that your workers are dumping (not sprinkling) way too much of the deodorized powder than is necessary. People are complaining of “allergies” when it appears to be very poor IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) due to the powder, soils and dust in the air, especially right after vacuuming. Frequency could certainly be reduced from daily to weekly or even less often. I suggest you experiment with sprinkling a pre-determined amount such as a teaspoon per room or every 500 square feet in hallways and open areas. Rotating areas each night might help as well. You will have a lot less powder to vacuum.

We also noted that you are using a cheap (but not inexpensive in labor) vacuum cleaner with a beater bar and dump out cup with a washable filter. None of your staff have been trained on how to service their equipment by washing out the cup and thoroughly washing/drying the foam filter on a regular basis. This one step could radically reduce air pollution while extending the life of your equipment. You might also consider testing out a quality back pack system with a HEPA type filtration system to improve IAQ and increase productivity.

Sometimes less is better.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.