While entrance matting is less likely to harbor unwanted pests, it is still a potential entryway for ticks, fleas and other creepy-crawlies that are carried in on animals or people’s clothing. Thus, custodial departments should treat matting the same way they treat carpeting when controlling pest infestations.

As with carpeting, the first line of defense in preventing or reducing pest infestations is daily vacuuming.

“Vacuum regularly with equipment that has a beater brush,” advises Rathey. “As good as backpacks and canisters are, they lack the agitation feature that you need to rattle the dirt and dust out of that deep pile mat.”

For permanent entrance matting, custodians can also use hot water extraction from time to time. For removable matting, experts suggest using a service to wash and change out mats when needed.

“A lot of people go with a service that launders entrance matting,” says Rathey. “That’s often easier because mats tend to be heavy, and impervious backings are harder to wash.”

Pearson also recommends having approximately eight steps on a walk-off mat before entering the facility and eight steps on a walk-off mat inside the facility.

“You need to walk the dirt off your feet before you get onto the carpet,” he says.

Rathey agrees: “If you’re doing an integrated pest management program, one of the things you want to do is make sure you have adequate entrance matting so you’re not bringing things in from the outside that are contributing organic matter to the indoor environment.”

Carpets — especially clean, dry ones — are a hostile environment for bugs. And the benefits of routine carpet care and maintenance go above and beyond pest control.

“If you properly maintain your carpet, you will enjoy that carpet for its entire designed life,” says Braun. “If you don’t maintain it, you can destroy the carpet long before its designed life is realized.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C.

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Control Pests With Carpet Extraction