Since the onset of the pandemic, facilities have devoted much time and attention to surface cleaning and disinfection. But now, armed with the knowledge that COVID-19 remains airborne for longer periods of time than originally believed, in-house custodial departments and building service contractors (BSCs) are shifting their focus to indoor air quality.

No doubt, vacuum equipment is an essential component of any indoor air quality management program, and — thanks to the pandemic — the heightened awareness of the role vacuums play can help distributors promote their use.

“Vacuuming helps improve indoor air quality by controlling the amount of dust and debris on the floor and in the air,” says Nikki Tollefson-Frampton, product manager for commercial vacuums at Minneapolis-based Tennant Company. “If dust and debris is not removed from the facility, infection control programs are not as effective.”

According to Rex Shull, vice president of product management and engineering for Karcher North America, Aurora, Colorado, vacuuming alone is unlikely to capture and contain an airborne virus like COVID-19. However, facilities still need to clean dirt and remove the soils that serve as a food source for bacteria.

“Vacuums are an essential step in the cleaning and disinfecting process,” says Shull. “They remove gross soils, which allow the cleaning chemicals to do their work properly. Vacuums also remove dust mites and pollen that can trigger asthma and allergies.”

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