Thanks for contacting us, we will get back to you shortly. Alternatively you can call us on the following numbers: Mobile: 0403 254 080 or 0403 254 081 Standard business hours Mon-Sat 9am-5pm. After hours & Sunday bookings available upon request or by special arrangement.
You may never have to use a carpet cleaning service again!
Self Cleaning Carpet: Is it a possibility or just science fiction?
Have you ever wished there was an easier way to clean your carpet? Not just the endless vacuuming, but also the hassle of having to find a good carpet cleaning service for your annual spring clean? Who do you hire, who do your trust, how much do you pay, will they do a good job…? Just imagine yourself living in a home with self cleaning carpet! Just imagine a quick once over with a light bulb and away you go – no more stains, no more wet carpet, no more stress! What? A light bulb? Yes, that’s right, this might be the way of the future and it might not be as far fetched as it sounds. Keep reading to find out how a light bulb and nanotechnology might one day revolutionise carpet cleaning service.
Researchers at Melbourne’s RMIT University are currently developing a technology which might well do away with the household washing machine. They are working on creating fabric for clothing, which is self cleaning. The researchers have found that by growing nanostructures on fabric, they can create textiles that self clean. The nanostructures, when exposed to light, release a burst of energy which then destroys organic matter such as stains. The idea is, that if you spill something on your clothing, you can just hang it out in the sunshine or under a light to remove the stain. Dr Rajesh Ramanathan, is one of the lead researchers in the Nanotechnology Research Facility at RMIT. His team has found the copper and silver based nanostructures are the best at absorbing light. When they absorb light, energy is created and this in turn degrades organic matter such as stains.
So far the testing has only been on small amounts of fabric and certain organic stains. Currently the team is working on testing the technology on more consumer related stains such as red wine and food to work out what quantities of nanostructures are required. According to Dr Ramanathan,
“We have some understanding, but we will need more understanding of the system [and] how it works, and once we have that understanding hopefully in the near future we should be able to have self-cleaning textiles, so we can throw the washing machine of the house,”
In the future this type of technology could also be used to destroy super bugs which are currently resistant to most known anti bacterial treatments. They have begun testing on super bugs and so far the results have been promising.
The future carpet cleaning service?
To date, the research has focused purely on stain resistant clothing textiles, however why stop there? One day, nano structures could be grown onto carpet fibres and carpets could become self cleaning. All you would need then, is a light emitting machine to go over the carpet and BAM! No more stains! How revolutionary would that be? This is definitely some research to watch, and who knows, what other uses it might have!
In the meantime, you will still need to vacuum your carpet regularly and have them professionally cleaned at least once a year, so contact us for a quote (before we become extinct!)
Melbourne carpet cleaning prices can vary considerably from business to business. “How much do you charge?” is the question we get asked most often by our customers and one that does not have a standard answer. Some carpet cleaning companies in Melbourne will advertise cleaning packages, such as standard, deluxe and premium cleaning – all with different price points and inclusions. Others list every service they offer with individual prices for each. We do not advertise pricing on our website. You are probably asking why, we don’t have cleaning packages, or why we don’t advertise our prices…..well let me explain.
No two Melbourne carpet cleaning jobs are the same. We like to assess each unique job and price it according to the individual size and condition of the carpet. We have a base rate we charge per room, (currently $35 per standard room which is up to 12sqm.) and a $99 minimum charge.
What do you get for our base rate?
More than 10 years experience in the cleaning industry and all the knowledge that has been accumulated over these years
Training and Certification by the leading Worldwide Industry bodies: Jena Dyco and IICRC
Well maintained equipment and first class environmentally friendly cleaning products
Public Liability Insurance
Satisfaction guarantee and after sales service
Friendly and reliable service technicians in uniform
Hot water extraction (Steam Cleaning) with either a portable machine or a truck mounted system (depending on access to the property).
Deodourising & sanitising
Post cleaning Inspection – we don’t leave until you are completely satisfied with the work.
Other factors we take into consideration when quoting;
the type of carpet fibre
the amount of soiling or staining
property access (high rise apartment, 3 level town house, single level house, etc.)
how long it has been since the carpet was last cleaned
Carpet cleaning quotes over the phone
Therefore when you call us, we will ask you a series of questions to determine carpet cleaning prices for YOUR home or office. We can usually give you an estimate over the phone. By asking these questions, we can be fairly confident that our quote will be accurate and all inclusive. That way, there are no “hidden extras” or “surprises” when we come to do the work. Unlike some Melbourne carpet cleaning businesses, we try to be transparent with our carpet cleaning prices, and include everything upfront, rather than quote low and then add on extra charges when we come to do the work. Of course, sometimes unforeseen situations arise resulting in the need for small additional charges, but we will always explain these to you before proceeding with the work.
Black Gold Carpet Cleaning Melbourne, does not offer cleaning bundles or packages because we always strive to achieve premium cleaning results. In our view, “Standard, Deluxe, Premium packages” implies “almost clean, sort of clean and very clean” . There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to carpet cleaning! We use all the knowledge, equipment and cleaning products required to give each and every job the best result possible for the type and condition of the carpet.
Many times we have been to a job and the customer has said, “don’t worry about that stain…it was here when I moved in…I only want a standard clean”. Then we go ahead and we remove the stain anyway and leave the carpet looking the best it can be. That IS OUR “standard” clean! This is why we charge based on the job requirements rather than a one size fits all type pricing structure. Our flexible pricing system also allows us to offer discounts for pensioners, local neighbourhood customers and those who want to clean their upholstery as well as their carpet. We value our repeat customers and will always try to offer them great value for money and a little something extra to thank them for their loyalty.
Upholstery cleaning prices
When it comes to upholstery cleaning, many people ask why it is more expensive than carpet cleaning. Upholstery cleaning prices are based on the number of seats to be cleaned. The upholstery tool we use for cleaning couches and sofas is much smaller than the wand we use for cleaning carpets, therefore it is much more time consuming. The extra time it takes to clean upholstery is factored into the pricing. The other factor we take into consideration when quoting, is the cost of the experience, knowledge and training of our staff. To be able to provide you with premium cleaning results, we need to be constantly updating our skill set and learning about the latest techniques and equipment.
The importance of questions!
So next time you wonder why there is such a difference in the prices between Melbourne carpet cleaning businesses, ask a few questions about inclusions, experience, training, guarantees and make sure you choose a carpet cleaner who can confidently answer your questions and someone who asks you a few questions too!
Please call us for a quote! Black Gold Carpet Cleaning Melbourne Mobile: 0403 254 080
When hiring a carpet steam cleaner – you get what you pay for!
Lately I have received a lot of calls from customers who have hired a budget carpet steam cleaner for their end of lease carpet cleaning. They call me because, the carpet steam cleaner they hired, did not do a very good job. I usually ask them, “why don’t you call the cleaner back and ask them to come back and do a better job?” The customer inevitably says something like, ” oh they were just someone I found on Gumtree and they were really cheap so I don’t think they will be able to fix this” or “I did call them but they said it was the best they could do and wouldn’t come back”. Let me make this very clear – you get what you pay for! Carpet cleaning and stain removal in particular is a science, you need training, experience and the right chemicals and equipment.
What is IICRC?
Anyone can go out and buy themselves a carpet cleaning machine and call themselves a carpet steam cleaner. The Government does not regulate the carpet cleaning industry, unlike many other trades,. This does not mean, however that there is no training or certification available for carpet cleaners. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is the organisation that sets worldwide standards for businesses and individuals operating within the cleaning and restoration industry.
To obtain certification, one must complete intensive training courses. Then sit and pass exams at the end of the training. They must also agree to abide by a code of ethics. As well as having current public liability insurance and continuing to update their skills and training on a regular basis. Each of the standards set by the IICRC take years to develop. These standards are reviewed every 5 years to ensure they stay up to date with scientific and manufacturing developments. Jena Dyco International is Australasia’s premier training facility for the cleaning and restoration industry. They provide IICRC approved courses and examinations as well as other workshops, seminars and training. Carpet cleaners who have completed Jena Dyco training courses, are well equipped with the skills and knowledge needed in any on the job situation.
Keeping training and equipment up to date, involves significant costs. These costs, along with having the appropriate level of insurance and staff, to deliver professional carpet steam cleaning are factored into the pricing. This is something most people are not aware of when they ask “how much to clean….”. A business charging less than it costs to hire a machine from the supermarket, must be cutting corners somewhere! I would venture a guess and say that they are using low cost cleaning products and quite possibly do not have any training and very little experience. They may not even have public liability insurance! This is frightening considering the cost of replacing carpet or furniture should anything go wrong or even worse if you or a family member are injured as a result of unsafe work practices.
Carpet Steam Cleaner Pricing
Customers always ask me why there is such a big price difference when it comes to carpet cleaning. I tell them that it really depends on the level of service and results you are expecting. In my opinion, someone who charges very low prices, is usually inexperienced and may not have the equipment and knowledge to remove dirt and stains. They may even damage the carpets through over wetting or bleaching.
The use of low quality (and low cost) cleaning products or heavily diluting them are ways to cut costs. This means the cleaning results will also be low quality. Then there are the carpet steam cleaners we all love to hate. The ones who quote low to get their foot in the door and then bump up the price once they are there. Usually, because the rooms are “bigger than standard” or the carpet is “dirtier than standard”. Sometimes without even telling you until after the job! It is important to weigh up the pros and cons when choosing between low cost Vs professional carpet cleaning.
Professional carpet steam cleaners will have insurance, completed training courses and have certification. They have the experience and knowledge to deal with all types of carpet and stains. Accordingly, they will have well maintained equipment and high quality, environmentally friendly cleaning products. A professional carpet cleaner, will walk through the job with you before they start and point out any issues they feel may affect the result. Always, they will give you a clear indication of the best expected outcome and the total price BEFORE they start work. If there are any issues after cleaning, they will return at no extra charge to re clean a spot or whatever the issue may be. Finally, they will confidently offer a satisfaction guarantee with no fine print! Surprisingly, they may even follow up with you a few days after the job to make sure you are happy.
Hiring the right carpet steam cleaner to get your bond back.
These stains were all left behind by a low budget cleaner and the customer was facing bond forfeiture.
If you are moving out of a property and you want your bond back then it is worth hiring a carpet steam cleaner who guarantees their work. They may charge a little more but they offer peace of mind and it means less hassles with the Property Manager or Landlord. Security deposits are usually in the $1000’s, so spending a little extra to make sure you get all your bond back is well worth it.
We recently helped one of our customers in Bentleigh. She was fighting to get her bond returned after she vacated a property. The Property Manager was dissatisfied with the carpet cleaning, even though we had explained that the house cleaner had been through after us and left some dust behind – nothing a good vacuum wouldn’t fix. We offered to go back and re clean the carpets just to help out our client. Instead the Property Manager tried to take the customer’s entire bond! This matter went to a Tribunal hearing. Luckily this particular customer, had used us to clean her carpet every 3-6 months of her tenancy. Therefore, she provided the judge with the receipts of carpet cleaning as well as a report from us. Needless to say, the judge ordered the Property Manager to pay her bond back in full!!
Call us first!
We are very good at removing stains. However once another carpet steam cleaner applies chemicals to a stain, it alters the Ph level. This makes our job more difficult and sometimes even impossible! I hate seeing carpet ruined by inexperience. Especially when I know I would have removed the stain if I was the first one called. Professional carpet cleaning is a science and requires skill. It does come at a cost, but no where near as much as the cost of carpet replacement!
We are always happy to offer help and advice so please contact us next time you need help. We can offer advice on stain removal, end of lease carpet or general carpet cleaning.
Please call us on 0403 254 080 for a quote or advice!
Recently we purchased a Hydroforce CX-15 carpet steam cleaning tool. This carpet cleaning tool is a revolutionary piece of equipment. It leaves carpets drier and cleaner in less time than ever before. We have always achieved amazing results with our trusty carpet steam cleaning wand, however sometimes on jobs with heavily soiled carpets, we would have to spend a lot of time going over the carpet again and again to remove embedded dirt. The CX-15 has been designed so that usually one pass is enough to remove the dirt.
Carpet steam cleaning with the revolutionary square head design
The head of the CX-15 is enclosed which means the heat is trapped in. This also means more heat which in turn, means greater cleaning power. Inside the head, the rotary jets spin so the carpet fibres are cleaned from all angles. The square, straight edged design of the CX-15 means that, unlike other rotary tools with rounded heads, we can clean close to walls and wood floors. The design of this head also allows air flow speed to be maximised. This means more water is extracted and carpets dry in less time.
Light as a feather!
The best part about the CX-15 is that it is light – only 9kg , compared to other motored rotary carpet steam cleaning tools which weigh about 36kg. This means I can easily move it around and up and down stairs without causing myself and injury! It also means I do not need additional cords and power outlets like you do for other electric rotary tools.
Commercial and Residential carpet steam cleaning – but not in tight spaces!
I have found the best use for this tool is steam cleaning commercial carpets and large empty residential properties. This is because it is can be a little tricky to maneuver in tight spaces. The hoses can be a bit of a problem if you don’t have a lot of room to turn around, so I don’t use the CX-15 for carpet steam cleaning in small properties like apartments and townhouses, especially if they are furnished. However if you are looking for end of lease carpet steam cleaning in Melbourne, for your house or office and would like to see the Hydroforce CX-15 in action, then please give me a call to arrange a booking.
As a carpet cleaner I have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly….
Over the years as a carpet cleaner, I have seen some pretty funny things put on carpet to try and remove stains. Some work and some are just plain, ridiculous and cause more damage than the original stain! There is plenty of information out there about what you should put on stains of all kinds. Some of it is good advice backed up by sound scientific principals and chemistry. Some, however, is complete fiction and could quite possibly have a horror story ending rather than the “happily ever after” most people are looking for! Here are the top five home remedies to be avoided if you want a happy ending to your red wine nightmare.
Why is it that whenever someone spills red wine, the first thing they do is reach for salt? This remedy has been passed down through the ages and probably had more to do with convenience than science. In the past (and present), both wine and salt were consumed with most meals. So salt was often the closest thing available to throw over a spill. The aim being to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. It sounds logical, until you consider the fact that salt is the ingredient we throw into dye baths to help bond dye to fabric fibres! By piling up a heap of salt on a wine stain, all you are doing is aiding the natural dyes in the wine to penetrate the carpet fibres. Thereby creating a permanent reminder of your clumsiness! The best first action for red wine is to absorb as much of the liquid as you can. The best way to do this is by using clean white towels or paper towels NOT salt! Do not panic – remember you can always call a professional carpet cleaner for advice.
2. White wine
We have all heard the one about pouring white wine over a red wine spill. I believe this also comes from the fact that where there is red wine, there is usually white wine. So if you spill the red, then try to dilute it with whatever is closest and not as colourful – white wine! There is some science behind this method. Both red and white wines are acidic and acids can be used to dissolve acids. However there are lots of other ingredients in white wine as well. So white wine is probably not the best first choice when it comes to stain removal. White wine probably will not cause any further staining, however it will be a very smelly mess and not nearly as effective as some other acids which are odourless when they evaporate, e.g. white vinegar.
The second step when dealing with red wine stains is to dilute the remaining liquid as much as possible without causing any further damage. I would suggest adding a little cold water (preferably misted on using a spray bottle) and dabbing with a clean dry white cloth. Repeat as often as necessary until there is no more colour transfer from the stain onto the cloth. You could also try adding 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts cold water to the spray bottle. If in doubt call a professional carpet cleaner for advice!
3. Baking Soda (Bi Carb Soda)
While baking soda is something that can be helpful in removing some stains, it can also leave behind a white powdery residue. This residue is very difficult to remove. I have read many blogs and articles that recommend using a a baking soda paste on food stains and pet stains. However not many mention that you also need to use an acid with the baking soda to create the right chemical reaction to remove the stains. When you combine an acid such as wine or vinegar and baking soda, you get a chemical reaction which creates carbon dioxide gas. It is this reaction that helps remove stains, the combination of a base and an acid dissolved in water. This process does work, however you have to let the paste react and then dry on the carpet. The dried paste attaches to the carpet fibres and can be very difficult to remove. Vacuuming is often not enough. You have to gently scrap the dried paste off the carpet with a blunt knife, without damaging the fibers. Is all the mess worth it when there are other carpet cleaner methods available that do not leave a residue?
4. Corn Flour (starch)
This is one of the more “out there” methods I have witnessed! Why anyone would apply corn flour to a wet carpet stain, I will never know. As with the baking soda, corn flour can be very messy and difficult to remove from carpet. Corn flour is very absorbent when it comes to greasy stains on leather furniture. This is because it is very fine and can get into tiny cracks and crevices that other products cannot. By all means use corn flour to remove grease, but don’t mix it up into a paste and lather it on your carpet. It is just too difficult to remove and there are many other remedies out there that do not require so much work! Because I am a qualified carpet cleaner, I had no trouble removing the ink stain for this customer, however the corn flour took a lot more effort!
5. Vanish and other supermarket “carpet stain removers”
I cannot say it strongly enough – never use these products on your carpet to remove stains, until you consult a professional carpet cleaner for advice. These products often contain bleach which can remove the stains. However, unfortunately, they also often remove the colour from your carpet fibres. So you’re left with light coloured patches all over your carpet. Professional carpet cleaners also used bleach, in some situations. However we know what strength bleach to use and how to rinse it from your carpet. The longer the Vanish type products stay on your carpet, the more damage they can do. There is no easy way to rinse them out of your carpet completely, without the right carpet cleaner equipment.
A final word of advice from your local carpet cleaner
Never panic! Always follow these 3 steps when dealing with most food and drink spills;
BLOT – remove as much liquid/solid as you can by blotting or scraping the spill immediately
DILUTE – Using a spray bottle filled with cold water, mist over the stain to dilute
BLOT – remove as much of the water as you can with a clean dry towell (always dab/blot – never rub!)
Lately, I have been called out to quite a few jobs where I have been asked how to get blood stains out of carpet. Now don’t get me wrong, they were not gruesome murder scenes or anything like what you see on TV these days. They were just your everyday, run of the mill nose bleed type situations and one was an unexpected home birth!! If you have pets or children, you will be very familiar with the types of accidents that result in blood staining your carpet. There is however no need to panic, blood is tricky, but can be removed provided you follow the right steps.
It can be difficult to get blood stains out of carpet
This is because, hemoglobin binds to the carpet fibres once it comes into contact with oxygen. The sooner you can attend to the stain, the better, as wet blood can be removed much more easily than blood that has been allowed to dry and bind firmly to the carpet fibres. I always recommend using a professional carpet cleaner to remove dried blood stains as the protein and enzyme spotters required to shift dried blood from carpet, can be hazardous if you are nor familiar with the correct safety procedures. Some, like ammonia can cause respiratory issues and should be used with extreme caution and in a well ventilated space, followed by thorough rinsing. Then there is also the possible bacteria and pathogens which needs to be considered and any anti microbial treatments used to sanitise your carpet, must be colour safe. Some contain bleach which will remove the colour from your carpet fibre and may cause more damage. Always wear disposable gloves when trying to get blood stains out of carpet.
The following is the first step I recommend to get blood stains out of carpet;
Cold Water:The first step is to dilute the blood as much as possible and the best way to do this is by filling a spray bottle with cold water and misting the water over the stain. It is very important to use cold water as hot/warm water can set the stain permanently into the carpet fibres.
Blot Gently:Take a clean dry cloth or towel and gently blot the stain. Do not rub or you may damage the carpet fibre and actually push the blood further down into the fibres and carpet backing. As the blood transfers onto the cloth fold it over so a fresh, clean piece of the cloth is in contact with the stain. Repeat, alternating the water spray and dabbing for as long as there is colour transfer onto the cloth.
Dry: The stain should now be much lighter in colour, if not completely removed. If you managed to get the blood stains out of carpet, dry the area as much as you can by using clean dry towels or even a wet dry vacuum if you have one. A small fan placed next to the stain will also help dry the area or you can place a dry towel over the spot and put something heavy like a glass or book on top and leave it overnight to help the towel absorb the water. Once the area is dry, vacuum the carpet to restore the natural look of the carpet nap.
What to try next….
Sometimes blood stains need a bit more of a push before they give up their hold on your carpet fibres. If you find you are left with a light stain after diluting the blood with the cold water method above, you can try something a bit stronger, depending on the type of carpet you have. Or you can call in a professional like Black Gold Carpet Cleaning, we have all the right chemicals, equipment and training to make sure you get the best result possible without any mess or fuss and we can usually get blood stains out of carpet without too much trouble.
Additional treatments to remove blood from synthetic and woolen carpets
can be spot treated with ammonia, which is a very good stain remover and a good choice when you want to get blood out of carpet. As previously mentioned ammonia produces strong fumes which can cause breathing difficulties, so always use caution, read the label, use in a well ventilated space and rinse thoroughly. Ammonia should also be avoided if you have pets (especially cats) as the smell of ammonia can cause them to urinate on the carpet. Mix a table spoon of ammonia with a cup of cold water in spray bottle and mist over the stain, then gently dab with a clean dry cloth. repeat until stain has been removed. Then rinse the area thoroughly with cold water and dry with a clean dry cloth. You can put a dry towel over the wet area and place something heavy like a glass or book on top to help the towel absorb the moisture, and leave for several hours or over night.
can be damaged by ammonia so we do not recommend you use any spotters containing ammonia on woolen carpet. Instead you can try, mixing 1 teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid with 2 cups of cold water in spray bottle and misting over the stain. Then either dab with a clean dry towel or gently agitate with an old toothbrush (do not rub or apply too much pressure or you may damage the carpet fibres and/or push the blood down further into the carpet backing & underlay). Rinse off thoroughly with a damp clean cloth and repeat if necessary. Dry with a clean dry towel. A fan placed next to the area will also help speed up the drying process.
If you cannot get blood stains out of carpet, using these methods or you would prefer to leave it to the experts, then please contact us at Black Gold Carpet Cleaning and we will be happy to help.
A few weeks ago I booked in a Caulfield carpet cleaning job for a lovely gentleman by the name of Rony in Caulfield North. I was unable to attend this job personally so I sent along a new guy who has started helping me out during this busy end of year period. All seemed fine, until we sent our our usual follow up text. We really do try to always do our best, so we want to know if our customers are happy or otherwise and relish any opportunity to rectify mistakes. It is also a good way to collect feedback for our Carpet Cleaning Review page on our website. I was really upset when I read Rony’s reply,
I am extremely disappointed, it is still not clean, now I need to call another company to finish the job…
After repeat cleaning by me
I called Rony straight away to find out what had happened. He explained that his carpet was heavily soiled and the guy who came to clean had removed some but not all of the dirt using standard carpet cleaning methods. I quickly apologised and arranged a time a few days later to come and take a look. I brought the original cleaner with me so I could show him a more thorough cleaning method for heavily soiled carpet. Heavily soiled carpets require very hot water and additional dwell time for the chemicals to work their magic. They also, often requiring agitation by a rotary machine or at least a lot of good old fashioned “elbow grease” by the carpet cleaner!
water after I re cleaned the “clean” carpet!
I love a happy ending!
By the time I had finished Rony was over the moon! Even my guy was impressed with the end result and more than a little embarrassed by his original attempt. He now knows what to do next time so it was a very valuable learning experience for him. I am so grateful that Rony gave me the opportunity to re clean his carpets. I just had to show both of them, the water from my machine: that is the water from the “cleaned” carpet, after my re clean!
In fact Rony was so happy with my service that he took to social media and he left the following carpet cleaning review,
5 stars plus! Yasser, I just want to say thank you for cleaning my carpet today! Last week one of your employees cleaned my carpet but I wasn’t completely satisfied. After we spoke over the phone, you came personally to make sure the carpet is clean and that we are satisfied. Let me just say that your care for your customers is beyond description. If anyone is searching for carpet cleaners like I did, then look no further, this is the right company, the customer service you’ll receive is like nothing you have experienced. Yasser, thanks again mate, with all honesty I didn’t think that people genuinely care anymore about customers. Much appreciated, Rony, Caulfield North
This would have to be one of the best carpet cleaning reviews I have ever received and it is even more special because it came from someone who could have just walked away and written us off as just another dodgy carpet cleaner! Second chances are like gold!
Please contact us to discuss your carpet cleaning requirements, and be assured we will not be happy until you are!
Why you should be aware of VOCs in carpet and how to deal with them.
Ahhh… love the smell of VOCs in carpet in the morning – said no one ever!
What are VOCs in Carpet? If you have ever bought a brand new, off the factory floor, never been owned before, car; then you will be familiar with that “new car smell”. Many people love this smell, there are even car deodourisers called “new car smell”! The same however, cannot be said for that “new carpet smell”. If you have ever had carpets installed in your home or office then you have probably experienced the “toxic” fumes otherwise known as VOCs that can be hazardous to your health. What causes the fumes and how can you minimise the impact on the health of you and your family? How do you deal with VOCs in carpet?
What are VOCs and why are they in my new carpet?
VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds (chemical contaminants made up mainly of carbon and hydrogen) and are found in almost all manufactured products, including soft furnishings, cosmetics, clothing, plastic bottles, paint and other building materials, cars and clothing, just to name a few. At room temperature, these VOCs are released into the environment in the form of gas which evaporates into the air – this process is sometimes called off-gassing. In the case of synthetic carpets, most but not all of these VOCs are destroyed in the manufacturing process, as the carpet is “baked” at 150-170c in a finishing oven. Carpet is, therefore, the lowest emitter of VOCs of most common flooring options. When you install new carpet in your home however, there will still be some low level VOC emissions for a few days, especially when you add in the VOCs from the underlay and adhesives used in the installation process.
Are VOCs in carpet dangerous?
While there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to VOCs causes long term health issues, there is plenty of evidence pointing towards, short term effects experienced by people exposed to high levels of VOCs. These short term effects include, head aches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, skin and throat irritations and so on. These effects vary depending on the type of chemicals, the concentration level of the VOCs and how long the person is exposed to them. A person’s age, gender, general health condition and exposure to other chemicals can all play a role determining the effects VOCs have on their health. People who experience asthma or other respiratory conditions or are particular sensitive to chemicals, should try to avoid exposure to VOCs.
Studies involving mice, have shown that long term exposure to high levels of VOCs can increase the risk of cancer, liver and kidney disease in animals and is thought to also affect humans in the same way. However there is not a lot of information on the long term health effects of low level household exposure from VOCs in carpet.
Scientists at organisations such as the EPA are still researching what are the specific chemicals released by carpets and whether or not they are dangerous for the average person. Generally the VOCs in carpets are low level and any short term effects go away once the person stops being exposed to the VOCs. However, until more is known about the impact on our health, the EPA recommends exposure to VOCs is kept at a minimum.
Has the Australian Government set standards for VOCs in carpets?
There are no specific regulations set for VOCs in carpets or even general indoor air quality by the Australian Government, except for regulations on some specific substances in the workplace. There is no single Australian Government authority to oversee indoor air quality in Australia as it would be difficult to regulate and enforce set standards in private homes. Individual state authorities and organisations, however are able to offer recommendations and guidelines based on information and research into air pollutants and their impact on our health. The Australian Carpet Institute is one such organisation, setting standards for carpet chemical emissions and carpet labeling. The Green Building Council of Australia is another organisation who sets standards and rating systems for low VOC emissions in building materials.
How can I minimise the health risks of VOCs in carpet?
To minimise the risks from VOCs in carpet, it is important to ensure good ventilation when using or installing products and materials which emit VOCs. Ventilation means bringing in air from outside to mix with the indoor air and can be as simple as opening lots of windows.
New carpet can emit VOCs in low levels, for several days after being installed, so it is worth asking your carpet supplier or installer if the carpet can be left unrolled for a few days at their warehouse before installation. This will allow some of the VOCs time to disappate before bringing the carpet into your home.
It is also important to run your ventilation system for at least 72 hours after carpet installation.
Where possible, open the windows and position fans next to the windows to blow in the fresh air.
Close the doors to the areas with new carpet and try to stay out of those rooms for a few days.
It could even be a good time to take a short holiday!
The Australian Carpet Institute, has developed a standard for carpet with low VOC emissions, called the Green Label Plus. These “green” carpets have lower VOC emissions than other synthetic carpets and are definitely worth considering. However you should make sure the underlay and adhesive used by the carpet installer are also “green” and have low VOC emissions, as often the glue can emit more VOCs than the carpet! Natural fibres such as wool and cotton with backing made from Jute or other grassy fibres are usually much longer lasting, and lower in VOCs than carpets made from synthetic fibres such as nylon or olefin which are usually backed with potentially harmful PVC plastic.
How do I maintain my new carpet and keep it VOC free?
Once you have installed your new carpet and aired out the rooms so there are no more VOC emissions, you need to ensure you vacuum your carpet regularly with a vacuum cleaner that has a filter and good, strong suction. Carpet is a great filter itself, as it traps VOCs, from other sources, as well as dirt and dust. However things like, poorly filtered vacuum cleaners or the kids playing on the carpet, cause agitation and the VOCs and dust can become air born again. It is important, therefore, to remove them with regular, well filtered, vacuum cleaning. The Australian Carpet Institute of also recommends hot water extraction using low emission VOC cleaning agents as the best method of cleaning carpets. Hot water extraction (often referred to as steam cleaning) uses heat and water to wash the carpet fibres and strong suction (extraction) the remove the VOCs and dirt.