Deep Cleaning on a more frequent basis is a major part of the short- and long-term solution regarding COVID-19

The concept of deep cleaning, and cleaning for health first and appearance second is not a new one. In 1993, Dr. Michael Berry published a groundbreaking textbook entitled “Protecting the Built Environment – Cleaning for Health.” Dr. Berry laid out clearly the importance of cleaning on overall environmental quality – indoors and outdoors. For the last almost 40 years, Dr. Berry as a Research Scientist, and many in the field like him have been preaching the doctrine of cleaning for health first and appearance second.

From 1991 to 2014, scientific studies were carried out related to the interaction of deep cleaning procedures to the quality of the indoor environment, specifically to indoor “healthfulness.” The original studies in 1991 and 1994 were conducted by Dr Berry and the Research Triangle Institute on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Subsequent studies in 2008 and 2014 were conducted by Air Quality Sciences and the Airmid Health Group expanding upon these original studies. In an article in the Journal of Cleaning, Restoration, & Inspection published in 2017, entitled Characteristics of High-Performance Carpet Cleaning, Dr. Berry looked back at all of the studies and  expounded up on his thoughts specific to the deep cleaning of floors and the “healthfulness of the indoor environment. He summarized “Effective cleaning is the process of extracting and removing unwanted matter to the optimum extent to reduce exposure to unwanted matter. Most people clean carpets when they look dirty. Rarely does anyone recognize that their carpet needs to be cleaned for health protection. Yet every time pollutants are extracted from the carpeting; the quality of the indoor environment is enhanced by reducing exposures. A high-performance carpet cleaning process focuses on nine steps using a wet, high temperature, high flow, high extraction system”

In this article, Dr. Berry defines deep cleaning of carpet specifically as (items in parenthesis are an amplified explanation and not directly from Dr. Berry’s article):

  1. Wet (Water based)
  2. High Temperature (145-160º F across the surface being cleaned)
  3. High Flow (> 1.0gpm, not psi)
  4. High Extraction System (Vacuum recovery capabilities, wastewater storage)

In other words, truckmounted cleaning with the hot water extraction process. Why was this process found to be so effective at improving the health of the indoor environment? Well essentially these studies demonstrated that deep cleaning had a high level of effectiveness at removing all unwanted matter, including soil, allergens, and biological contamination. Specific to COVID-19, these studies demonstrated that deep cleaning had a high degree of success at inactivating viruses.

In any application of sanitization and disinfection, the first step must first be deep, restorative cleaning, extraction, and removal of unwanted substances. For surfaces that can be treated with chemical sanitizers and disinfectants, removal, and extraction of as much of the harmful contamination prior to the application of those disinfectants is extremely important.

Industry instructor and consultant and Aramsco associate Rachel Adams-Beja has written.

“Regardless of what chemicals may be able to destroy the Novel Coronavirus, most efficacy tests are done in clinical environments and not tested “in field” meaning that the real-world application and efficacy may not achieve the same results. As such, it is critical to remember that most antimicrobial products (disinfectants) are not going to achieve the desired results when applied to soiled surfaces, soft furnishings, etc.
Even surfaces that appear visibly clean must be cleaned thoroughly prior to application of chemicals. The fact is that proper cleaning of surfaces is much like washing of hands and offers more protection than application of hand sanitizer as it removes the contamination rather than trying to “kill” or destroy it. The international restoration industry should lead by example and not engage in ineffective practices of applying chemicals (spraying or fogging) without proper cleaning first.”

If an interested professional carefully looks at the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for making the indoor environment safer in this age of Covid-19 (, one thing clearly stands out, the CDC agrees that any surface that is soiled in anyway should be deep cleaned first before applying a disinfectant. Dr. Eugene Cole during a recent webinar sponsored by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI – in discussing how to effectively combat the COVID-19 virus had this to say: “The virus has a lipid envelope that is not protective, rendering it susceptible to inactivation by detergents” Later when asked about the effects of heat during the cleaning process, Dr Cole responded “As a general rule (with educated limitations), the higher the cleaning temperature the better.”

At the CIRI webinar, the team of doctors, scientists, and research microbiologists that spoke all agreed that the COVID-19 virus is almost always encapsulated or contained within other materials – most commonly saliva, snot, and fecal matter. Plus, anything else the carrier might have had on their hands. They emphasized that deep cleaning was always appropriate because general surface spraying and fogging of a disinfectant might not penetrate these materials to get to the virus itself.

HydraMaster can assist your facility in gaining a better understanding of how best to implement truckmounted deep cleaning throughout your campuses. Outsourcing to certified and trained professional carpet cleaning companies is often the best way to augment your on-site maintenance teams. We can help you with that. On the other hand, we have an established track record of assisting facility managers in implementing deep cleaning protocols with your own team using our truckmounted equipment. Contact our facility specialist Mike Lombardozzi at for more information.

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