It Takes More Than Cleaning To Stop Germs, Stop Insects, Stop Odors

The Indoor Air Quality Issue

There is a growing concern and awareness about Indoor Air Quality (lAQ) as issues like "indoor air pollution" and "sick building syndrome" are receiving increased attention from the general public and the cleaning industry.

Indoor air quality is a complex issue. There are no simple answers; no single causes or cures to indoor air quality problems. The many facets of indoor air quality include: HV AC systems - some commercial HV AC systems today move significantly less air than HV AC systems 15 - 20 years ago. Consequently, indoor air today often has a higher concentration of irritant chemicals and sensitizing biologicals than outdoor air; building construction, modem tight buildings limit indoor/outdoor air exchange, which can worsen indoor air quality; equipment, furnishings, and finishes used in buildings; human activities within buildings like smoking; outdoor air quality; and a host of other contributing factors.

The Von Schrader Company is closely monitoring the issue of indoor air quality as it relates to cleaning and maintenance of carpet, upholstery, and wall/ceilings. Our company objective is to provide accurate information about this complex issue. Currently, we are actively Involved in research projects evaluating the impact of cleaning and maintenance practices on IAQ

The impact of carpet and carpet maintenance on indoor air quality is also being explored by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), carpet manufacturers, cleaning equipment and product manufacturers, and others. The EPA indicates that "approximately 30% of the large buildings in the United States experience indoor air pollution at some time."

This growing awareness of and concern about indoor air quality may change the primary focus of cleaning and maintenance from appearance management to further improving building sanitation. In other words, cleaning for health first and appearance second. There are three major areas of concern involving indoor air quality and cleaning and maintenance: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Biological Contamination, Dust.


There are many sources of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) in a building. Some of these sources include: furnishings, carpet, building materials, coatings, cleaning products, household products, tobacco smoke, fuels and solvents, and pesticides.

Contrary to some misleading reports that have appeared in various media, carpet does not contribute substantially to VOC levels. Paint, adhesives, and wallcoverings all have significantly higher VOC emission rates than carpet.

VOC emissions are also an issue with cleaning products.

Recent testing indicates that the Von Schrader Dry Foam Extraption Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Systems do not emit harmful VOC's during the cleaning process. Our cleaning products are safe and non-toxic.

Biological Contamination

Biological contamination can contribute to indoor air quality problems. Biological contamination comes in many forms ranging from bacteria and viruses to fungi and pollen. There are many sources of biological contamination including:

  • Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Moisture and Protein
  • Showerheads
  • Pets/Pet Urine
  • Contaminated Foods
  • Humans
  • Mites
  • Water Damage