Carpet Cleaning Encapsulation and Sealing

Warning: Cleaning carpet can cause problems. In fact, the cleaning products used by carpet cleaning companies have been implicated in serious health problems. Cleaning of carpet has also been connected to Kawasaki syndrome, which is a serious systemic illness in children. Whenever a carpet is cleaned, use caution and leave the home until it has aired out and cleared.

If the carpet is new and has a high chemical content (you can carefully choose carpet that does not), use a Dry Steam Cleaner or have a professional clean the carpet with one of the specified products/procedures below.

Do not stay in the home while the cleaning is being done. Open windows and ventilate. Draw air out of home with large fans facing to the outside of windows and doors to suck the air out of the house. Make sure that outgassing has dissipated before returning to the home. Do not return to the home if any unusual odor persists. (It is especially important not to let children into the home until all chemical odor is gone. Many children have become immune impaired from breathing the air where carpets with toxic chemicals are cleaned.)

Again, occupants of the home and especially the chemically sensitive should not be present during this procedure and should not return to home until decontamination/cleaning is complete. Refuse to start procedure if chronically ill or chemically sensitive person is present. It can take a day, a week, or sometimes longer for there to be a full clearance of chemicals stirred up by this procedure if not done correctly. Good exhaust ventilation at the time of application can help to prevent and resolve this problem. It is recommended to do one room first, ideally the room farthest from the bedroom that can be exhausted out until all residues are cleared.

Materials Needed for Cleaning and Encapsulation
Hepa Vacuum – The use of true HEPA filtered vacuuming equipment is desired. The vacuum should be DOP rated. Use a Nilfisk G-M 80 Hepa Abatement vacuum (Nilfisk vacuums are used for lead, mold, and asbestos abatement and are used to clean the clean rooms for NASA.)

AFM Safe Choice Carpet Shampoo – Jay Watts is the Technical Representative 1-800-281-9785 or 619-239-0321

AFM Carpet Seal – Carpet Seal is a sealer designed to seal in harmful chemicals in treated carpet. Carpet Seal is odor free and will, when properly applied, last for up to five cleanings or one year. 1-800-281-9785 or 619-239-0321

AFM SafeChoice Carpet Lock Out – Designed to perform two functions: first, to seal in the outgassing of harmful chemicals found in carpet fibers and second, to help repel dirt and stains. It is suitable for all synthetic carpets and rugs. Spot test for compatibility with carpet. (Wool fibers do not react well to water based products.) 800-281-9785 or 619-239-0321 http://www.afmsafecoat.com/Techpdfs/Lock%20Out%20data.pdf

Miracle Cover – A non-toxic stain guard treatment that seals in the Carpet Seal and enables the Carpet Seal to last much longer. This is a non-toxic Scotchguard. Talk to Paul Jordan about procedure and for technical information. 1-800-304-7325 http://www.usamiracle.com

Materials for HVAC System Barrier
Vapor Barrier Options:
Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil 1 ml thick – easy and inexpensive way to cover registers and grilles of the HVAC system.
Denny Foil – available from Foust 1-800-225-9549 . NOTE: Sometimes it is easier (also less expensive) to tape the bedroom door with heavy-duty aluminum foil or denny foil, than to use the vapor barrier Tu-Tuff below.
Tu-Tuff 3 – from Shelter Supply 1-800-762-8399. Tu-Tuff 3 is a vapor barrier that is well tolerated by the chemically sensitive. Call Shelter Supply for a sample. Use Tu Tuff when setting up large containment areas.

Tape Options:
Duct Tape

Masking Tape

Clean Release Painter’s Tape – (only available in 3 inch width) by Henkel Consumer Adhesives 1-800-321-1733 www.duckproducts.com. Available at Wal-Mart or True Value Hardware. This same tape is also called Pro Painters Plus at Lowe’s. Do NOT get the 3-M Safe Release Tape #2090 that Home Depot Sells. This tape is toxic.

Shurtape – available in 2 and 3-inch width from Foust 1-800-225-9549

Note: If applicable, test tape in an inconspicuous area to make sure that it doesn’t pull paint off the wall.

Preliminary Preparations
Shut down the HVAC system and cover all registers – supplies and returns – with foil vapor barrier. Tape the entire perimeter of the foil so that no air or particulates can get into the system. Be careful when taping so that paint is not damaged – try to tape the register.

Cover door to bedroom with a vapor barrier (Tu-Tuff 3 or Denny Foil) to protect it from particulates and fumes released during this process. Tape entire perimeter of door so that it is completely sealed. An alternative to using the vapor barrier on the door is to use Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap and cut strips to cover the perimeter of the door including the floor – entire door opening around the edges where air could penetrate should be covered. Be careful with tape and paint. Tape first with painter’s tape then cover painter’s tape with aluminum foil tape to make a vapor barrier that can’t be penetrated. If after completing the rest of the house, you are comfortable and not reacting, then treat your bedroom carpet last.

Do not open up registers and start HVAC system until process is complete.

It is important that the house is well ventilated during this procedure. Ducted HEPA negative air machines should be installed if possible to act as air scrubbers. (The specified cleaning products are going to pull out and release chemicals embedded in the carpet into the air; these airborne contaminants have to be drawn out of the house.)

Cleaning, Shampoo, Encapsulation, and Sealing Options
The following carpet treatments will help remove pesticides, formaldehyde, and other chemicals from the carpeting and pad. In addition to cleaning you have the option to also seal in chemicals to prevent outgassing. These treatments are not suitable for carpets with large wool content. (Check with manufacturer.) Always test products used on a small piece of carpet that is not in a conspicuous place.

Hepa vacuum the carpet first making 3 passes over all areas of carpet. If you are only going to clean the carpet, you can choose one of two methods – steam cleaning only or shampooing the carpet and following it with steam cleaning. Test the AFM Carpet Shampoo on carpet in an inconspicuous area before using on entire carpet to ensure compatibility and colorfastness. If carpet does not pass the colorfast test, then skip the shampoo and just steam clean.

Steam Clean Only
Use water only. No chemicals. Bring in a truck mounted steam clean extractor (Steamatic and Blackman Mooring are in many cities). Hot water steam extraction process will clean the carpet.

Make sure to ventilate and exhaust the area with a fan placed in window facing out so that the fan takes the air from the room and blows the air from the room being treated out the window.

This may be your last step. If so, then you are done. Keep ventilation going until there is no odor left from the carpet cleaning. Steer clear of area until all odor has cleared from the house. Do not expose yourself to the odor of the cleaned carpet. This is very important.

Important: Ask steam cleaning company if they ever use the equipment for anything other than steam cleaning. No Chemicals should have been used in the steam cleaning equipment. If there has been chemical contamination, then their equipment needs to be washed with a 5 parts water to 1 part Branch Basics solution before use. Most steam cleaning companies only use water and no chemicals but play it safe by asking.

Shampoo and Steam Clean
The carpet will need to be shampooed first, then immediately steam cleaned. Shampoo carpet with AFM Safe Choice Carpet Shampoo. Do a colorfast test with the materials.

Mix 8 ounces Safe Choice Carpet Shampoo to 1-gallon water. Spray on with a pump sprayer; agitate fibers with brush, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Make sure to ventilate and exhaust the area with a fan placed in window facing out so that the fan takes the air from the room and blows the air from the room being treated out the window. Keep ventilation going until there is no odor left from the carpet cleaning.

Steam Clean the shampooed carpet by bringing in a truck mounted steam clean extractor (Steamatic and Blackman Mooring are in many cities). Hot water steam extraction process will clean the carpet and remove all shampoo residue.

This may be your last step. If so, then you are done. Do not expose yourself to the odor of the cleaned carpet. This is very important.

Important: Ask steam cleaning company if they ever use the equipment for anything other than steam cleaning. No Chemicals should have been used in the steam cleaning equipment. If there has been chemical contamination, then their equipment needs to be washed with a 5 parts water to 1 part Branch Basics solution before use. Most steam cleaning companies only use water and no chemicals but play it safe by asking.

Encapsulation – Sealing of Carpet
If you feel that your carpet is toxic, new or contaminated and you can’t remove the carpet, then encapsulation is an option. After steam cleaning:

Apply AFM Carpet Seal right after steam clean the carpet. (While carpet is still damp spray the Carpet Seal.) You shouldn’t put AFM Carpet Seal on carpet until it is well prepared through steam cleaning. The steam cleaning softens the soil retarders. If the carpet is not steam cleaned, the Carpet Seal can’t penetrate the fibers and will sit on the surface.

Work AFM Carpet Seal into fibers with a brush. This will impregnate the sealer into the fibers. Talk with Jay Watts at AFM for tips on application.

Dry the carpet with fans and ventilation. Dry Completely. Use heaters if necessary. Do not expose yourself to the odor of the cleaned carpet. This is very important

Apply AFM Safe Choice Lock Out. Carpet must be completely dry before application. Using a hand-held pump sprayer (similar to a garden sprayer), spray a fine mist of Safe Choice Lock Out evenly and uniformly over the entire carpet surface. Do not over saturate. Allow the carpet to dry thoroughly before permitting floor traffic. Again, do not expose yourself to the odor of the cleaned carpet. This is very important.

If you want added stain protection and protection for the Carpet Seal and Lock Out, then the last step is to apply Miracle Cover that is a non-toxic replacement for Scotchguard. Apply Miracle Cover according to directions (call Paul Jordan of Miracle Cover at 1-800-304-7325 for instructions) to dry carpet. This application will increase the longevity of the Carpet Seal and Lock Out. Once again, ventilate and do not expose yourself to the odor of the cleaned carpet. This is very important.

After procedure, complete with the basic cleaning vacuuming protocol HEPA vacuum – the ceiling, the walls, and floor.

Carpet Maintenance Tips

Vacuum daily with a true HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Accumulator) type vacuum cleaner – a must if you have carpet. It is the only vacuum type that picks up dust mite feces, animal dander and mold spores. Recommend is the Nilfisk GM-80 double insulated vacuum system that filters to .3 microns. Nilfisk is the type of vacuum that NASA uses in their “clean rooms” and is also used in asbestos, mold, and lead abatement.

A Hoover Steam Vac All Terrain can be used to pull the dirt out of the carpet and can also be used on hard surface floors such as ceramic tile. Do not use the cleaner that is recommended with the vac, use Branch Basics diluted 5-1 as the cleaning agent. There is a container that you fill with water and a percentage of cleaner – the percentage you use is the 5-1. You DO NOT fill the entire container with the Branch Basics 5-1. Beware –If the carpet has embedded chemicals you should ventilate and exhaust as you clean. (www.hoover.com 1-800-944-9200)

Carpeting should never be used in areas where it will get wet – bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, kitchens and dining rooms. Dust mites, bacteria and molds grow in damp carpets.

If the carpet or pad gets wet, dry it as quickly as possible to prevent microbial growth. Must dry within 24 hours or mold growth will begin. There is no way to quickly and completely dry out a wet carpet from the top. If there is an accident, the best way to deal with it is to remove the carpet and carpet pad from floor and hang them to dry. If carpet can’t be removed for drying, professional blower fans are available at rental centers, which can be inserted under the carpet to blow air up through the carpet and help speed the drying. Set up fans as soon as possible.

Keep dirt and mold spores out. Remove shoes at the door. Avoid wearing shoes on the carpet as much as possible.

To remove odors in carpets sprinkle with baking soda and let set over night. Then use a HEPA vacuum. Be careful to apply baking soda so that it doesn’t become airborne. Then while baking soda is down, lay down a path of brown building paper to walk on so that baking soda is not lifted into the air when walked on.

  • To get started with the Branch Basics products mentioned in this article and to learn more about all natural, human safe cleaning products, start here.
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