Inadequate cleaning may affect up to 20% of the occupants of school buildings who are susceptible
to allergies or asthma. ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, released
a comprehensive cleaning standard for K-12 schools to provide building managers
with a tool to effectively measure the cleaning process and implement steps to improve.
"Effective cleaning is especially important in light of growing evidence that improved
hygiene in schools results in reduced illnesses and reduced absenteeism," members of
the standard's executive committee wrote.
Proper vacuuming is at the cornerstone of effective school cleaning.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) conducted a widespread inspection
of schools throughout the state and found levels of allergens that exceeded risk thresholds
for asthma and allergy symptoms in most buildings. The allergy and asthma triggers
included mold spores, pet allergens and elevated dust mite allergens. Most were inadvertently
transported into the schools by children, teachers and staff.
Floors contained the largest concentrations of allergens due to heavy foot traffic, and
carpeted surfaces — common in school auditoriums, offices and libraries —
contained higher levels of allergens than hard surface floors.
Brad Hoare, product manager for Sanitaire, frequently consults with school maintenance
directors to improve the indoor air quality of their buildings. Hoare recommends maintenance
directors select vacuums that have earned the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval for soil removal, dust
containment and carpet appearance.
A vacuum like the new Sanitaire® EON™ ALLERGEN (SC5505A) is ideal, as it is scientifically proven to reduce asthma and allergen triggers. In
fact, the EON ALLERGEN is the first commercial vacuum to be certified asthma & allergy friendly® by the Asthma
and Allergy Association of America. The vacuum is also CRI Gold certified.
While upright vacuums are frequently associated with carpet cleaning, Hoare says commercial
upright vacuums that allow you to turn off the brush roll or use HEPA filtration also
can effectively clean tile and other hard surfaces and prevent allergy and asthma triggers
from becoming airborne.