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10 Ways To Help
Improve Your IEQ:
1. Keep walkways and entries clean.
2. Use mats to trap soil at entries.
3. Clean shoes at entries.
4. Use high quality vacuum equipment.
5. Use high efficiency vacuum filter bags.
6. Vacuum frequently.
7. Use HVAC filters.
8. Clean the carpet.
9. Clean other soft surfaces.
10. Control moisture and humidity.

Improving Indoor Environmental Quality

QuestionWhat are some reliable ways to improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in facilities?

AnswerIndoor environmental quality, sometimes called indoor air quality (IAQ), is a growing problem in today's facilities. According to an article titled "10 Ways to Improve Indoor Environmental Quality Immediately," published in Services Magazine, October 2001, IEQ issues have risen sharply since the 1970s, when organizations began building virtually airtight offices to save on energy consumption. Workers have reported a variety of IEQ-related symptoms to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) including headaches, fatigue, itching or burning eyes, skin irritation, nasal congestion, irritated throats and nausea. Sources may be dust, smoke, renovation or cleaning products. Often, HVAC units transmit contaminants throughout buildings.

A new study recommends an organized cleaning program for minimizing IEQ problems. The study was conducted by the Research Triangle Institute, the EPA's Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in collaboration with the building service contractor, commercial cleaning and carpet industries. Following are 10 ways in which your professional cleaning service or program can help improve your IEQ:

  1. Keep walkways and entries clean. Sweep, dust, vacuum or use a leaf blower to remove soil and debris.
  2. Use mats to trap soil at entries. Mats reduce the quantity of particles that enter traffic areas and build up, eventually becoming airborne.
  3. Clean shoes at entries. Cleaning, removing, or leaving shoes at the entry reduces fine particles containing lead.
  4. Use high quality vacuum equipment. A quality, durable upright vacuum with a brush is essential. The Carpet and Rug Institute's (CRI) Green Label program identifies commercial vacuum cleaners that meet carpet industry standards.
  5. Use high efficiency vacuum filter bags. High efficiency, HEPA-type double-lined vacuum filter bags that filter out 99% of particles down to one micron or less in size are highly recommended.
  6. Vacuum frequently. Increase the frequency of vacuuming to remove soils before they sift downward and become embedded in the carpet pile.
  7. Use HVAC filters. Quality reusable electrostatic filters for HVAC systems have acrylic rods that vibrate and create a static electricity that charges soil particles, thereby attracting them to the filter. Filters should be removed and flushed free monthly.
  8. Clean the carpet. Professional cleaning compounds lift and suspend fine particles of soil. Then, careful extraction using hot water flushes them from carpet fibers. Carpet cleaning should follow the procedural guidelines of the IICRC S-001 Carpet Cleaning Standard.
  9. Clean other soft surfaces. Clean upholstery, drapery, bedding, and other fabric surfaces and wash linens weekly. The objective is to remove the maximum amount of soil with the least damage to the fiber.
  10. Control moisture and humidity. Dust mites and mold are the two most common allergens present in higher humidity climates. Studies show the dust mite infestation will be eliminated if the relative humidity of the building is maintained below 50%. This will also prevent mold growth, which requires humidity of at least 70%.

Source: Services Magazine, October, 2001.