The Effect of Disinfectants, Cleaning, and Drying Practices on Oriental Rugs Flooded with Contaminated River Water: Public Health and Policy Implications

Daniel Bernazzani (2012)

Oriental rugs contaminated with Category 3 floodwater potentially harbor environmental bacteria known to be human pathogens. River water inoculated with three species of gram positive and gram negative environmental bacteria (Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were used to assess the effectiveness of disinfectant type, cleaning methodology and drying practices by examining the survival rates of bacteria. Rug sections were immersed for one hour in contaminated water, saturated in one of three EPA registered disinfectant products (Phenol, Quaternary chloride, and Thyme oil) or tap water as a control, followed by cleaning and drying. The results showed that all disinfectants reduced the overall microbial load better than tap water. Two applications of disinfectants were slightly more effective than one application, which, in combination with drying in 24 hours or less, produced an effect that notably reduced microbial counts. These results provide in-plant rug cleaners the ability to assess the benefits of different products and drying procedures, and demonstrate significant reductions of potentially pathogenic bacteria in Oriental rugs contaminated with Category 3 water.

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