The U.S. and Canada are seeing explosive growth around the legalization of cannabis, and vaping is also on the rise, with 1 in 20 U.S. adults now using e-cigarettes. Conventional smoking is still prevalent though, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that 14 of every 100 U.S. adults smoked cigarettes in 2017. Facility managers may not realize, but the prevalence of indoor smoking actually has an adverse effect on carpet care.
With so many options now available to consumers, facilities like hotels need to have an odor control plan in place to properly maintain guest rooms, casinos and other shared spaces. Often used to reduce noise and create a comfortable, stylish environment, carpet is abundant in the world of hospitality. However, due to its porous fibers and vast square footage, carpet can trap strong smoking odors and residues when not properly cleaned, leaving guests with a bad impression. Read on to learn more about the tie between smoking, odor control and carpet care.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), thirdhand smoke consists of the tobacco residue that is left behind after smoking is complete. It builds up on surfaces like carpet and is noticeably present in dust in environments where smoking has occurred. In fact, one research study found that a casino that temporarily banned smoking saw a significant reduction in thirdhand smoke in carpets. However, the level was still higher than levels in smoke-free spaces.
Thirdhand smoke is especially problematic considering that, as of July 2019, only six U.S. states require that all hotel and motel rooms are fully smoke-free. Hotels with casinos typically allow smoking and vaping does not set off fire alarms, which can further encourage in-room smoking. With so many hotel guests and casino players keen on smoking, this poses a problem for properties intent on keeping the smell and side effects of smoking, like residue in carpet, from impacting their brand image and guest satisfaction.
Even with the help of open windows and freshly washed linens, the stench of smoke can remain if carpet is not properly cleaned. As a result, some hotels are turning to new odor eliminating systems. One high-profile Vegas hotel recently tested a solution comprised of a blend of water and plant oils and now plans to use it in all guest rooms, the casino and other main areas.
The liquid is vaporized using a mobile unit and then bonds to smoke odor molecules in the air and on fabrics and carpet. While effective at eliminating smells, even a natural, non-toxic liquid that settles on carpet will attract dirt and require increased cleaning frequency to remove the oily soils. If these oils are not properly removed through carpet care, it can build up over time and create noticeable spots and stains.
The Benefit of Low-moisture Systems
Carpet represents a substantial investment for a hotel. Premature replacement leads to unnecessary landfill waste and widespread disruption in rooms, hallways, event spaces and even casinos. To counteract thirdhand smoke and other spots and stains that impact the appearance and lifespan of carpet, it’s important to have an effective carpet care system in place.
Implementing low-moisture encapsulation systems for interim carpet maintenance helps remove abrasive and oily soils embedded throughout carpet. This method is quick to perform and allows carpet to dry much faster than alternative tactics, typically in about 30 minutes. Low-moisture systems are also easy on carpet fibers, which lessens abrasion and wear.
Facility managers should consider a machine with counter-rotating brushes that lift carpet pile and agitate solution into fibers to extract thirdhand smoke residue. The system should incorporate features that make it as easy to use as a vacuum, allowing employees to make quick passes over carpet. Using high-quality chemistry with the machine is also key, as it encourages superior soil removal.
Careful Considerations for Odors and Carpet
With the rise of vaping and cannabis legalization, the reality is that not every hotel guest will refrain from following a “no smoking” warning, and many hotels, especially those with casinos, still allow indoor smoking. Before implementing an odor eliminating system, it’s important for facility managers to take a closer look at what impact the solution may have on valuable assets like carpet.
Properties that choose to use oil-based odor control products will have to advise staff to conduct more regular carpet cleaning to keep carpet in good condition over time. If they don’t, they may see a rise in complaints regarding carpet cleanliness or have to replace carpet sooner than expected.
Carpet care is an essential priority in hospitality environments, especially those that allow smoking. Learn more about essentials like our Smart Care® TWIN and TRIO machines and CRYSTAL® Chemistry at www.whittakersystem.com, or contact us at 800.422.7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.