The importance of soap & water in the fight against Covid-19

Wash-Your-Hands-001We’ve all been hearing “wash your hands” as the singular best way to stay healthy during these dark days of Coronavirus Covid-19.
It seems so basic— after all, it’s what we teach toddlers even before they are able to stand up on their own. Every parent has asked their child, even tweens and teens: “Did you wash your hands?” followed by a “Yes” and an eye roll, followed by “With soap?” followed by…. silence and said eye rolling and slouching child returning to the sink to wash with said soap.      

Washing with soap and water is not a new phenomenon it didn’t just become a new hot latest and greatest practice weeks ago. It has been said that the ancient Babylonians invented soap around 2800 B.C.

However, the current health advice for washing hands with soap and water is based on the ability of soap molecules to interfere with lipids in the Covid-19 virus membrane, breaking down the outer fatty (lipid) layer of the virus. Moreover, the soap molecules can compete with the other non-covalent bonds between the proteins, RNA and lipids, effectively ‘dissolving’ the glue that holds the virus together. The soap can also disrupt the interactions between the virus and the skin surface, removing viruses from the skin.

What is it about soap that gives it such superpowers? (the science bit!)

Plain old hand soap, no, not antibacterial soap (remember, this is a virus we are dealing with, not a bacteria), contains molecules called ‘soap molecules.’ 
Each soap molecule has a hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) head and a hydrophobic (‘water-hating’) tail. Viruses are surrounded by a ‘lipid-bilayer’ made up of two bands of hydrophobic tails sandwiched between two rings of hydrophilic heads. When exposed to soap and water, viruses are prised apart, as the hydrophobic tails of the soap molecules attempt to escape from water and wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of the virus rupturing the viral membrane. In effect breaking down the proteins to help prevent the virus from entering the cells on the skin.

Why soap and water is the ‘Gold Standard’ and NOT alcohol-based hand sanitizers?

There are two types of hand sanitizers alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Only sanitizers with a high concentration of alcohol (more than 60%) are effective against Covid-19.
Ethanol and other types of alcohol are solvents and are therefore more lipophilic
(‘fat-loving’) than water. This means that alcohol does dissolve the lipid membranes and disrupt the virus. These hand sanitizers are useful when soap and water are not available. Even so, soap and water will still remain the ‘gold standard’ as the virus detaches from the skin and falls apart readily in soapy water.

To sum it up!

  • Clean hands protect against infection
  • Protect yourself
  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.
  • Repeat often.
  • Tell a friend.

How do I wash my hands properly?

Washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice, which is around 20 seconds and following the images below:

Clean hands protect against infection-001

Illustration Courtesy of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Covid-19 – Can Viruses Spread on Carpet?

At the moment we hear nothing but news after news reports and updates about
COVID-19 coronavirus which has literally gone viral and there are so many questions being asked – and probably way too much panic and misinformation (seriously, even if you have to stay home in quarantine for up to two weeks, you really shouldn’t need 24 jumbo packs of loo roll! Really!!).

OK, we need to start out by saying that we are not doctors or public health officials or anything of that sort. We are professional carpet cleaners and will do our best to inform you by using the information available to us.

Now we’ve got the necessary disclaimer out of the way, time to move on to some of the questions we are currently being asked.

Photo Courtesy of Freepik

Can Viruses Spread on Carpets?

The problem with the COVID-19 coronavirus is that it’s a new one and nobody’s got immunity to it because our immune systems haven’t seen anything quite like it before. This means that it is very infectious. Now, we always ought to be vigilant about not spreading viruses and maintaining good hygiene regarding things we touch anyway; this new virus is just given us a good kick up the backside – reminding us to do the things we ought to have been doing anyway, like wiping down high-touch surfaces, washing our hands more frequently and not repeatedly touching our faces.

The issue is what happens to the virus when it hits a surface. Viruses aren’t the same as bacteria. Bacteria like nice warm porous surfaces like fabric and paper – and that includes carpets. Viruses, on the other hand, prefer hard non-porous surfaces and can live on a suitable surface for quite some time after someone’s sneezed on it or touched it with grubby fingers.
In the case of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the current research suggests that it stays active for up to 28 days, but it’s still early days and the researchers are working on this. Another source suggests 24 hours on cardboard and 2–3 days on plastic. However, this information can change by the hour.

Carpets however receive their fair share of viral overloads if people cough or sneeze and don’t cover their mouths properly so that the spray falls onto the fibres. People also bring in things on the bottoms of their shoes if they aren’t in the habit of leaving their shoes at the door. The virus then has to get into a host – hopefully not you.

In the case of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it enters the human body primarily via the eyes, nose and mouth. This means that to get a virus from the carpet in to one of these entry points, you either have to touch the carpet with your hands and then touch your face (the standard euphemism for picking your nose), or else you have to be face down on the carpet.

Of course, not all carpets are created equal. The carpet in your office has more pairs of feet, more street shoes and more people likely to sneeze over it. Your bedroom carpet is another story. If you take your shoes off at the door, your bedroom carpet will probably not get much in the way of the virus, as you probably don’t have strangers coming into your bedroom and spitting on the floor or licking the carpet or even sneezing.

Photo Courtesy of Freepik

Should You Get Carpets Cleaned to Prevent COVID-19?

The burning question: will cleaning the carpet prevent you from getting the coronavirus?

Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to that. If your workplace or your home has become exposed to the virus, you might like to consider deep cleaning the carpets. In fact, a few organisations have recommended that for places like schools where you get kids sitting on carpets and touching their faces and the floors a lot, steam cleaning and disinfecting the carpets can be one of the decontamination measures taken.

Hot Water Extraction Cleaning most commonly known as steam cleaning is the appropriate technique for killing bacteria and viruses that might be lurking in carpets. Other methods, such as bonnet buffing and dry carpet cleaning, don’t quite do the same job. The reason for this is that it’s the super-high temperatures involved in steam cleaning that kill the bacteria and viruses.

For your extra protection we are now using anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial carpet and upholstery cleaners in addition to super-hot solution temperatures to help protect you from any potential risks.

Of course, if you have been self-isolating or sitting in quarantine for quite some time, you’ll probably start to notice what your carpets, mats, rugs and upholstery actually look like. One can only binge-watch for so long, even if you love a particular TV series!

If you know that you are likely to have to self-isolate and you know your carpets are a bit on the dingy side, then you may want to call in the carpet cleaners beforehand so you don’t have to stay in a house with carpets that get on your nerves for two weeks or whatever the current recommendations are.

If you notice your carpets are grotty or if you spilt coffee on the couch while in quarantine, then you probably want to call the professional cleaners in once the quarantine period is over.
Anything Else You Need to Know?

You probably won’t want to call in a professional cleaner every day to steam clean your carpets even if it would give you peace of mind. However, there are a few things you should bear in mind:

• Don’t rub neat alcohol or methylated spirits or even vodka on the carpets, as you could do weird things to the carpet fibres and wreck the carpet (believe me, this has all been done before!)
• Don’t spray your carpet with neat chlorine bleach (if you can get it, that is), as this will strip out the colour and the damage can’t be repaired.
• Soaking the carpet with anything is a bad idea, it will make the carpet moist – and turn it into a great breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, plus the smell will drive you wild.
• Washing your hands properly, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and disinfecting your phone will help to protect you!

     Here’s to good health and hoping none of you do come down with Covid-19!


Over a third of your life is spent at work!

Shouldn’t it be clean?

Office Clean-001



Clean Carpet…
It just makes sense!
Your staff appreciates a clean environment.
Your customers appreciate a clean environment.
You appreciate a clean environment.
Clean surroundings contribute to a more productive and more profitable business.
The EPA recommends cleaning carpets for health:
“Every time carpets and fabrics are emptied of their pollution build-up through professional cleaning methods, there is a health benefit.”
For just a few pennies per square foot you can enjoy a cleaner, healthier, and more attractive environment.




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We can show you how your carpets can look terrific every day of the year!
Call us for a FREE no obligation survey and quote on 01942 864474
email us

Certificates of Excellence!

Gerrards Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners are very proud to be members of the Wigan Council Good Trader Scheme.

GTS 1-002

The Good Trader Scheme is operated by Wigan Council Trading Standards Service and provides consumers with a list of local businesses who have committed to trade fairly and honestly. The Scheme covers all aspects of home improvement and repair work, including building, carpentry, external property repairs, gardening, decorating and home security.
Whilst Wigan Council do not approve the traders on the Scheme checks are carried out on the business prior to inclusion on the Scheme and additional checks to ensure they comply with relevant legislation, have necessary insurance policies in place and are members of any regulatory bodies they are legally required to be registered with. Businesses are also required to have been trading for a minimum of 12 months and before being admitted on the Scheme business are required to agree to abide by the Code of Practice of the Scheme.

Gerrards joined the scheme in 2015 and that year won the award for Good Trader of the Year Best Newcomer Award.

We have continued to win Certificate of Excellence Awards each year since. Here are a few of our certificates:

GTS Certificates-001.jpg

These Common Shop Bought Cleaning Products Can Ruin Your Carpets and Upholstery!

In addition to carpet and furniture cleaning jobs, we often get calls about stain removal.
Most spillages and common stains can be treated and removed successfully if we know what we’re dealing with.

However the real problems occur when a customer purchases and uses one of the common stain removal products that are sold in most supermarkets (no names mentioned but there’s more than one offending brand that fits the criteria here…)

      Seen here damage to carpets by using over the counter stain removal products.

I still can’t quite get my head around how some of these products can be sold as “stain removers” when they rarely get rid of the stain and often make it far worse and much more difficult to remove to the point sometimes were the stain has been sealed in to the carpet and cannot be removed at all. Often causing irreversible damage to the carpet fibres.

OK, so now I am actually naming and shaming one particular product, however there are many other products that do similar damage:

This is the reason why Gerrards give all our customers a bottle of our own label professional spotter/ stain remover to use in between deep cleans.
It is also our way of saying “Thank You” for your business too!

Gerrards spotter. (2015_10_03 09_36_17 UTC)


Professional or Amateur?


If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” That famous quote is attributed to Red Adair, who in his professional career, extinguished over 1,000 oil rig fires. My guess is no one really wants to hire an amateur to put out those kinds of fires, especially when you consider that they use explosives instead of water.
The difference between the professionals and the amateurs, in any business, comes down to training and experience.
Always do your research. Choose the correct professional for the job.


Putting Your House On The Market?

Putting your house on the market? Here’s why carpet cleaning can help you close a quick sale!

Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, it’s important you maximise the sale price of your home while avoiding it sitting on the market for too long.
Converting a garage, adding a bedroom, replacing old flooring and renovating kitchens and bathrooms are all proven to add value to a property.
But if you haven’t got thousands of pounds to invest, how do you do add value and make your home a more attractive proposition to potential buyers?

For SaleCreated by Freepik

Clean carpets can make or break a sale!

What do your carpets look and smell like?

What might be a charming ‘lived-in’ appearance and smell to you, will almost certainly put off buyers. While colour schemes and design are a matter of personal taste, there’s nothing more off-putting to house hunters than dirty, smelly carpets. (Especially carpets that emit the smell of dog or cat urine!)
But should you replace them if they’ve seen better days?
This is not usually necessary in our experience.
Replacing carpets usually runs into the thousands of pounds and causes too much upheaval while you’re in the process of trying to sell your home.
By choosing to have your carpets professionally cleaned, you minimise disruption and save a small fortune.


Do you need to clean your carpets?
If your carpets have any obvious stains or odours, or simply haven’t been cleaned in a long time, it is wise to get them professionally cleaned before putting your home on the market.
The longer you have lived in your home, the more your senses will have adapted to the appearance and smell of your carpets and flooring.

Potential buyers on the other hand, will quickly pick up on any unsightly stains and curious odours.

CarpetClean, fresh smelling carpets will project a positive first impression to viewers, and, if they don’t need to replace the carpets, it’s one less cost that they will be concerned about when considering purchasing your home.

SoldCreated by Freepik

If you’re thinking of selling your home, we provide professional carpet cleaning in Wigan, Chorley, Bolton, St Helens, Warrington and surrounding areas.