Decontamination of carpet exposed to Microsporum canis hairs and spores

J Feline Med Surg. 2017 Apr;19(4):435-439. doi: 10.1177/1098612X16634390. Epub 2016 Jul 10.


Objectives The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of vacuuming and three carpet cleaning methods for the removal of Microsporum canis spores and hairs from experimentally contaminated carpets. Methods Sterile Berber carpeting was artificially contaminated with naturally infective M canis hairs and spores. Carpet swatches were vacuumed for 10 s, 30 s and 60 s, and then cultured. Three carpet cleaning methods were evaluated on area rugs experimentally contaminated with infective material: a beater brush carpet shampooing, beater brush carpet shampooing post-disinfectant application and hot water extraction. Home cleaning products labeled as having efficacy against Trichophyton species were used in addition to 1% potassium peroxymonosulfate. Carpets were cultured at 24 h, 48 h and 7 days after cleaning. Good efficacy was no detectable spores at post-cleaning culture. Results All pretreatment carpet samples were culture positive for M canis (>300 colony-forming units [cfu]/site). Vacuuming did not decontaminate carpets but did remove intact hairs. Spores were not detected by wipe samples after two washings with an upright beater brush carpet shampooer or pretreatment with a disinfectant prior to carpet shampooing. Carpets cleaned with one hot water extraction technique had a decrease from 300 cfu/site to a mean of 5.5 cfu/site at 24 and 48 h post-cleaning and 2 cfu/site at day 7. The use of disinfectants was associated with odor, even when dry, and permanent discoloration. Hot water extraction cleaning was associated with the fastest drying time and no discoloration. Conclusions and relevance Carpets exposed to M canis can be disinfected via carpet shampooing or hot water extraction cleaning. Vacuuming of carpets is recommended to remove infective hairs. For homes, exposed carpeting can be decontaminated by routine washing with a carpet shampooer (twice) or hot water extraction. Use of pretreatment with a disinfectant is recommended when a high level of overall decontamination is needed in an animal facility with necessary carpeted surfaces (eg, entryway carpet mats).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cats
  • Decontamination
  • Disinfectants
  • Floors and Floorcoverings*
  • Hair / microbiology
  • Microsporum / pathogenicity*
  • Spores, Fungal / pathogenicity*


  • Disinfectants