Keeping Carpets Clean
Unfortunately, carpets hide soils - meaning building managers are often unaware of just how soiled their carpeting is becoming until it is too late. The more soiled a carpet becomes, the harder it is to clean and restore. A soiled carpet is also much more likely to negatively impact indoor air quality and the overall appearance of a facility.
In order to prevent these problems, proper carpet care is essential. The following are the 10 most important rules of carpet maintenance:
Keep outdoor areas clean. One of the best ways to keep the inside of a facility - including its carpets - clean and healthy is to keep exterior areas as clean as possible. This includes sidewalks and parking areas near or attached to building entries.
Use proper matting. Even when outdoor areas are kept clean, soils are likely to be tracked onto carpets by occupant's shoe bottoms. In fact, some experts say as much as 85 percent of all carpet soils are "walked-in." This can be prevented by installing high-performance matting systems at key building entries.
Vacuum daily. Vacuuming on a daily basis - or even several times throughout the day - is key to proper carpet care. In smaller facilities, this may be necessary only in common areas and walkways, especially those near building entries.
Use the appropriate vacuum model for your carpet. Eighty percent of the vacuum cleaners sold in the U.S are upright models. This is because their roller brushes, which agitate carpeting in order to remove soils, make upright vacuum cleaners one of the most effective ways to keep carpets clean. Purchasing decision makers should look for true-HEPA machines, which protect indoor air quality, and should also select machines that are light, quiet, and ergonomic. Some vacuums, including Tornado's CV30 model, also disengage their motors when small objects such as coins and staples get into the machinery. This protects the machine's inner components from damage.
Remove spots daily. Speed is of the essence when it comes to spot removal. Spots are far easier to remove when they are fresh then when they have dried and hardened. In fact, a spot can becomes a stain if it is left on a carpet for too long. (A spot is defined as foreign particles on a carpet that have not yet affected the carpet's dye or fiber. A stain, on the other hand, means the carpet's fiber or dye has been permanently altered by soiling.)
Clean carpets based on usage. It is far more efficient and cost effective - as well as Greener and more sustainable - to clean just those areas of a carpet that receive the greatest use. This generally includes areas such as high-traffic walkways, lobbies, and heavily used work areas.
Use carpet extractors. Although shampoo, bonnet, and even dry carpet cleaning methods can be used to clean carpets intermittently, these systems generally remove only top-layer soils at best. And unfortunately, shampooing and bonnet systems can also cause rapid resoiling. Without question, the most effective way to thoroughly clean carpets is with carpet extractors.
Focus on lower floors. The lower floors of a facility typically are more soiled than other areas. Keeping these areas vacuumed and cleaned can help keep the entire facility cleaner and healthier.
Pay attention to transitional areas. Whether vacuuming or actually cleaning carpets, special attention should be paid to transitional areas where, for instance, a hard surface floor or food service area connects to a carpet. Soils that collect in these areas are often walked onto adjacent carpeting. Using matting in these transitional areas, along with proper vacuuming and cleaning when necessary, can help keep these carpets clean.
Finally, create and use a formal carpet care maintenance plan. An effective plan ensures that carpet care tasks are performed when necessary and with the proper equipment. When possible, they should also specify who is responsible for performing these tasks. Having a plan creates accountability to ensure that carpets receive proper care when needed.