Carpet is a preferred choice in floor coverings as it provides comfort and a warm atmosphere for all occupants. Carpet reduces noise levels in an office environment and adds beauty and style. However, it is essential that carpet is maintained to prevent it from harboring contamination and wearing out prematurely. In utilizing a commercial carpet cleaning systems approach to cleaning your carpet will maintain a higher level of appearance, ensuring a longer life and provide a healthy environment.
In today’s competitive business world a clean and presentable facility is essential. There are many benefits to having clean carpet; for instance, contribute to an attractive and healthy environment as well as have a positive effect on employee productivity. In Addition, clean carpets will impress visitors and leave a positive impression of your facility.
A Systems Approach
It is important to have carpet set up on a routine maintenance program. Without a regularly scheduled program, the soil will impact and build up within the carpet fibers. Not only does the appearance suffer, but trapped soil damages the carpet fibers. Neglected carpets will require additional labor, mechanical, and chemical corrective processes to clean. In the absence of properly maintaining carpets, permanent damage can occur.
Studies show that roughly 80 percent of the soil in a building is tracked in on the bottom of footwear. The highest concentration of soil is found in the entrance areas and heavy traffic lanes. In addition, an area that becomes heavily soiled is at the pivot points in hallways and cubical walkaways that make 90 degree turns. When making a turn, the soles of the footwear receive extra pressure as the body turns. This, in turn, rubs off dirt, possible grease and oil from the footwear onto the carpet.
A systems approach to carpet cleaning includes the following: soil prevention, vacuuming, spotting, regular interim cleaning in high traffic areas, and periodic deep cleaning of all areas. This keeps your carpets appearance at a higher level, ensuring a longer life and providing a healthy environment for your employees.
There are three main soil prevention measures. These measures will reduce cleaning costs while helping maintain a like-new appearance. Carpet soil is either brought in from outside by foot traffic, caused by inside activities, or through the air. An adequate carpet cleaning system must be put in place to provide an effective barrier to the soil. The following are actions to take:
Parking lot maintenance – including sweeping or vacuuming parking lot areas and sidewalks. Periodic power washing of hard surfaces will help ensure grease, grime, parking lot sealant, and natures debris i.e. tree sap are not tracked into the facility. Proper placement of exterior trash cans helps minimize sticky liquid being tracked in.
Outside Mats are essential and should trap or contain any mud, moisture, and debris. Mats with aggressive shoe wiping capabilities work best. Soil removal mats must have a coarse texture with the ability to hold heavy soil loads deep within the pile. An example would be a tire link mat or rubber fingertip mat. Outside mats must be maintained to prevent soil and debris build-up.
Interior Mats should be placed just inside the entry door and are meant to attract fine particles, sticky soils and moisture that remain after passing over the outside mat. It is essential that interior entry mats have the ability to absorb moisture and be resilient. Waterhog™ is one example of an interior entry mat that will absorb moister as well as hold dirt and debris.
Entry mats must be maintained; otherwise, soils build up within the mat’s pile and eventually causing the soil to be tracked into the building. Entry mats should be vacuumed daily and deep cleaned on a regular basis. Interior mats can also be placed at the counter in break areas, near coffee machines, adjacent to tile areas coming from work areas and near lobbies, elevators, and stairs. Enviro Plus is an exceptional mat for these purposes.
Soil prevention measures also include regular replacement of furnace filters and maintenance of HVAC systems. A fine dust coming from HVAC vents will settle on the carpet and be ground into the carpet fibers. Restricting food and beverage consumption throughout the building is just as important; anything spilled around desks is ground into the carpet fibers and can be difficult to remove. It’s a good idea to request that all drinks have lids and ensure plenty of trash cans placed in strategic locations throughout the facility.
Dry Soil is by far the most damaging type of contaminant that carpet is exposed to. An example is sand and grit that have sharp edges that will cut and scar carpet fibers. These scars cause the dull appearance on the carpet surface. It’s the same thing that happens to scratched glass, the carpet fiber appears dirty, and this damage is irreversible. These damaged areas can be steam cleaned and will look just fine until the carpet dries, the dull, discolored appearance will return.
Vacuuming is the most important and most cost-effective component of the commercial carpet cleaning system. Vacuuming can remove more than 80 percent of dry soil on a daily basis. It’s best to adjust the vacuuming frequencies to match the amount of foot traffic through the various areas of your facility. Heavy traffic areas require daily vacuuming. This would include entry mats, reception area, elevators, hallways, lobbies, and other heavy use areas. Medium traffic areas can be vacuumed twice weekly and lighter traffic areas could be vacuumed one or two times a week.
Spot Removal is just as important. Damage from spills can be minimized if immediate action is taken. The longer a spill sits untouched, the more difficult it will be to remove. Once the spilled solution has time to set in the carpet backing, the less likely extraction alone will solve the issue.
As soon as a spill occurs, blot with a clean, absorbent towel and repeat until the spill is fully absorbed. Small portable spot removal extractors can rinse and extract the soils. Part of the spot removal procedure should include a spot removal kit that would include: absorbent towels, a brush, spray bottles containing specialized spotting chemicals and dry powder cleaner. Some chemical examples are oxy clean, pre-spotter, degreaser.
An integral part of the carpet cleaning systems is to set up an interim cleaning schedule. It is important to regularly clean the carpets in the high traffic areas. Depending on the foot traffic an area receives the frequency can be as often as once per month.
Interim cleaning is best accomplished by using low moisture machines or the dry powder encapsulation method. Surface cleaning machines include dry foam shampoo machines, upright single disc floor machines with a bonnet, encapsulation machines with a brush, and a double brush unit for the powder encapsulation method.
The restorative process involves a deep cleaning of the carpet. The best way to accomplish this is with hot water extraction with rinse capabilities. The equipment used for this process utilizes a heated high-pressure rinse solution and extracts moisture from the carpet. There are several extractors that can be used; some are self-contained with brush agitation, while others use a wand, and truck mounted units.
If the carpet is heavily soiled, a floor machine pre-scrub may be necessary. This is accomplished by first applying a specialized heavy traffic area chemical, then machine scrubbing with a carpet brush. Once complete, the carpet can receive the hot water extraction.
A Balanced Cleaning System
Every building has its own set of unique circumstances. The level of carpet cleaning required is dependent upon the level of soil brought into the facility and foot traffic. A commercial carpet cleaning systems approach will ensure heavily used areas receive the required attention.
In the areas that are spot cleaned on a regular basis, there will be a build-up of cleaning chemical residue much faster than other areas. Scheduled interim cleaning in these areas as well the heavily used areas will help to reduce the frequency of restorative cleaning.
It is important to develop a proactive approach to adjust carpet maintenance to suit your individual buildings demands.
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