The carpet industry has found that superior cleaning practices can prolong carpet life and reduce ownership costs. Additionally, a planned carpet maintenance program enhances aesthetics and improves indoor environmental conditions in the facilities you clean and maintain.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies confirm that following professional carpet cleaning procedures as outlined by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)’s Standard S100 contributes to healthy conditions in the indoor environment.
The IICRC, an independent, non-profit certification body, has just released a new carpet care program designed to train custodians, housekeepers and janitorial workers.
Called Apprentice/Basic Skills carpet care school, it can be offered on-site or on-line. Technicians qualify for a diploma while learning on-site during a four-hour specialized training session.
Expected benefits include upgraded cleaning skills, with reduced operator error, leading to improved cleaning results and greater productivity.
Why consider such a course?
First and foremost is the benefit of getting your staff on the right road to proper carpet care which leads to the setting up a total carpet care system.
Such a total carpet care system includes the mastering of the five-step process that makes up a restorative carpet cleaning program.
Engineering a total carpet care system
Proper carpet cleaning and care should include three basic regiments:
Management and staff alike must understand the importance of insoluble particulate removal. Carpet neglect permits a build up of fine grit that abrades the carpet fibers.
Once carpet fibers are scratched, the affected areas (normally traffic lanes) display a dull appearance. Instead of wearing out, the carpets “ugly out.”
Prompt attention to spots and spills can prevent soils from setting into the fibers. However, technicians must be trained to select the right chemistry for each spot.
Solvents work best to dissolve grease, tar, oil, paint, and chewing gum. Acidic spotters remove water stains, coffee, and tea. Ink remover, rust remover, browning stain remover, and hydrogen peroxide compliment a spotting kit.
Pre-testing of spotters a necessity
Technicians should be trained to apply a light amount of the appropriate spotter followed by a mild blotting action. Heavy agitation can damage and fuzz the carpet fibers. If the spot does not transfer into a white towel, the chemistry should be switched to the next likely spotter.
Residues should be rinsed or blotted away to prevent rapid re-soiling.
Personnel should recognize that carpet damage such as abrasion, fading, burns, bleaching, wear, and pile reversal is not correctable by cleaning.
However, appearance challenges such as matting, crushing, depressions, and sprouting can often be corrected.
Interim cleaning helps sustain carpet appearance. Since it is normally a low moisture process, drying times, chemical requirements, and labor allocations are all reduced.
However, interim cleaning often lacks the ability to flush residue and soil build-up from the base of the carpet pile.
A programmed cleaning system balances the necessity for spot removal, interim maintenance, and restorative cleaning.
Soil prevention cuts cleaning demands
Inadequate carpet maintenance increases the labor and chemical costs involved in restoring heavily soiled carpet.
Management must allocate appropriate resources, manpower, scheduling, and methods to ensure optimal appearance retention for each specific area of a facility.
Planned carpet maintenance begins with effective soil prevention measures including:
Overall cleaning demands are reduced when soil prevention barriers are in place.
The five-step cleaning process
Winning components of a restorative process include: Dry soil extraction, pre-conditioning, rinse/extraction, grooming, and drying of carpets (the five-step process recommended by IICRC-approved schools).
When technicians learn the following diagnostic skills along with these five steps, cleaning results will improve: