Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Back To The Basics

August 17, 2012

As 2012 continues to zoom by, it is again time for our annual CM/Spotlight: Carpet Care.

While caring for carpeted surfaces can be a bit perplexing when it comes to things such as fiber identification, the pH scale and cleaning chemistry, it doesn''t have to be.

Sure, your carpets will need periodic extraction and you will likely have to deal with spots that warrant attention, but getting back to the basics of carpet care will decrease soil loads and lessen the necessary frequency of restorative deep cleanings.

Start At Square One

The best way to clean carpets is to not allow them to become soiled in the first place.

Since it would be wholly impractical to expect building occupants to remove their footwear before entering a facility, a proper matting system is the next best option.

It is recommended that a matting system consist of several parts — an aggressive scraper mat just before the entrance of the building, a less aggressive wiper/scraper mat inside the vestibule and a final wiper mat inside the building — and be between 15 and 20 feet in length to allow for eight to 10 steps per foot by a building occupant before he or she walks onto a hard surface or carpeted area.

An effective matting system can remove upwards of 90 percent of the soil from shoe bottoms, significantly reducing cleaning loads.

But, since even the most effective matting system will not prohibit all soils from entering a facility, knowing how to effectively remove them is important.

As such, Tornado Industries Inc. offers their top 10 informational tidbits on proper vacuuming techniques:

  1. Always first inspect the area to be vacuumed. If a carpet is wet, for instance, the moisture can be vacuumed into the machine and potentially damage internal components. A quick inspection can prevent such damage from occurring.
  2. Pick up coins, paperclips and large debris before vacuuming. Do not assume the machine can safely "digest" these larger items.
  3. Check the filter bag before each use, especially if the vacuum is used by other users. Change the bag when it is half to two-thirds full.
  4. Check the bottom of the vacuum cleaner. Ensure that connections and connectors are tight and remove any debris.
  5. Check the brush. If twine or debris is caught in the brush, use a comb or similar object to remove it.
  6. Put greater time and effort vacuuming heavy trafficked areas and less time in periphery areas. This strategy can reduce vacuuming time.
  7. Vacuum in a forward moving, overlapping direction.
  8. Do not vacuum stairs/steps by picking up the machine. Instead, use the wand and proper wand attachment, if available.
  9. Change vacuuming directions from time to time, which helps remove soils from fibers.
  10. When done vacuuming, do not pull on the cord to unplug the machine. Instead, reach for the plug to disconnect its base from the outlet.


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