Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Establishing minimum frequencies

September 19, 2010
A building with clean carpets improves the air quality and overall environment, making it a pleasant place.

This fresh atmosphere contributes to workplace wellness and tenant comfort.

Soiled carpets hold dust, particulates, allergens and fiber-damaging grit; therefore, keeping carpets clean means not waiting until they “look” dirty.

That’s where an interim maintenance program is effective.

Not only is carpet appearance and cleanliness maintained between restorative maintenance cycles, but carpet longevity is also increased.

A comprehensive carpet care program always includes daily preventive procedures, scheduled interim maintenance and periodic hot water extraction deep-cleaning.

Easy, effective, green
Low-moisture encapsulation, which meets criteria for green cleaning standards, makes dirt disappear.

Embedded soil is released and carpet is left looking new after each scheduled cleaning application without harming carpet fibers or leaving sticky residues.

Low-moisture encapsulation does not require a certified technician to perform the task — it is as easy and intuitive as vacuuming.

It combines cleaning and pile lifting in one step and the regular cleaning staff can perform this vital component of an effective carpet care program with little training.

Since only a small amount of water and encapsulation solution is required during interim maintenance, carpet damage associated with over-wetting and facility disruption is eliminated.

The importance of minimum cleaning frequency
The secret to successful interim maintenance is simple: Schedule minimum cleaning frequency.

In order to maintain a consistent level of interim care, it is important to identify heavy, medium and light traffic areas, then accordingly schedule — and adhere to scheduled — minimum frequency cleaning.

All the guesswork is taken out of maintaining the highest possible overall appearance.

This is not a complex process.

Having a scope of work sets a measurable standard to follow, which makes the facility manager’s job easier.

Three-step interim maintenance cleaning
  1. Apply encapsulation cleaning solution to carpeting (no dwell time is required).
  2. Agitate solution into the carpet fibers using a lightweight twin cylindrical brush machine that provides safe agitation, lifts carpet pile and loosens embedded soil.
  3. Vacuum when dry or at next scheduled vacuum cycle.
Low-moisture encapsulation is the preferred method of interim maintenance since it effectively combines mill-recommended pile lifting and interim cleaning into a single step, saving time, capital equipment expense and labor costs.

Low-moisture cleaning reduces friction and any fiber distortion that can be caused by dry agitation.

Twin cylindrical brush machines are designed to agitate and lift the pile in one simple operation.

Where do the savings come in?
Used as part of interim cleaning, it can increase production levels, lower staffing costs, aid in reducing re-soiling that looks bad, and increase restorative maintenance cycles at a higher cost.

It is not uncommon to have production levels of anywhere from 2,500 to 10,000 square feet per hour in unobstructed areas using low-moisture encapsulation as part of a smart carpet cleaning program.

Scheduled interim cleaning can considerably lengthen the carpet life cycle because soils and particulates are not permitted to remain in the carpet.

Ground-in dirt damages carpet fibers, which causes the carpet to more rapidly break down, and this necessitates replacement sooner.

Low-moisture encapsulation does not leave residues, which attract dirt and cause re-soiling.

Busy managers can utilize staff elsewhere and this is another reason to pay attention to interim maintenance frequencies minimums.

Establishing frequencies minimums for interim maintenance is the best way to ensure a consistently clean appearance that protects the major investment of carpeting and keeps building tenants satisfied.

Clean buildings are measured by a consistent appearance level.

This can be accomplished easily through proper planning and execution of an effective interim maintenance system.


Tom Whittaker is the president of the R.E. Whittaker Company, which has been involved with commercial carpet care systems for over 40 years. The company introduced Taski to the US market in the early 1970s and subsequently distributed well-known brands, such as von Schrader, Advance, Cimex and Roto Wash. Through years of innovation making carpet cleaning easier, faster and safer, the company has introduced the SmartCare Carpet Cleaning System. The company holds several patents for cleaning products and procedures.