Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Focused on carpet care

September 19, 2010
Once a carpet is installed in a facility, several factors will determine its longevity.

Traffic, climate, and facility use are examples of variables that BSCs and facility managers and owners generally have very little control over.

Cleaning frequency, training, and product selection are examples of functions that BSCs and facility managers do have control of.

Today’s carpet cleaning tools are far more advanced compared to traditional products.

Manufacturers are making equipment that is easier to use, ergonomically designed, and safer for the environment.

Chemical manufacturers are emphasizing products that are less detrimental to user health, more environmentally friendly, and require minimal training.

What to include in a program
Experts say that a systematic approach to carpet care is essential to the life of your carpet and the health of your facility.

An effective carpet care program should include: preventive, interim, and restorative maintenance.

When cleaners perform regular preventive maintenance, it involves the removal of daily soil, ensuring that it doesn’t spread throughout the facility.

Although an integral aspect of daily preventative maintenance, vacuuming is only one component of an effective plan.

Matting at entryways, for example, plays a vital role in limiting soil in a facility.

These mats capture dirt and debris at the door, away from clean and safe areas.

In fact, effective matting can eliminate 85 percent of all outdoor soil, moisture, and other pollutants from “walking in” a facility.

Experts indicate that it takes six to 10 paces before this amount of soil is removed from a person’s shoes.

Therefore, a minimum combined length of 18 feet or more is needed outside entryways and leading in to the facility.

The daily removal of spots and stains from carpets should also be incorporated into an effective carpet cleaning plan.

Interim maintenance involves the removal of surface soil before it becomes deeply embedded in carpet.

And, restorative maintenance is for maximum soil removal.

During this type of maintenance, cleaners remove as much deeply embedded dirt as possible.

Recurring stains are also target areas during restorative maintenance.

As a rule, users need the help of aggressive cleaning agents and advanced equipment.

Safe, sound chemicals
In recent years, cleaning chemical manufacturers have taken a proactive approach by removing any proven harmful ingredients formerly found in their products.

Independent, third-party certifying organizations — such as Green Seal® and EcoLogoM — have offered assurance to customers, who previously trusted whatever manufacturer claims were on products and marketing materials.

For certification, today’s chemicals are put through stringent testing to ensure quality and cost containment.

Although industry — as well as government — standards for providing a safe environment for people to work, study, live and play in have been elevated, cleaning chemicals still require special care and attention when mixing and applying.

Misuse can lead to such hazards as equipment failure, carpet damage, and personal injury.

Remain cautious with carpet care
Although carpet cleaning chemicals are considered safer today than in the past, the cleaning staff and workers who will be in direct contact with cleaning chemicals are still required to pay close attention in following manufacturers’ labels, asking for and reviewing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and participating in training.

Remember, any residue that is left in the carpet is going to attract more soil and cause resoiling. This will not only make the stain worse, but some cleaning agents are capable of making stains surface again and again. This commonly happens because the chemicals and soils weren’t properly suspended or emulsified in the first place or the soils and the cleaning agents were not entirely flushed out.

Having the right equipment is the key to properly implementing an effective carpet care program.

With the right mix of training, proper product selection, and a systematic approach, your facility can achieve cost savings, improved health, and longer-lasting carpet.