Following the four golden rules of commercial carpet maintenance will save you money, protect your investment and extend the life of your carpet.
Overall, the price of commodities has increased 326% over the past four decades, yet the price of carpets has only increased 77.8% according to The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the national trade association for the carpet and rug industry, Dalton Georgia. Commercial Carpet is of tremendous value, but it is still one of the largest purchases you will make for your business. The greatest enemy to the longevity of your commercial carpet is what you can’t see.
The Invisible Enemy
The durability and soil hiding characteristics of today’s carpet can disguise the need for maintenance. Proper commercial carpet maintenance not only enhances the beauty of the carpet but also extends the useful life of the carpet while protecting your investment. Clean carpet contributes not only to the overall aesthetics of a structure, but it plays a significant role in the healthful state of the indoor environment in which people work, live, and spend the majority of their time.
The Four Golden Rules
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the Certification Body for the professional carpet and upholstery cleaning and restoration industry, Vancouver, Washington, offers the following 4 steps to proper commercial carpet maintenance:
Controlling Soil: Most abrasive particulate soil accumulates within the first few feet of major entries to commercial buildings. Once inside, this soil takes its toll on carpet fibres and on the general appearance of the structure. It also contributes to airborne parties that affect overall air quality. Every effort should be made to keep this soil accumulation outside using properly selected entry mats. Entry mats that collect or absorb soil and moisture should be placed adjacent to carpeted areas in entries of businesses and, if possible, not on top of the carpet. They must be maintained by periodic vacuuming, shaking, and cleaning.
Vacuuming Carpet: Routine vacuuming with properly maintained, quality equipment is the single most important step a business owner can take to extend the life and appearance of the carpet. A top-fill upright vacuum with brush agitation or a canister vacuum with a “powerhead” incorporating brush agitation should be selected and used with routine frequency. Equally important, soil that is loosened and vacuumed from carpet must be collected in the vacuum recovery system and not allowed to re-enter the air within the structure to contribute to indoor air pollution. For this reason, a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering system bag should be used in any vacuum equipment employed.
Immediate Spotting: Most spots can be removed easily if the excess is lifted or blotted and the area is treated immediately by carpet owners with plain water or with spotters containing mild (pH range of 5-9), dilute detergents that do not leave a residue. If ignored, those spots, or components thereof, may bond with fibre dye sites, forming permanent stains. Immediate spotting is essential.
Cleaning: Installed commercial carpet exposed to routine use should be programmed for cleaning at least annually. Carpet that is subjected to extreme soiling or heavy use, particularly high traffic areas, or carpet installed in places occupied by persons with allergy or respiratory problems requires greater cleaning frequency. Carpet in low traffic areas needs less frequent cleaning. Cleaning frequency recommendations are available from the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) or the manufacturer of your commercial carpet.
Strategic Commercial Carpet Maintenance
Strategic commercial carpet maintenance means that the carpet should be analyzed according to its construction, the type and frequency of traffic, the soiling conditions encountered, and other extenuating circumstances, such as occupant activities, structure design and indoor air quality. Specialized maintenance and cleaning programs (e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, etc.) should be developed based on individual needs.
Moreover, frequent cleaning of entrances and high traffic areas reduces the contaminants and soil particulates tracked in from outside the structure that accumulates in these areas.
One of the most critical, though often neglected, responsibilities of carpet owners involve routine maintenance. The useful life and appearance of carpet are affected substantially by the type, quality, and frequency of maintenance procedures. Proper commercial carpet maintenance will ensure that your carpet provides many years of beauty and service.