Tips & Tricks/10.10.22

Creating a complete facility carpet cleaning system

Maintaining a facility’s carpet at the highest appearance level requires a thorough cleaning system – more than just doing hot water extraction once or twice a year.

Whoever is doing the work – a contractor or in-house staff – diligence in applying the system is required to achieve the maximum appearance and cleaning results.

Maintaining the appearance of high-traffic commercial carpet comes down to some very basic principles:

1. Halt dry soils at the door – Stop the most damaging soils from entering the building envelope, i.e., sand and other minerals, through proper placement and maintenance cleaning of walk-off mats. This is the most critical aspect of maintaining the carpet’s life and appearance.

Most dry soils are walked off and accumulate in the main entry areas. This traffic flow and accumulation area is usually 8 - 10 footfalls or 16 - 20 feet into the building. If walk-off mats are sized and typed correctly, a great majority of the tracked in soils will be deposited on these mats.

2. Remove dry insoluble soils regularly – According to cleaning industry associations, 74% - 79% of soils found in facilities’ carpets are “dry” insoluble soils, meaning you cannot dissolve them. These dry soils are made up of minerals and grains of rocks like sand, clay, mica, limestone and feldspar.

Each of these grains have razor sharp cutting edges on them that cause scratching and etching of the plastic fibers and irreversible damage to the light-reflecting capabilities of the fibers, called “apparent soiling.” In most cases, dark gray traffic lane areas are caused by abrasive soil damage, i.e., scratching, and even after thorough restoration cleanings, they will still appear gray to our eyes, because of the change in the fibers’ ability to reflect the same amount of light as the surrounding non-trafficked areas. You cannot clean damaged carpet fibers to make them look new again!

3. Perform prompt (and proper) spot cleaning and stain removal – The biggest issue with spot cleaning is that most people will apply spot “remover” where something spilled and expect it to be gone. In fact, the spot was just suspended from the fibers, and it’s still there and will likely reappear later.
Instead, all spots should be extracted immediately or as soon as possible and, at a minimum, blotted with a towel to remove as much of the spot and spot cleaner from the fibers as possible.

4. Conduct interim low moisture or encapsulation cleaning – This is the easiest way to maintain a carpet’s appearance between deep restoration cleanings. When the encapsulation process is done correctly, the carpets should be dry and ready to use in 30-40 minutes, allowing foot traffic to resume with minimal downtime for the area.

The effectiveness of this interim maintenance cleaning is limited by the types of soils that are on the fibers, as well as the soil load (how much soil is on the fibers). Areas with oily soils or areas of heavy food-type soils will always need a hot water extraction or restoration cleaning to maximize soil removal. That is the magic and the main reason for maintenance cleanings:  You can dramatically reduce the frequency of restoration cleaning by not allowing carpets to get to a heavily soiled state.

5. Perform restoration cleaning – Hot water extraction (HWE) is a necessary part of any carpet cleaning system, as it’s the most effective way to remove soils that are being held through occlusion (trapped by overlapping fibers) or those soils that are being held by an oily soil, which by its nature, increases the polar attraction that original soils have for the fibers.

The HWE method relies on surfactant technology to help dissolve and dislodge oily and bound soils into smaller particles. Through HWE, these soils become suspended off the fibers and develop a stronger polar attraction to the water being used to rinse the carpets than the original polar attraction to the fibers. An interim cleaning process is ineffective in removing those bound and oily soils because there is not sufficient rinsing to attract the suspended soils away from the fibers.

6. Use quality cleaning chemistry for maximum results – Having the most effective chemistry is key to maintaining the appearance of the carpet fiber.

  • Prespray:  Prochem Ultrapac Extreme - The industry's hottest ultra-powerful prespray uses state-of-the-art nanotech “micro-robots” to bind and suspend soils for fast and efficient removal.
  • Extraction rinse:  Prochem All Fiber Deep Clean - An acidic extraction rinse powerful enough to be used for residential and commercial carpet cleaning and on many upholstery fabrics. Excellent for use on both synthetic and wool fibers. New-generation polymer technology encapsulates and crystallizes soils and prespray residues for maximum soil removal with minimal residues.
  • Low moisture/encapsulation:  Chemspec EncapBrite II - Mild acid-pH encapsulating cleaner uses the power of hydrogen peroxide to remove spots, spills and stains. Specifically developed for interim maintenance and low moisture cleaning methods, EncapBrite II encapsulates soils and dries to an easy-to-vacuum crystalline powder.

Develop a system and a schedule for complete facility cleaning, and carpets will continue to reflect well on the facility – and you – for years to come.

for more business building articles in upcoming Legend Brands Tips & Tricks.

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