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Carpet care - follow best practice19th of September 2013
Gary Johns, sales director designate for cleaning and FM specialist In Depth Managed Services, outlines factors to consider and best practice when it comes to carpet care procedures.
Carpets in commercial, leisure, healthcare or educational environments improve the appearance of the building, enhancing the visitors’ experience by providing a welcoming ambience as well as providing heat insulation and a non-slip surface.
However attractive they initially look, whether they are made from wool, nylon, natural sea grass, or coir, carpets trap dust particles, preventing them from becoming airborne, as well as collecting dirt brought in from outside. Removing abrasive dust from carpets will improve their longevity but regular vacuuming of carpets is not enough as this will not remove deep down soil and dust.
Keeping carpet clean and attractive can only be achieved with professional and regular cleaning, which will help to give a positive message about your business. Tailored cleaning should be undertaken regularly, using the right equipment.
For example, some carpets such as natural sea grass and coir can shrink, so it is not advisable to use wet cleaning. In contrast, most modern carpets, such as those with synthetic backing, do not shrink and smooth easily, so they can be cleaned using a wet treatment. Very low moisture powder cleaning systems should be used for the most delicate of carpeting.
Wool carpets can resist dirt more than some man-made fibres as it has a matt, uneven surface to which dirt does not stick easily.
Lighter carpets will require a more thorough clean, as there is no hiding place for stains or soiling. Antique floor coverings will require more specialist attention, with pre-testing required.
The main concern with wet cleaning has been the drying time involved, as slow drying can lead to the risk of discolouration or odours, moulds and mildews, as well as the risk of slips and trips from wet floors. Now, however, a variety of hot water extraction carpet cleaning equipment is available, including engine powered, truck-mounted machines. These enable us to deep clean areas up to 500ft away, limiting noise levels on site and having the health and safety benefit of less manual handling and lifting.
We’ve gone to great lengths to find the best and, more importantly, most ecologically cleaning solutions. We use a technology that works by breaking down the soil at levels of a millionth of a metre. It is derived from renewable sources and provides great cleaning results. This approach means that the solution does the hard work (with a little help from our fully trained operatives) and our water consumption is now far less. Carpets are much drier once cleaned and back in service less than an hour later, with the added benefit of being residue free and pH neutral as our cleaning agents contain no sticky detergent.
The age and wear of the carpet needs to be taken into account, as this will also have an impact on the type of cleaning used. If a carpet is very worn, it may be more cost effective to replace in the long-term, as cleaning will not be able to rectify extensive damage. However, it may be possible to re-use sections of carpet tiles from less heavily trafficked areas.
Through use, and over time, all carpets will flatten to a certain degree, and as a result, cut pile carpets will tend to shade under what’s called pile pressure. A light or plain carpet will show greater shading than a dark or heavily patterned carpet.
The majority of dirt on a carpet is carried in on shoes from the outside, so the amount of footfall will have an impact. To minimise wear and tear, implement preventative measures to reduce the amount of dirt in the building. Soil and debris trodden into surfaces, particularly during the wet autumn and winter months are often the main culprits of a dirty carpet or floor. A barrier mat system is the ideal solution.
Textured synthetic mats or metal grids should be placed on the outside of entrances to allow visitors to scrape off soil before they even enter the building and mats should also be placed inside entrance porches or lobbies.
Some parts of a carpet get greater use than others, like doorways, the area in front of chairs and the middle of stairs, so are likely to show signs of wear earlier.
Consider changing the position of furniture to equalise the wear, but take care if moving heavy objects not to cause any damage to the floor coverings. The use of castor cups under heavy furniture will spread the weight over a larger area and minimise dents in the carpet’s surface.
Always deal with spillages, stains or excess dirt quickly to minimise any further damage. Spot cleaning can be used to remove minor spots or spills.
Caring for your carpets makes economic sense too, as appropriate cleaning and treatment will lengthen the serviceable life of your floor coverings. Improving the performance and lifespan of flooring will also provide a healthier environment for staff, helping reduce work absenteeism.