Now trending in carpets

7th of October 2020
Now trending in carpets
Now trending in carpets

What do customers want most from their carpet care solution? Are they seeking a thorough deep clean, or would they prefer a cheap quick fix – and how important are factors such as hygiene, efficiency and sustainability to today’s clientele? Ann Laffeaty finds out.

Most of us would prefer to walk on a clean carpet than a scuffed, stained one that is decidedly the worse for wear. And a pristine floor covering will inevitably give us a better impression of an office, hotel or restaurant than a carpet spotted with unsightly drink or food stains.

So ensuring the carpets are clean and well maintained is an important aspect of facility management. However, the term ‘carpet cleaning’ covers a wide range of options. What does the average customer actually expect from their carpet cleaning technician? Are most of them in search of a deep-cleaning solution that will completely renovate the carpet and remove all soiling? Or do clients generally want a quick fix that will simply leave the carpet looking slightly better than it did before?

The answer to this depends very much on the environment in which the carpet is situated according to Prochem sales manager Phil Jones. “For example, a good result will usually be required for an end-of-tenancy cleaning operation, but the client will often be happy with a carpet that merely has an improved appearance in preparation for the new tenant moving in,” he said.

“However in some offices, such as those situated in industrial locations, the carpets will require a major overhaul in order to rejuvenate them. But carpet cleaning is like any service industry and the professional carpet cleaner will want to give clients full value for money and provide the best possible result for the amount charged.”

According to Jones, both residential and commercial clients tend to wait until their floor coverings have become heavily soiled before contacting a technician and asking them to “clean the carpet”.
“This can lead to difficult conversations because while the carpet may be capable of being cleaned, it will probably not be possible to clean it as quickly nor as cheaply as the client expects,” he said.

“Some of our technicians have been asked by a client to ‘refresh’ a carpet that is described as being ‘not that dirty’. However when they turn up at the property, a whole new conversation needs to ensue because the carpets are so heavily soiled that only a complete renovation or restoration will rescue them.”

In these types of situations the blame usually lies with the carpet technician, according to Jones. “This is because too many carpet care operatives will merely quote for the job over the phone,” he explains. “It is important to carry out an inspection or pre-cleaning survey prior to quoting and for this reason we always advise the technician to take the time to visit the client and to ‘walk the job’.”

Inspection vital

Factors such as cost-effectiveness, sustainability and cleaning efficiency all need to be weighed up by the customer when choosing a carpet care system. “The cost-effectiveness of the carpet cleaning products themselves should be a definite consideration, and many customers will also bear in mind the higher dilution ratios of the products as well as the quality of the raw materials used in the blend,” he said.

Key to operational efficiency is the type of cleaning method selected, he adds. “Most carpet cleaners prefer to use a hot water extraction system and will opt for this solution throughout their careers,” he said. “But to apply such a system on an entire open-plan office floor would be time-consuming, expensive and back-breaking.”

He claims that alternative carpet-cleaning methods such as bonnet cleaning, shampooing and encapsulation are more cost-effective when cleaning larger floor areas. “The office manager needs to be involved in the discussion from the start and be made to understand that he or she should not rely on a one-off clean every few years,” said Jones. “For this reason we try to promote encapsulation as the perfect commercial maintenance programme.”

Prochem’s S745 PROCAPS system involves the technician spraying the diluted product on to the carpet and then brushing it in with the aid of a TM4, LS38 or larger LS50 brush. The soiling is encapsulated by the detergent and can be vacuumed away by the regular cleaning staff after it has dried out and turned to dust.

Besides a concern for efficiency and productivity, many of today’s customers also consider sustainability when choosing a carpet maintenance system, says Jones. “Enquiries for sustainable products have increased over the past few years, but a sustainable clean can often be carried out without actually changing the carpet cleaning method,” he says. “Instead it might be that the regularity of the clean should be discussed and the client should be advised to lean more towards regular maintenance.”

Prochem’s Natural range of products are claimed to be highly sustainable. The company’s E772 Natural Carpet Cleaner is now in use in stately homes, high-end hotels and luxury yachts says Jones.

Many of today’s customers consider periodic maintenance to be a last chance to reinvigorate a carpet in a terminal condition, according to Diversey’s global portfolio manager Lawrence Osborne. “However, periodic maintenance is most effective when considered as part of a schedule to improve the visual appearance and to extend the life of a carpet, particularly in areas of heavy traffic,” he said.

According to Osborne, intermediate maintenance is often neglected by customers. “It is all too easy to ignore the importance of bridging the gap between daily maintenance and the need to deep-clean carpets,” he said. “A decision to wait until the carpet has deteriorated into a very poor condition is a false economy.”

The TASKI Procarpet 30 and 45 machines may be used for intermediate cleaning and carpet encapsulation, he says. This is a dry foam system that generates millions of bubbles to avoid over-wetting and reduce drying times.

High productivity, ease of use, optimum cleaning and fast drying results are what most customers want today according to Karcher’s floor care product manager Christian Mrowka.“They are looking to reduce overall cleaning and drying times along with total cleaning cost,” he said. “And this has boosted demand for all-in-one machines that achieve deep extraction, encapsulation and spot cleaning.”

He believes such machines are popular because they reduce complexity as well as the total cost of the operation. “However, the selected solution needs to be able to meet the customer’s efficacy, efficiency, safety and sustainability needs as well,” he said.

An increasing number of organisations are turning to low-moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning systems that use very little water, according to Mrowka. “This method offers a high level of productivity while also delivering a good surface cleaning result with very short drying times, after which the carpet is quickly available for use again,” he said.

Cleaning for health

“And unlike other approaches, encapsulation cleaning won’t leave sticky residues on the carpet and will ensure the floor always looks its best.”

Kärcher offers the BRC 40/22 C multipurpose carpet cleaning machine for deep spray extraction, encapsulation and spot/upholstery cleaning. The company also offers a range of detergent solutions including CarpetPro Reiniger iCapsol RM 768 and the CarpetPro Reiniger iCapsol, Pulver RM 760 OA.

According to Mrowka, a focus on sustainability will allow the customer to reduce costs, cut resource consumption and improve the health and safety of the operative. “However, a carpet care machine should first and foremost be able to effectively clean the carpet,” he said. “Delivering the best cleaning and drying result while offering the highest productivity levels will ensure a longer lifetime of the carpet while reducing total cleaning cost. It will also result in faster carpet availability and improved health and wellness.”

While it is clear that efficiency, cost-effectiveness and sustainability are all key requirements for today’s carpet care customers, it is impossible to ignore the elephant in the room. The advent of Covid-19 has changed the shape of the world and led to a far greater focus on factors such as hygiene and safety. So, how will this impact on carpet cleaning?

“Customers will demand a more intensive and hygienic cleaning and disinfection routine in future,” predicts Mrowka. Kärcher has reacted by introducing a misting kit for its BRC 45/45 C carpet cleaning machine. “This accessory converts the machine into a misting unit which makes it suitable for surface disinfection,” he said. “Which means that with a single machine the customer can achieve deep extraction, encapsulation, spot/upholstery cleaning and surface disinfection.”

Prochem’s Phil Jones agrees that the Covid-19 pandemic will result in an increased demand for hygienic cleaning. The company claims its D500 MICROSAN biocidal cleaner to be effective against viruses such as Covid-19 while its B125 CLENSAN multi-surface biocidal sanitiser can kill a range of bacteria and viruses including the norovirus.

“We have noted a significant increase in inquiries regarding the sanitisation of carpets and fabrics, both from carpet cleaning technicians and from commercial property managers seeking a clean and safe re-opening for the return of staff,” he said.

“We believe that carpet cleaning will become more of a focus in both the domestic and commercial sectors, while hygienic cleaning will become a greater priority than ever for carpet technicians.”


Related Articles

Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited