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Carpet Maintenance Advice from CCM Conceptual Carpets Ltd

Your carpet tells your customers, employees and visitors something about your company. The main objective of a maintenance programme therefore is to preserve, as far as is practical, the original appearance of the carpet and to prolong its useful life. To achieve this successfully a scheduled program of maintenance must be created and adhered to in a professional manner.

 

On hard floor surfaces, soil spreads quickly across the area but a carpet surface catches and holds soil. This information can be used to an advantage by creating a maintenance plan which identifies in advance the most likely areas where soiling will occur. Tests have shown that more than 80% of carpet soiling originates from shoe soles and that the carpet will hold this soil in three key walk areas.

Walk off Areas

Walk off areas are where carpet collects foot soil tracked in from hard surfaces. At outside entrances this area averages 10sqm in size. Inside the building, floor waxes and dust are tracked off from adjacent hard floors. At internal doorways, from hard floor to carpet, this area averages 2sqm.

Funnel Areas

Funnel areas are where foot traffic converges from different directions. Examples of this type of area are internal doorways with carpeting on both sides, lifts and in front of vending machines, photocopiers etc. Funnel areas average 2sqm on both sides of internal doors and as much as 4sqm in front of lifts and vending machines etc.

Main Traffic Areas

Main traffic areas are where major traffic flows widely and regularly. Examples of these are main corridors and lift areas. It is worthwhile noting that the higher you go in a building, the less soil reaches the carpet, especially if lifts are carpeted. Identify these areas within your building and colour code the key soiling areas on a drawing of your floor plan. The colours can denote the vacuumed and cleaning frequency. This is useful for estimating costs and for discussion with the cleaning contractor.

Carpet Cleaning

It is sometimes difficult, but very important, to persuade maintenance personnel to vacuum aggressively in the key soiling areas when perhaps they cannot see the soil due to design or the soil hiding characteristics of the fibres. A coloured plan helps to get these points over and enables you to concentrate your efforts on a smaller fraction of the installation where the soil is “localising”. Once you have analysed and illustrated the soiling situation in your building use the following guidelines to implement the plan.

Barrier Mats

It is essential to place barrier mats at all building entrances. They must be easily removable, vacuumed daily and renewed as necessary. If barrier mats are left without cleaning, soil will rapidly build up until the mat becomes a “soil reservoir” and contributes in its own right to the problem of soiling.

Vacuuming

Proper vacuuming will reduce the frequency of other types of more expensive cleaning process. Aggressively vacuum track-off, funnel and main traffic areas daily even if soil is not visible. Be smart about where you vacuum. The areas where people don’t walk require little or no vacuuming. Instead, invest the time and effort where you know in advance the soil is “localising”. Thorough vacuuming involves three to five passes over an area.

Use an upright vacuum with a brush and beater bar and do not use those which rely on suction. The use of electrically powered pile brush is also useful for dislodging already ingrained soil to enable removal by vacuuming. Further advice on vacuum machine selection can be obtained by contacting the following: G E Holloway & Son (Engineers) Ltd, 12 Carlisle Road, Colindale, London NW9 0HL.

Remove Spillages Promptly

Food and beverage spills, if unattended, become difficult to remove and will attract more soil. Spot / spill removal is easy with prompt, simple techniques. Thorough blotting (absorbing) of wet spills with white towels or tissues is the best first step. Usually, people stop blotting too soon; or they add wet chemicals before the area is dry which results in the spill spreading. Do not apply liquid spotting chemicals directly from the container onto the carpet. Firstly apply them to a clean, white unstarched towel or tissue. Then dab the spot with the moist towel so that the spot is absorbed into the towel rather than driven deeper into the carpet. The use of Emergency Carpet Care kits can save spots and stains from becoming a problem and these are available through CCM.

Cleaning Methods

About 10% of carpet soil is of an oily nature which gradually causes it to stick to carpet fibres and resist removal by vacuuming. This will be noticeable first in track-off areas. Clean it as soon as you see it; don't wait for it to be tracked further.

The following suggestions will help you select a suitable method for your needs. However, please note this important caution: wet cleaning involves hazards if not carefully applied, and must be under taken by a professional.

Over-wetting during the cleaning process or over-wetting due to spillage can cause shrinkage, rapid resoiling, mildew and delamination. Further, excess liquid can loosen anti-static compounds in the carpet or in the adhesive and cause them to come to the carpet surface. The carpet manufacturer cannot be held responsible for damage resulting from improper cleaning or accidents. If wet cleaning is used, it is necessary to allow the carpet to dry. Avoid walking on wet carpet, and do not replace furniture. If it is necessary to arrange furniture before the carpet is dry, use pieces of paper baked aluminium foil under the furniture to prevent rust and furniture stains. To avoid these hazards we suggest the Dry Extraction Cleaning Method.

Dry Extraction Method

In the dry extraction method soil is removed from the carpet by millions of tiny, absorbent sponges moistened with water, detergent and a small amount of solvent. The sponges are scattered over the soiled area and brushed through the pile thoroughly by a cylindrical, twin-brush machine. The unique composition of the moist sponges begins the “mopping up” action wiping soil from the carpet fibres. The soil-laden sponges then are extracted with a beater bar and brush type vacuum. The leading dry methods are known by the brand name, HOST and MISTRAL.

 

Advantages:
1. Carpet can be used immediately after cleaning. No danger of shrinkage or split seams.
2. Soiled areas or spots can be cleaned and blended into surrounding clean carpet. Reduces or eliminates the need to clean wall-to-wall.
3. Cleans heavily soiled areas without streaking. Avoids detergent build-up in pile.

 

Disadvantages:
1. It may be necessary to use optional “soft” brushes on the machine to avoid tip flair on soft textured, cut pile carpet.

Wet Extraction Method

Commonly called Steam Cleaning, spray extraction or hot water extraction. In the wet extraction method, pressure jets spray hot detergent solution into the carpet to loosen the soil. Then much of the cleaning solution and soil is extracted from the carpet by means of the built-in vacuum. Equipment used in this method should have high recovery rate that is, at least 70-80% of the water and detergent should be recovered to assist removal of residues and permit proper drying time. Small machines often extract only 40%.

 

Advantages:
1. The vacuum system allows immediate removal of much of the detergent and loosened dirt.
2. Detergent build-up in the pile is reduced compared to other wet methods.
3. Minimum texture change occurs if mechanical brushing is not involved.

 

Disadvantages:
1. It is necessary to clean from wall to wall.
2. Over-wetting during the cleaning process can cause problems listed at the beginning of this section. Streaking on some carpets may occur after carpet dries. Spots may return after cleaning.
3. Special training is necessary and it is difficult to use.

Foam Methods

This method utilises a special machine to generate a low wetness foam and work it into the pile by means of rotating cylindrical brushes. Soil removal is accomplished by immediately vacuuming the carpet with a wet pickup unit. The foam machine has such a unit built in.

 

Advantages:
1. Since less moisture is applied in the cleaning method, this system reduces carpet-drying time compared to most wet methods.

 

Disadvantages:
1. It is necessary to clean from wall to wall.
2. The brushing action may damage some carpet styles, particularly cut pile types.
3. Over-wetting during the cleaning process can cause problems listed previously.
4. It is important to vacuum simultaneously to remove foam and soil. Once dry, detergent cannot be vacuumed from the carpet.

Rotary Brush (Wet Shampoo Method)

Caution: We do not recommend the use of the rotary brush method on twisted, cut pile carpet. This method involves driving a detergent into the pile with a rotary brush machine. Wet vacuum pick up of much soil and detergent as possible should take simultaneously.

 

We hope that this information is helpful and point out that it is offered in good faith and without liability.


 
Commercial Carpet Cleaning Machinery