Carpet Maintenance Program for Commercial Facilities: Carpet cleaning expert says floors just one element of a really clean building

One of my Carpet and Rug Institute co-workers recently sent me a great article about carpet maintenance for commercial buildings that appeared on the Buildings magazine website.

The article contained comments from two industry veterans, Fritz Rench, of Racine Industries and Jeff Bishop, who runs Clean Care Seminars.

Titled, How to Implement a Carpet Maintenance Program, the article begins, “Carpets normally perform an important service – they collect soils, allergens, bacteria, chemicals, and other contaminants tracked into the building and keep them from becoming airborne. But when the carpet is too soiled, the opposite occurs, negatively affecting IEQ.”  Fritz Rench describes it this way, “Carpet tends to trap and hide soil where it occurs. The soil-hiding capability fools facility managers and the custodial staff. They don’t see it, but it’s building up.”

The article breaks carpet care down into four main steps:

  1. Stay current with maintenance: regular vacuuming is the single most important step in keeping carpets clean.
  2. Conduct interim cleanings: Absorbent compounds, dry foams, encapsulations, light shampooing, and soil transfer extraction improve the carpet’s appearance when it’s not soiled enough to need a deeper cleaning.
  3. Restoration Cleaning: Restorative cleaning frequently involves extraction (hot water or dry) and may also incorporate some components of lighter cleaning, such as chemicals that break up or bind to carpet soils. This process not only improves the carpet’s appearance, it also improves the indoor environment and makes the facility a healthier place to work.
  4. Prevention: door mats inside and scraper mats outside entryways, daily maintenance both inside and outside the building, plus – and this is very important – an efficient and well-maintained HVAC system.

Of course, prevention is the way to go, but in the real world that doesn’t always happen. But even very dirty carpets can come clean. [See Jet Stream Grill CRI SOA Success Part I and Jet Stream Grill CRI SOA Success Part II.]

Here’s Jeff Bishop’s plan for restoring a heavily soiled carpet.

“If the carpet is extremely dirty, you may still be able to salvage it, Bishop says. Try his four-part process to conquer heavy soiling:

  1.  Go over the area using an upright vacuum with brush agitation.
  2.  Suspend the soil by first pre-spraying traffic areas using a preconditioner with a pH of 10 or less. Scrub the area with cylindrical brush agitation to ensure that the ground-in soil is suspended in the cleaning chemical, then let it sit for 20-30 minutes. “Suspension takes time,“ Bishop explains. “It’s a cleaning wand, not a magic wand.“ If necessary, repeat with dual-brush agitation.
  3.  Rinse away suspended soil with multiple-pass hot water extraction, using an extractor other than a walk-behind or pull-back unit.
  4.  Force-dry the carpet with air movers and put out safety signs until the carpet is dry.”

The Carpet and Rug Institute tests and certifies commercial as well as residential products for carpet cleaning. Find a spot remover, pet stain and odor remover, vacuum, or professional cleaner on the CRI website.

Do you have a commercial facility carpet maintenance program in place?