Sustainable Carpet: Installation and Maintenance

Millions of people go in and out of schools, hospitals, retail establishments and office buildings every single day, not realizing how environmentally-sustainable the floors they walk on have become.

There’s little doubt these days that being green is increasingly expected.

Businesses and consumers alike want to be good stewards of the environment, to conserve natural resources, to create more healthy indoor environments and to benefit from products that are made to last.

This is particularly true in the carpet industry, where sustainable manufacturing has become the norm and where recent innovations in product development have resulted in flooring products that are more stain resistant, more durable and longer lasting than ever before.

But what exactly makes a carpet product sustainable?

And how can public venues like schools, healthcare facilities, hospitality centers and the like make sure they’re getting what they desire in terms of sustainable attributes, performance and value?

Installation and Upkeep

While installing carpet in commercial settings is no job for a layman, proper installation of your carpet can be achieved “seamlessly” by hiring an installation contractor that adheres to high standards for all aspects of the installation.

The CRI Carpet Installation Standard, a document that establishes minimum industry standards for commercial carpet installation, is a good place to start.

Once installed, it’s essential to keep your carpet well maintained through regular and intermittent deep cleanings.

That’s the key to maintaining your investment.

These days, keeping carpets clean has been simplified thanks to the proliferation of stain-resistant fibers in carpet products and because of the availability of excellent cleaning products and cleaning systems.

Even so, carpet products still benefit from regular vacuuming, which is the single most effective and economic means of keeping carpet in schools, healthcare settings and other public venues clean.

Vacuums are designed to remove dry soil, which accounts for 85 percent of soil tracked into a building.

Frequent vacuuming captures the dirt at the surface before it settles into the fibers and becomes difficult to remove.

“The majority of dry soil can be removed from carpet through routine vacuuming procedures, but occasional use of cleaning systems, such as a low moisture encapsulation system, will efficiently improve your carpet’s appearance with limited downtime for cleaning and drying. The cleaning agent is applied to the carpet pile, allowed to dry and then vacuumed to remove encapsulated soil,” says Murray.

“And, twice a year or so, carpet should undergo hot water extraction cleaning by trained custodians or professional cleaning services. This process cleans deeply embedded soils and oily materials that vacuums can’t remove, which account for about 15 percent of all soil,” Murray noted.

Using the best cleaning equipment and cleaning products, such as those recommended by CRI’s Seal of Approval (SOA) program, is definitely the way to go.

The Seal of Approval program identifies effective carpet cleaning solutions and equipment that clean carpet right.

Not all products clean well enough to earn the SOA distinction, so be sure to look for the blue and green CRI Seal of Approval as proof that you are purchasing or using a quality product.

It’s easier than ever before to enjoy the benefits of making sustainable choices when it comes to flooring.

And, in terms of providing sustainable options for high-traffic public venues, it’s fair to say that carpet is not only getting the job done, but it’s doing so with remarkably good grades.

– Bethany