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Commercial Maintenance Instructions
Successful carpet maintenance begins with good housekeeping. Commercial carpeting represents a significant capital investment and as such deserves competent maintenance. Regular maintenance and periodic cleaning will increase the life span of a carpet and greatly contribute to retaining its good appearance. There is a difference between cleaning and maintenance:
The importance of proper planning of a maintenance programme for carpeting cannot be over-emphasised. The maintenance plan should take into account foot traffic frequencies and patterns, desired appearance levels in different areas of the building, personnel responsible for the maintenance, available equipment and cleaning costs. Carpet maintenance usually consists of three categories:
The more carpets soil, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to clean them. By taking preventative measures such as the installation of adequate lengths of entrance mats, and by good housekeeping - e.g. by preventing spillages and by putting mats in lifts and in front of drink dispensing machines, the rate at which carpets soil is reduced. Consider applying a WoolSafe-approved protector to sensitive areas of the carpet. Where spillages are likely to occur frequently, choose busy patterns and muted colours to disguise the appearance of stains.
Regular or Routine Maintenance
This comprises vacuum (suction) cleaning of all regularly trafficked areas and spot removal, usually carried out on a daily basis. Extra care must be taken of the most heavily used areas, including entrance mats. Areas of minimal use can be vacuum cleaned at a lower frequency, for instance twice weekly. Spills should be given attention as soon as possible - the older the stain, the more difficult it is to remove. Spot removal kits containing all the tools to tackle spills likely to occur must be available to maintenance personnel trained in their use and with access to the kits at all times. It is important to check that the chemicals in the kits are compatible with the carpet installed - applying them must not cause colour bleeding, bleaching, or any other damage to the carpet. Spot removal chemicals must be used with proper precautions. Proprietary spot removers must carry the WoolSafe Mark.
For details on how to remove different spots, see the Spot Removal Guide.
Carpets will require periodic more intensive cleaning than regular maintenance provides. Depending on the amount of traffic and the associated soiling this periodic cleaning can be more or less intensive.
It is strongly recommended that the carpet be pre-tested before starting any periodic cleaning to ensure neither the chemicals (shampoos or spot removal products) nor the actual cleaning technique cause damage to the structure or colour of the carpet
Carried out at regular intervals and using the appropriate equipment and chemicals 'Dry extraction' powder cleaning, the crystallization/encapsulation method, or 'bonnet' cleaning can be used to clean the surface of the carpeting. These procedures do not necessarily remove all of the deep-seated soil in the pile, but that may not be an issue. The advantages they have in common are quick drying and limited ‘downtime’ for the cleaned areas. Effective vacuuming after the carpet has dried is essential for the best results.
Intensive wet cleaning methods are based on either shampooing, using a high-foam carpet shampoo, or spray extraction cleaning using a low-foam detergent. Before this type of cleaning, the carpet pile is usually treated with a pile lifter, a twin-motor vacuum cleaner with a large cylindrical brush and powerful suction action. This opens up the pile and removes embedded grit normally left behind by vacuuming.
Shampooing involves the use of a rotary or cylindrical brush machine which brushes a shampoo solution ("wet" shampoo) or a shampoo foam ("dry" shampoo) into the carpet pile. After this is completed, the dirt-laden shampoo is either sucked out of the pile by means of a wet pick-up machine, rinsed out using a spray extraction machine (charged with water only), or left to dry and the dried shampoo and loosened dirt particles removed by vacuuming.
Spray extraction cleaning injects a detergent solution into the carpet pile, immediately followed by an integral wet pick-up system. The amount of solution sprayed into or onto the carpet pile varies greatly between machine models and makes. This affects both the efficiency of the "flushing" out of the dirt and the chance of inadvertently over-wetting the carpet. Cleaning efficiency can be improved by pre-spraying the carpet with the low foam shampoo 10 minutes prior to spray extraction (with water only), and by the use of rotating or oscillating brushes in the floor "wand" of the machine.
With all wet cleaning techniques it is important to avoid over-wetting the carpet as this will greatly lengthen the drying time and may cause problems with shrinkage and discolouration of the pile. Brushing of the pile should also be kept to a minimum, especially with some carpet constructions.
The basic requirements of cleaning chemicals for use on wool are:
To identify those cleaning chemicals that are safe to use, the WoolSafe approval programme for wool carpet maintenance products was established in 1991. All products tested and approved under this programme carry the following logo on packaging and/or product literature:
Recommended maintenance programmes
The level of maintenance required for a given location within a building depends on the severity of the traffic and the type of soiling that occurs. Most buildings can be divided into four categories: light, medium, heavy and extra heavy soiling. These in turn will require corresponding levels of maintenance.
Suggested maintenance programmes for the different soiling categories are given in the Table below.
WoolSafe-accredited carpet cleaning companies
The WoolSafe Organisation operates an accreditation scheme for professional carpet cleaners, called WoolSafe Service Providers. Service Providers are fully trained in all carpet cleaning techniques, have been in business continuously for a period of at least 5 years, and are members of a recognised professional or trade association related to the cleaning industry. They have attended the WoolSafe training course, have passed the exit exam and meet other requirements relating to their business and professional associations. A large number of these cleaners have experience of carpet cleaning in commercial properties. Service Providers use WoolSafe-approved products when they clean wool carpeting. Click here to find a cleaner near the premises where the carpet is located.