This page is intended to provide general guidelines on the care and maintenance methods for carpet in commercial installations. The recommendation would be to put in place a regular care and maintenance programme immediately after the carpet has been installed. The responsibility should be given to experienced personnel trained in the use of cleaning machines and who would be capable of recommending the frequency of the various cleaning operations.
New carpet may exhibit certain visual characteristics that are normal, but may not be perceived in that way. These would include the following:
It is normal for some loose fibres to be present in new cut pile carpet. Their number is quite small compared to the total fibre content of the carpet and is of no consequence. Regular vacuuming will remove these without harming the carpet.
All carpet (woven, tufted, or handmade) is subject to a natural phenomenon known as “shading” “pooling”, or “watermarking”, which may be unsightly. Its occurrence cannot be predicted or prevented, and it creates a permanent change in the carpet’s appearance, usually within 2-6 weeks after installation. “Shading” is not a manufacturing defect, and does not affect the durability of the carpet. The appearance of “Shaded” carpet is created by the difference in the way light reflects off the side of the yarn and the tip of a yarn as the pile yarns lay in different directions. Shaded areas will appear light from one direction, and dark from the other direction. The “spots”, usually curved in nature, will virtually disappear when observed from directly above. No-one knows why the pile, which when installed is laying in one direction, changes direction permanently.
One of the most effective means of soil prevention is to fit barrier matting at entrance points and also at other potential soiling/spillage areas, e.g. exit from kitchens.
The first line of defence at entrances is the use of heavy-duty matting fitted in a well outside the building or immediately in the doorway. This matting would normally consist of removable metal scraper bars or grills with textile inserts and are designed to retain large particles of soil and water.
A lighter duty, all textile mat designed to retain moisture and smaller particles of dirt is an effective second line of defence fitted close to the heavy duty matting or loose laid in high traffic areas. Barrier mats require frequent cleaning to ensure that they do not become overloaded with soil and then transfer this onto the carpet they are protecting.
Regular cleaning of carpet will reduce loss of appearance and accumulation of contaminants. Vacuuming is the most important procedure to clean and extend the service life of the carpet. Vacuums with high suction, brush and beater bar are recommended for cut pile carpets such as Axminster woven and tufted ranges. For tufted loop pile carpets a cylinder vacuum is recommended. Vacuums with micro – filters are often the best option, so dirt is not extracted and then blown back into the building. Rotary shampoo and Spin Bonnet machines are not recommended as the rotary action of this equipment can severely distort the pile yarn. A more powerful “pile lifter” type vacuum may also be used before and/or after periodic cleaning for optimum pile agitation and restoration. Proper vacuuming requires three to five slow passes over the same area. Brushes must be cleaned frequently and replaced when worn.
Overall grime not only causes discolouration, it presents another undesirable quality. Carpet that is not cleaned and reconditioned regularly, no matter how faithfully it is vacuumed, will tend to permanently crush and mat down. As grease, present in smoke, or pollutants in the air settle on the carpet, pile yarns may become gummy enough to stick to each other and flatten is use. Matted carpet appears to be worn out, even if there is no real pile loss.
Identification and immediate action are the keys to effective stain removal procedures. To minimize time and effort, it is helpful to know what causes a stain so that treatment can begin without guesswork.
The longer a stain “sets”, the more difficult it may be to remove. If it remains too long, it might react with the carpet dyes and cause permanent discolouration. Hence, an alert staff and a well-stocked stain removal kit are important to a good carpet maintenance programme.
Spillages should be attended to straight away to absorb the spillage. When treating the spillage, NEVER rub or over wet the carpet as this may cause permanent damage to the carpet pile. For a solid spillage, first remove as much of the contaminant as possible, by scraping up using a knife or spatula. Liquid spillages should always be absorbed by a clean cloth / kitchen tissue, pushed gently onto the wet area. Ensure that a blotting technic is used rather than rubbing the pile surface, as this may also damage the pile.
There are many methods that can be used on location to clean carpet. However, it is not possible to become an instant expert by reading descriptions, advantages, and disadvantages of each method. The National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA) should be able to provide advice based on the requirement. The basic periodic cleaning methods for carpet and rugs are as follows:
Hot Water Extraction
Hot water extraction is the most effective deep cleaning method, however over wetting the carpet can cause dimensional problems. Hot water extraction is best carried out by trained professional cleaners such as the following examples:-
• Revival www.revival-carpet-cleaning.co.uk
• Servicemaster www.servicemasterclean.co.uk
• Woolsafe www.woolsafe.org
Dry Foam with Extraction
A dry foam crystallizing shampoo is fed from a cylinder onto rotating brushes which apply the shampoo to the carpet. Straight after application, the brushes from a suitable vacuum device remove the majority of the soil and shampoo. The carpet is allowed to dry and then the residue is thoroughly vacuumed up.
This involves the use of a dry compound that is brushed into the carpet and allowed to absorb the soil and dirt. The powder is then vacuumed up. Dry cleaning methods include Host, Millicare, and Sebo. Dry cleaning has the following benefits.
It is important to develop a regular maintenance schedule and have qualified individuals performing the cleaning. The frequency of cleaning will be determined by the severity of the soiling and the environmental conditions. Certain areas, such as entrances and main traffic aisles, might need more frequent cleaning than the rest of the installation. Many installations have been successful in utilising a combination of methods, such as Dry Extraction for interim cleaning of heavy traffic areas followed by Hot Water Extraction of the entire carpet on a periodic basis.
It is common for carpet adjacent to the transition between hard surface flooring and carpet to soil rapidly and be more difficult to clean. Hard surface cleaners should not be used on carpet, and care should be taken not to spill or spray them on carpet. These type of cleaners usually have too high a PH (greater than 10), which may damage the carpet, and they leave a residue on the carpet, which will cause rapid re-soiling. If applied to the carpet by accident, they should be blotted with wet towels or sponge, followed by blotting with dry towels as soon as possible to avoid damage to the carpet.
Files coming soon.