We asked two flooring experts - Milliken's Herb Oshiro and Millicare's Stephen Lewis - for their top tips for cleaning, maintaining and extending the life of office carpet.
Tip 1: Vacuum Regularly
"There is no more important step to maintain the looks and life of commercial carpet than vacuuming. Vacuuming removes the dry soil that can “sand” away at the fiber, causing damage and shortening the life of the carpet. It is important to use a vacuum with good air flow, good filtration and a rotating adjustable brush." - Stephen Lewis
Over time, dirt and grit builds up in your carpet, and under the pressure of regular foot traffic, these particles can function like sandpaper: grinding away at your carpet's fibers and causing premature wear and tear.
Regular vacuuming is the best defense against this damage. By creating a regular maintenance plan, setting out how frequently different areas should be vacuumed - daily for high traffic, two or three times a week for moderate traffic - and carrying it out consistently, your carpet stands the best chance of a long life.
Tip 2: Install a Walk-Off System
"Take a proactive approach to minimizing soil from entering your space. Utilize an effective "walk-off" system, where you can trap soil at entry points instead of tracking off in the interior areas." - Herb Oshiro
In addition to vacuuming, take steps to prevent dirt and dust particulates from ever entering your building. That's where tiered entry systems come into play: by combining "scraper" mats and absorbent textiles, it's possible to prevent up to 80% of damaging moisture, dirt and dust from ever getting onto your carpet.
Tip 3: Don't Leave Cleaning Chemicals in the Carpet
"Extract all of the cleaning chemicals out of your carpet. Learn the proper methods and usage rate of your chemicals to minimize the time and removal effort of those chemicals." - Herb Oshiro
Regular deep cleaning is essential for maximizing the life of office carpet, but the conventional method used by many companies - hot water extraction - isn't without its problems.
Carpet fibers are absorbent and will retain water, dirt and detergent during the cleaning process. Any water that's left in the carpet after cleaning will eventually dry - leaving behind traces of detergent in the process. Detergent is designed to attract dirt, and these residual cleaning chemicals will actually worsen localized soiling, as they continue to attract dirt after cleaning is completed.
The same principle applies to all cleaning chemicals. It's essential to ensure that all traces are removed after cleaning.
Learn more: How Often Should Office Carpet Tiles Be Cleaned?
Tip 4: Prioritize Spot Cleaning
"Nothing detracts from the appearance of the carpet more than spots all over the space. It is important to remove spots promptly and completely, so they do not become permanent." - Stephen Lewis
The best way to minimize permanent staining and carpet damage is to act on spills, spots and scuffs as soon as they appear. This requires a proactive maintenance team, able to identify and respond to problem areas as quickly as possible. Though it may seem like an additional task, the benefits to the long-term appearance of your carpet will soon become apparent.
If severe, localized damage or staining is a regular occurrence, opt for carpet tiles instead of broadloom: with a modular design, it's possible to simply lift out and replace the damaged tiles.
Tip 5: Make Time for Professional Help
"There's no substitute for a planned program of periodic cleaning by a professional commercial carpet cleaning company. Hire a company that specializes in commercial carpet cleaning to develop a customized plan of carpet cleaning for your facility with frequencies based on traffic, soiling conditions and appearance expectations." - Stephen Lewis
To allow office carpet to last as long as possible, it's worth working with a professional cleaning company. Even with an in-house maintenance team to carry out day-to-day cleaning, a professional cleaning company's expertise can help you develop a tailor-made cleaning and maintenance schedule - ensuring that all of the tips covered here can be used to maximum effect, to prolong the life of your office carpet.