Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the appearance of your carpet tiles.
While there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ program to follow (your cleaning requirements will vary depending on everything from foot traffic to the weather), your cleaning program must include vacuuming and deep cleaning to maximize the lifespan of your carpet.
Time for a Plan
A new carpet is a significant investment. If you don’t have an effective cleaning program in place, your carpet won’t last as long as it should, and the total cost of ownership will be higher.
To maintain the as-new appearance of your carpet tiles, it is just as important to have a good cleaning program in place as it is to choose the best cleaning method.
How to Plan Your Cleaning Program
Start by mapping out your building or office space. Use a floor plan to mark out the different levels of foot traffic that each part of the building experiences.
Once you’ve mapped this out, you can categorize each area with a traffic light system: red for high traffic areas (like the lobby), yellow for medium traffic areas, and green for low traffic areas (like the CEO’s office). Some guidelines for how often you should clean each area are below, but be sure to tailor them to your organization’s needs.
- Red (high traffic areas) – vacuum daily, deep clean monthly.
- Yellow (medium traffic areas) – vacuum two or three times a week, deep clean three to four times a year.
- Green (low traffic areas) – vacuum once or twice a week, deep clean once or twice a year.
Vacuuming your carpet is the most important factor in improving appearance retention and extending the life of your carpet.
Regular vacuuming is capable of removing 80% of dirt and debris from your carpet, but you need to have the best vacuum cleaner to achieve the best results. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends a vacuum cleaner that has been tested and approved under their Seal of Approval / Green Label program for vacuums, which tests for soil removal, dust containment and carpet appearance retention.
Additionally, it’s important to choose a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. The bristles on the brush will work to agitate the dirt, dust and debris within the carpet tile, which will then be removed by the suction. The exception is if you have wool carpet, in which case the CRI recommends using suction only.
Deep Cleaning Options
Hot Water Extraction
A popular choice with many organizations, this involves pumping a detergent solution into the carpet to attract dirt, before cleaning with a wet vac (a vacuum cleaner for wet surfaces) to remove the dirt and detergent.
While this may appear effective initially, carpet fibers are absorbent, so will suck up water, dirt and detergent during the cleaning process. It's extremely difficult to extract all of the dirty, soapy water from the carpet, and a small amount of dirt and detergent will remain in the carpet fibers after the water dries. Any detergent residue left over from cleaning can lead to the carpet re-soiling more easily, as it will continue to attract dirt.
Additionally, as you need to allow time for drying, hot water extraction can cause a lot of disruption to your organization, with rooms being out of use while you wait for the carpet to dry.
Spin Bonnet Cleaning
Spin bonnet cleaning is an adaptation of methods used to polish hard floors, with the addition of water and detergent. The cleaning product is applied to the floor as a mist, and a buffer machine then scrubs the mixture to remove dirt.
This is ineffective, as it only cleans the surface of the carpet. Even worse, the buffing motion can actually drive soil down into the fibers, as well as distorting the tips of the fibers, causing damage to the carpet over the long term.
Dry Powder Cleaning
Dry powders use small porous beads to absorb dirt and debris from the carpet tile. The powder can then be removed by regular vacuuming.
A good cleaning routine will improve the appearance retention of your carpet; a great one will also benefit the environment. The dry powder cleaning method offers a significant reduction in water consumption versus hot water extraction, removing dirt from deep in the fibers without using any water. This means the room is ready to use right away, with no need to wait for drying - essential if your organization operates 7 days a week.
Dry powder cleaning is one of the most effective ways to deep clean your carpets, and helps to reduce the costs associated with prematurely replacing soiled carpet tiles before their end of life. It doesn’t leave any residue behind, and it minimizes disruption and down-time for your organization.
Hiring Professional Carpet Cleaners
Now you’ve got a plan in place, how do you make sure you’re doing a great job?
It may be tempting to use in-house custodial staff to do all the cleaning for your organization. However, you will achieve much better results for a comparable cost by hiring professionals (such as MilliCare) instead.
By the hour, you may think that hiring in a team of professionals is more expensive, but their training and experience will mean that they do a better job, and take less time to do so, than if you got your custodial staff to carry out your carpet cleaning program.
If you’re looking to hire professional carpet cleaners, both the Carpet and Rug Institute and the Institute for Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) list certified providers. They also have some useful guidelines as to what you should ask and what to look for when hiring a professional, to make sure you receive the best service.
To learn more about maximizing the life of your carpet tiles, download the whitepaper below.