Welcome to the second edition of my three part guide to carpet cleaning, click here to see part 1. We can consider carpet care in four stages, which if carried out systematically should prolong the useful life of your carpets and contribute to a healthier indoor environment. In this edition I will discuss the four stages of carpet cleaning and touch upon controlling soilage.
The Four Stages
Stage 1: Controlling Soil
As we have seen, dry soil is often abrasive and will damage carpet fibres if not removed promptly. Foot traffic, by its very nature, will agitate these soil particles causing them to scratch and cut carpet fibres, leading to a gradual deterioration in the overall appearance.
The most abrasive of these particles can usually be narrowed down to the immediate are surrounding entrances. Once deposited at the entrance, the soil particles are carried to other areas of the building, leading to further deterioration in the appearance of the carpets.
The key is to significantly reduce the amount of soil entering the building. Effective entrance matting should be placed at all entrances. Ideally, these should remove, absorb and contain soil and moisture at the point of entry. They should be sunk into a mat well wherever possible and not placed on top of existing carpets.
Finally, any cleaning regime should provide for regular vacuuming and periodic cleaning of entrance matting.
Stage 2: Effective Vacuuming
Regular and routine vacuuming of carpets, using a good quality vacuum cleaner, is the single, most important factor in prolonging the life of carpets and controlling the amount of dust within the building.
Care should be taken to ensure that any vacuum cleaners used are effective in containing dust within its retrieval system, thus reducing the amount of dust re-entering the atmosphere.
Stage 3: Immediate Spotting
The key to removing spots or stains is prompt action. Most spots and stains can be easily removed if tackled immediately. If allowed adequate contact time, or if they are ignored, the components of the spot or stain can react with or bond with carpet fibres, causing permanent staining.
Stage 4: Periodic Cleaning
All carpets, especially those used within commercial premises, should be suitably deep cleaned at least once a year. Areas that are subjected to heavy traffic should, however, be deep cleaned more regularly. If deep lying soil is not removed periodically, it will become impacted and extremely difficult to remove without using aggressive restoration techniques that can damage carpets. Carpets around entrance areas should be cleaned frequently, to deal with the larger accumulations of dust particles that can be carried around the building.
Controlling Soil is the to Key Commercial Carpet Cleaning. In any building when choosing carpets its good to have an understanding of carpet maintenance, it is also important to have a discussion on the different types of soil that can be present in a carpet. This knowledge will help in taking both preventative action and in the development of an appropriate cleaning regime. Soil can be distinctly categorised into either wet or dry soil, the latter typically accounting for 85-95% of soil in a carpet.
Dry soil consists of the dust and grit, the vast majority of which is trafficked in by people, whilst wet soil is a little more complicated and is split into two categories, water soluble and solvent soluble. The good news is that regular vacuuming will remove 90-95% of the larger dry particles that are ‘loose’ in the pile.
Wet soil, however, is a different matter and represents the major challenge in carpet cleaning, as the smaller particles stick in the carpet fibres and cannot be easily removed by vacuuming.
These sticky particles, which are bound to the fibres by an oily film, are considered to be below surface level and will often need to be removed by cleaning with detergent or solvent.
Some wet soil stains, such as tea, coffee and wine, are particularly difficult to remove because they contain a chemical called Tannin and actually dye the carpet fibres. In these cases, removing all traces of residual staining can depend on the use of high quality products, which chemically reverse the dye reaction.
This is particularly difficult, and sometimes impossible on natural fibres such as wool. As with all spots and stains, it is essential that they are treated as soon as possible to increase the likelyhood of removing stainage.
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