Heaven's Best - Commercial Maintenance Guidelines

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View the full commercial carpet cleaning guide from the Carpet and Rug Institute

Developing a Carpet Maintenance Plan
There are several considerations when developing a carpet maintenance plan, including building layout, planning for traffic flow, activities and proper cleaning, which includes preventive measures, interim measures and restorative cleaning.

Preventive measures
Preventive measures consist of using outside mats capable of scraping debris off shoes and have the capability to hold that material. Inside mats should remove smaller particles of dirt as well as oils and other liquids that can be tracked in from outside. (See Figure 1)

Outside entrance - use soil-removal mats that have a coarse texture, are able to brush soil from shoes and hold large amounts of soil in their pile.

Inside mats- use water absorbent mats to prevent tracked-in moisture from getting to the carpet. Mats that extend for 6 to 15 feet inside the entrance will trap eighty percent of soil and moisture from the first five or six steps. Using both types of mats at entrances helps prevent excessive soiling on carpet.
Keeping parking lots, sidewalks and entrances clean will cut down on the tracking in of debris.

Figure 1

Protective mats should be used around food stations, water coolers, elevators and stair thresholds to prevent moisture and dirt from becoming ground into carpet.

For mats to continue to trap soil, they should be cleaned on a regular basis, more frequently than the carpet. If accumulated soil is not removed, the mat will become overloaded and cannot prevent soil from entering the building.
Other preventive tips include restricting food and beverage consumption to specific areas, requiring lids on drinks or oversized cups and by placing trashcans in easily accessible areas.

Note: The area underneath a desk should be protected by a chair mat. These areas are sometimes considered low traffic areas; however, the chair rollers can create damage due to the concentration of wear.

Interim measures
Interim measures include vacuuming, spot cleaning and restorative cleaning in high traffic areas.
Effective, routine vacuuming is a must for good commercial carpet performance, so a proper vacuuming program is essential in a well designed maintenance program. The most important features of your vacuuming maintenance program will be identifying high, medium and low traffic areas by continually monitoring carpet performance and making any necessary adjustments to the schedule.

When selecting equipment, rather than choosing equipment based solely on cost, look for durability in a vacuum cleaner to reduce long-term cost of maintaining or replacing the equipment. Poor quality vacuum cleaners may continue to operate, but cleaning efficiency can deteriorate quickly, and equipment maintenance or replacement costs are high.
Consider efficient filtration. A vacuum cleaner that has an extremely high air flow (suction) has very little value if dust and other contaminants pass through the vacuum bag and become airborne. Efficient vacuum cleaners offer high airflow, high efficiency filtration and an adjustable rotating brush agitation for more effective soil removal. Always use the manufacturer’s recommended bags and accessories. Due to wear on the brush rollers and belts, these should be changed on a regular basis.

Because equipment choice is so important, CRI identifies vacuum cleaners that are tested to meet strict standards for soil removal, dust containment within the vacuum filter and carpet appearance retention with an SOA/GL ‘label. Depending on the level of soil removal, the label could be gold, silver or bronze. (See Figure 2)


Figure 2

Choose vacuums that bear one of these labels for assurance of effective cleaning and good air quality. For complete details on the program and a list of approved vacuum cleaners go to the CRI website, www.carpet-rug.org.


Hard Surfaces Adjoining Carpet Surfaces
Transition areas where carpet and hard floors meet can be a challenge. It is very important to keep hard surface flooring clean in order to prevent the tracking of hard surface residues onto carpet. Daily maintenance of hard surface floor coverings, such as VCT tile, ceramic tile, wood and terrazzo floors, presents a greater challenge to the average maintenance staff than carpeted surfaces.
Hard surface flooring must receive constant care because of its inability to hide soil and possible damage to the finish by dry soil. Hard surfaces that have become wet due to spills, leaks or even tracked in moisture must be a constant concern to the maintenance staff, as well as the risk management staff.
Daily maintenance of hard surface floors includes dry mopping, wet mopping and spot mopping. Wet mops should be stored in cool dry areas to prevent molding. Wet spills should be removed immediately to minimize falls and injuries. High quality finishes need to be used. Some softer finishes may track onto carpet.
To avoid problems, observe a few common sense rules.

• During treatment of hard surface floors, whether stripping, finishing or maintaining keep chemicals off the carpet. Many of the cleaning agents used to maintain hard floors can cause damage to carpet.

• After damp maintenance of hard surfaces, dry completely before allowing traffic onto carpet to help prevent tracking of any residues of hard surface cleaning agents.

• When using rotary equipment on hard surfaces next to carpet, be careful not to allow pads or brushes to come in contact with the carpet and, thus, abrade the carpet pile.

• Do not set buckets or equipment used for the maintenance of hard floors on the carpet as residues on the bucket may cause soiling or staining.

Spot prone areas should be checked daily in order to remove spills before they attract dirt or become permanent.
It is a misperception that carpet maintenance is more costly than hard surfaces. As stated in “A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Floor Coverings in School Facilities” (4) cleaning and maintenance of carpet is cost effective.
View the full commercial carpet cleaning guide from the Carpet and Rug Institute
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