How Often Should You Clean Your Commercial Carpet?
Dirt has a knack for finding its way into office buildings. Up to 24 pounds of dirt can be tracked in by 1,000 people coming through an entrance in just a 20-day work period. That’s a lot of dirt!
With commercial carpets getting dusted with dirt and debris so often—especially in high-traffic areas—the question many facility managers wrestle with is: How often do we need to clean the carpets in our building?
The answer varies based on the specifics of your building. Factors like what kind of carpet you have and the traffic patterns each area of carpet sees can impact the answer. And so can the different types of cleaning you do.
Taking those factors into account, here are some tips to help you find the best frequency for cleaning your carpeting to both preserve its appearance and extend its useful life.
Don’t Believe This Common Carpet Cleaning Myth
There’s a popular myth that cleaning commercial carpet too frequently will shorten the life of the carpet or make its appearance worse. This leads some managers not to clean carpet at all or wait until the carpet is severely soiled.
This myth actually has a bit of truth to it because extraction cleaning done improperly can lead to a dirtier carpet—especially where detergent residue is left behind. Residue is a soil magnet. Carpets with residue will begin to look dirty again within a matter of days in high traffic, ground floor areas.
But beyond that specific situation, the “less cleaning is better for your carpet” myth is just that—a myth. In actuality, the more you clean your carpet (as long as it’s done properly) the better it will look and the longer it will last.
Obviously, cost also plays a factor. The more you have your carpet cleaned, the more dollars you need to devote to your carpet-cleaning budget. So what’s the best approach? How should you clean your carpet, and how often, to keep it looking good and give it the longest possible lifespan?
3 Best Practices for Cleaning Your Commercial Carpeting
Doing these three things at regular intervals will keep your carpet looking good and going strong:
Regular vacuuming is one of the most effective (and cost-effective) ways of removing dirt from your carpeting. But you have to make sure it’s done right. That means using the right vacuum and going slowly over the carpet in both east/west and north/south directions.
How often should you vacuum your carpets?
- For heavy traffic areas like entrances and ground floor halls, you’ll definitely want to vacuum daily.
- Areas with medium traffic like general offices areas or corridors should ideally be vacuumed daily, or at least 3-4 times a week.
- Lower traffic areas like conference rooms and executive offices can usually be done weekly, unless they see a high amount of traffic.
2. Spot Cleaning
Individual stains can really diminish the usable life of carpet. Removing dirt is one thing, but getting out a stain that’s set can be a real challenge. Stains can also create quite an eyesore, which will often compel managers to replace the carpet sooner than they would otherwise.
The key to preventing such stains is spot cleaning. The sooner you can treat the stain spot, the better your chances of successfully removing it.
- Follow these steps for effective spot cleaning.
- For heavier stains like dyes, glue residue, and even ketchup and mustard, you may need to call on a professional.
- It’s also a good idea to have someone regularly check your carpeting for any stains to spot clean them. You can also have this done as part of a carpet preventative maintenance program (more on that below).
3. Preventative Cleaning
The best method to keep your carpet looking good and lasting long is having a preventative cleaning program. This is a program where your carpet is professionally cleaned at regular intervals (which may differ for different areas based on the state of the carpet, usage, and traffic).
Like regular vehicle maintenance, the idea of a preventative cleaning program is to invest a little to keep your carpet in good shape so you can avoid big, costly restorative cleanings down the road. Preventative cleanings will also keep your carpets looking cleaner for longer.
How often should you have preventative cleaning done?
- For heavy traffic areas like entrances and ground floor halls, you want preventative cleanings 12-24 times a year. The more the better, but at least once a month.
- For medium traffic areas like administrative offices or above ground halls, 4 times a year (quarterly) is the ideal frequency.
- For lighter traffic areas like boardrooms and conference rooms, twice a year should do the trick.
Remember: The Better You Take Care of Your Carpet Today, the Longer It Will Last Tomorrow
When it comes to carpet, it’s important to look at the long-term investment and do the math. By employing best practices and investing in regular preventative cleaning, you can potentially add years to the useful life of your carpet—saving you ten of thousands of dollars.
Learn more tips and best practices to keep your commercial carpet going strong. Download our free eBook How to Develop an Effective Carpet Maintenance Program.
My brother is thinking about starting a new company in an office building and is trying to decide how to clean it. You mentioned that regular vacuuming is one of the most effective (and cost-effective) ways of removing dirt from your carpeting. Do most commercial cleaning services offer regular carpet cleanings? It appears that this could be a beneficial service to have for his potential business.
I think that the carpet I’m thinking of cleaning would be considered a high traffic area. Now I know that it should be cleaned 1-2 times a year. I’ll have to pass that information onto my boss.