How to Improve Your Commercial Carpet Vacuuming Technique
Office carpets are a big investment. Not only do they cost a lot to replace, but their cleanliness can impact your company’s image. That’s why it’s important to take care of your carpet properly – both to keep it looking fresh and clean and also to extend the life of your investment.
While regular, preventative carpet cleanings are certainly important to keep your carpets looking great for a long time, many businesses overlook how proper vacuuming technique impacts the life cycle of your carpet.
In fact, regular vacuuming with proper technique is perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect your investment. Not only will this help extend the life of the carpet, but vacuuming will also keep your carpet looking great between cleanings.
So, what is the right vacuuming technique and why is it so important? If you are not sure if you have the moves, follow our tips to get the most out of your vacuuming.
What Happens When You Don’t Vacuum Properly?
Improper vacuuming in between cleanings causes more problems than just unsightly soil and stains. Not only will dirt pile up, but your long-term costs will too.
Without proper vacuuming, dirt, allergens, and other types of organic matter stay in your carpet. This puts a big strain on your HVAC system filters. As dirt builds up, your building’s air quality may drop, which may lead to increased spending on HVAC maintenance.
The other hidden cost of improper vacuuming is wear and tear. Carpet fibers need to be vacuumed regularly to prevent early compacting in the pile. This alone can cut years off of the lifespan of the carpet if not properly handled. And, the cost of that is high – prematurely replacing a carpet in a 100,000 square foot office can cost as much as $500,000.
That’s why using the proper vacuuming technique means big money for your business.
Three Steps to Improve Vacuuming Effectiveness
What can you do to take your vacuuming to the next level? We recommend you focus on three things to keep your carpet looking great: your vacuuming method, frequency, and equipment.
1. Pay attention to vacuuming Method
How you vacuum matters, and slow and steady absolutely wins this race. Quick pushes in one direction will not be enough to capture all of the dirt in your carpet.
You want to take several long, slow passes back and forth with your vacuum. Then, change it up! Go from side to side after you go back and forth to get the carpet fibers moving in a new direction. This approach will help grab dirt from soiled, high-traffic areas.
2. Vacuum at the right frequency
How often should you vacuum? It depends on the area and the traffic. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Daily: High-traffic areas like entryways and ground floor hallways will naturally become the most soiled. You will also need to tend to above-ground hallways, and areas like classrooms, school corridors, and office bullpens every day, even though they don’t see as much traffic.
- Weekly: Lighter-use areas like boardrooms, conference rooms, or executive offices can be vacuumed weekly.
- 3-4 Times Per Week: Administrative offices or other less-to-moderate use spaces.
In addition to these regular cleanings, don’t forget to vacuum and clean hard to reach spaces at least two to three times per year. For instance, high corners and air ducts should be vacuumed two or three times a year so extra dust will not drift down to carpets.
This video shows what a significant difference a quick vacuum pass over your ducts can have.
3. Get the right equipment for your facility
Even if your vacuuming method and frequency is right, it means very little if you don’t have a vacuum that’s up to the job. Selecting the right equipment for your space is critical to ensuring the vacuuming will get done properly.
Oftentimes, businesses want to select one vacuum for their entire space or building. However, most offices need different vacuums for each area. Here’s a run-down of the different types of vacuums and where to use them:
- Backpack vacuums – Backpack vacuums are great for cleaning high areas, detailing, and removing soils from hard surfaces. ProTeam has some great backpack vacuums to consider.
- Upright vacuums – Upright vacuums often come with a 12” or 18” head. Much like backpack vacuums, these vacuums are great for tight areas, offices and smaller jobs. The Versamatic Plus is a great option that we use and recommend.
- Stand-on and large-area vacuums – These vacuums are best suited for large corridors, banquet rooms and aisleways that get vacuumed daily. A large-area vacuum, like the Nuwave, or a stand-on vacuum, like the Chariot, is perfect for this type of space.
How the Right Vacuum Impacts Costs
Oftentimes, facilities are choosing a backpack or upright as the primary vacuum for commercial carpeting because these options have such a high production rate. However, these models are not intended to be a facility’s only vacuum.
The issue is that upright or backpack vacuums do not have beater bars and special brushes to get out deep soil and lift fibers back into place. Additionally, at 12-18 inches wide, backpacks and uprights are too small to cover large areas. You may find yourself rushing and cutting corners, which will slowly reduce the life of your carpet and HVAC filters.
Not to mention, using a smaller vacuum in a large space will dramatically increase labor costs because the process will take longer. Here’s a look at how much area each vacuum type can cover in an hour:
- Upright 18” – 4000 Square Feet / Hour
- Wide Area Vacuum 30” – 9300 Square Feet / Hour
- Stand-On Vacuum 24” – 21,000 Square Feet / Hour
Based on these numbers, you’ll see that you do not want to give your staff an 18” vacuum for 28,000 square feet of high-traffic corridors and aisleways. It would take seven hours with an upright vacuum versus three hours with a wide-area vacuum and 1.3 hours with a stand-on vacuum.
Since most high-traffic areas get vacuumed daily, the savings in labor to use the right size vacuum are considerable.
No matter which size you choose, carpet manufacturers recommend using a vacuum with a dual motor and HEPA filters for maximum effectiveness.
What Can I Do Right Now to Improve Vacuuming Technique?
Now that you know the importance of vacuuming properly, you can improve your technique right away. Even if you don’t think your vacuum is up to the job, you can always use good form for better results. When you are ready, let us know how we can help you pick a vacuum or to schedule deep cleanings. DPM Care is here to help you get more life out of your carpet!