What Does an Effective Carpet Maintenance Program Look Like?
Want the longest possible life out of your commercial carpet and the greatest return on your carpet investment? It starts by having a plan.
Ideally, as soon as you have new carpeting installed in your facility you should create and implement a carpet maintenance program.
But even if you’ve had your carpet for a few years, implementing a carpet maintenance program can still be beneficial.
A well-maintained carpet will help you:
- Save money and stress in the long haul;
- Create a healthier work environment; and
- Increase positive perception of your facility.
What Is a Carpet Maintenance Program?
A carpet maintenance program lays out how you will clean and care for your carpet on an ongoing basis. It will ensure your carpet continues to look its best and help you avoid costly problems down the road.
Your program should include the solutions, equipment and systems you will use to maintain the appearance and condition of your carpet (and protect your manufacturer’s warranties).
It should take into account things like your carpet location, environmental conditions, foot traffic and traffic patterns, the cleaning teams you will use, and your cleaning budget.
5 Most Effective Ways to Maintain Your Facility’s Carpet
Here are five essential elements that should be included in your carpet maintenance program:
1. Walk-Off Systems & Chair Mats
The idea of a walk-off system is literally to “walk off” dirt before it reaches your carpet. You want to strategically position mats both outside and inside entrances to brush debris off of shoes and absorb any tracked-in moisture.
Adding a walk-off mat approximately 12-15 feet long at a key entrance point, such as a lobby or vestibule, can spare your carpeting a lot of excess soil. How much? To give you an idea, 1,000 people coming through an entrance over a 20-day work period can track in 24 pounds of dirt. A walk-off system can dramatically reduce how much of that dirt ends up in your carpet.
Placing chair mats underneath desks can also spare your carpeting a lot of wear and abuse. While you may consider the areas under desks “low traffic”, if mats are not in place, chair rollers can do a lot of damage.
Regular vacuuming is key to maintaining the appearance of your carpet over time by removing dry soil. The central word here is “regular”.
Vacuuming your carpets daily is ideal, especially in high-traffic areas. This will prevent soil from becoming embedded in the carpet, and also make a big difference in the appearance of your carpet.
The Carpet & Rug Institute notes that, “Areas where large amounts of sandy soil enter the building may become dull in appearance over time. This is due to abrasion of the fiber surface, affecting the reflection of light.”
Choosing the right vacuum for your carpet (check out a list of certified vacuum cleaners here) and using it properly (slow passes going both north and south and east and west) also makes a big difference.
3. Spot Removal
Stains can be a real problem. They can discolor your carpet, stick out like a sore thumb and be challenging to remove after they’ve set for a while.
The trick is to clean any spots as soon as you notice them. The quicker the better. Having a plan and process for spot cleaning should be part of your carpet maintenance program.
There are many different spot-cleaning agents available. Make sure you find one that’s right for your carpet. Test it on a small area first to make sure it won’t damage the fiber or remove the dye. Knowing good spot cleaning technique is also important.
It’s also not a bad idea to have someone go around and check your carpet for stains on a regular basis. This will help increase the likelihood you’ll find a stain before it sets in too deep.
4. Preventive Cleaning
The efforts above are all designed to keep your carpet in the best condition on a daily/weekly basis. You’ll also need to incorporate regular preventative carpet cleanings into your program to achieve a higher level of clean.
How often should you have your commercial carpets cleaned? The biggest factor in determining the answer to this question is typically the traffic your carpet sees.
A carpet located in a central area like a lobby that sees heavy traffic will need to be cleaned 12-24 times a year. A carpet that sees minimal traffic in an area like a conference room will need to be cleaned only twice a year.
A couple other things you’ll want to consider in your maintenance program are the carpet cleaning method and chemicals used by your cleaning team. Both of these considerations can be key factors in the long-term appearance and condition of your carpet.
5. Restorative Cleaning
Let’s be clear: Restorative cleaning is not something you want. It’s basically a life preserver. If you need restorative cleaning, it means your carpet’s in trouble and needs help. The goal of all of the elements listed above is to help you avoid restorative cleaning.
Restorative cleaning is a deep, chemically intensive cleaning designed to “save the life” of your carpet in dire situations. It can give your carpet a boost when it really needs it, but it’s not very good for your carpet.
That being said, it’s good practice to include a plan for restorative cleaning in your maintenance program should the need arise. Like all emergency situations, you hope to avoid it. But it’s smart to be prepared just in case.
Have a Plan to Get the Most from Your Building’s Carpet
Replacing commercial carpeting is costly. Having a maintenance program for your building’s carpet will save you some potential headaches and put in a plan in place to help you get the maximum life out of your carpet.