Carpet Maintenance Basics

There are a few basics of carpet maintenance that need to be performed on a regular basis. Understanding how and why they work will help you design the best maintenance program for your facility.

Walk-Off Carpet or Mats

This is one of the most important parts of your maintenance program. The basic idea is to leave tracked-in soil on the walk-off carpet instead of the interior carpet.

Walk-off carpets are installed in what is referred to as clean-off zones, such as entry vestibules or entrance hallways. In some cases you may even install walk-off carpet in an entire informal lobby. The advantage is that the carpet is installed permanently. It is never loose and never has a corner flopped over. By design, these carpets need to be cleaned more often, but they are real money savers since the interior carpet will need less maintenance.

An alternative to installed walk-off carpets is walk-off mats. These are loose area mats that are made of the same type of material as the installed carpet. You will need to decide whether to own or rent your mats. It is usually better to rent your mats from a rental service who will replace and clean them on a regular basis. Owning your own mats may be more cost efficient if you have cleaning equipment and personnel to maintain them.

Important factors in choosing and placing walk-off mats and carpet.

Be sure they are constructed of material that will trap soil and moisture.

Clean the mats and carpet often. If they are allowed to soil to the point of saturation, they will become a source of soil for the carpet instead of protection.

The carpet area or mat should be large enough to ensure that people entering the building will take enough steps on them to remove the soils from their shoes. This normally requires three to five steps.

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More than any other maintenance procedure, regular thorough vacuuming keeps your carpets looking good and performing well. Sandy, gritty soil can become trapped between the fibers, and as foot traffic compresses and moves the fibers, the sharp edges of the soil can scratch and cut the fibers. This results in premature wear and visible damage that looks like soil but can never be cleaned away.

Daily vacuuming is the ultimate maintenance procedure, but this is not always possible for the entire facility. Daily vacuuming needs to be done in high traffic areas and entryways leading from outside the facility. Areas that are used less frequently and are not exposed to outside soils can be vacuumed on a lighter schedule.

The type of vacuum you choose is also an important decision. We recommend vacuums with a semi-aggressive rotating beater bar or brush, depending on the type of carpet you are dealing with.

Your ACE Carpet Care Professional can help you choose a vacuum and design a program of vacuuming that will suit the needs of your carpet and your budget.

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Pile Lifter

There is a different style of vacuum that we recommend for use before cleaning most types of carpet. It is called a pile lifter and, as the name suggests, it is very aggressive at lifting and separating the carpet pile and removing embedded soil. It has a dual motor system. One motor drives the brush while the other motor provides the vacuum suction. 

The results can be very impressive, but this vacuum is too aggressive for every day use. Check with your ACE Carpet Care Professional for advice on the use of the pile lifter.

Spot Cleaning

Nothing degrades the appearance of a carpet faster than spots that are left untreated. In many homes the spots are simply left to accumulate until it is time for a regular cleaning. This results in either cleaning sooner than is necessary due to the ugly spots, or spots that are left too long while waiting for the scheduled cleaning. Spots that are not treated promptly can often become permanent stains.

Prompt action on spot cleaning, coupled with regular vacuuming and good quality walk-off mats, will keep your carpet looking better than you have ever before experienced.

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