Category Archives: Carpet Care

Four Steps to Maintaining Your Carpet

In Issue One of the BRUCO University newsletter, my friend PeDIR showed us the four steps of hard floor care. In this issue we’ll apply the same four rules to carpet care.  PeDIR’s credo has four parts: 


  • P  for Preventative
  •   for Daily
  • I    for Interim
  • R  for Restorative

All four processes come into play to have beautiful carpets that last longer and have that new look without the permanent damage of traffic patterns.

Let’s spend a little time on each process for carpet care and I’ll introduce you to the latest technology in each step.

Preventative Carpet Care:

This step is just the same as in hard floor care, so I’m going to repeat a lot of this.  What I didn’t mention in the last issue is to sweep your parking lot and from time to time pressure wash the lot to remove oily soil that gets tracked in.

Take a walk around your facility to see where your matting is in relation to high traffic areas and what kind of shape your mats are in.  First of all, do they need to be replaced?  What type of mats are you using?  Are they doing the job of keeping the dirt in the mat and off the floor?

Ideally, you should be using three types of mats:

1. The outdoor scraper mat which traps heavy soil and allows water to drain away freely.

2. The indoor scraper/wiper mat.  We like the construction of the AndersenWaterhog.  The Waterhog mats have a hi lo pattern in the resilient rubber backing which creates a water dam keeping moisture in the mat and off your floors.

Waterhog Masterpiece Select
Waterhog Masterpiece Select

3. The indoor wiper mat is a finishing mat which traps finer dirt before stepping out onto your floors.

How much matting do you need?  You should have a 10-15 foot run of a combination of the mats listed above to be able to remove 80-90% of the contaminants from entering the building.  Not only does proper matting keep the dirt off of the floor but also keeps the dust out of the air and improves your indoor air quality decreasing the load on your HVAC system.

Daily Carpet Care:  

You may not vacuum the whole facility daily, but you should always vacuum the mats and the high traffic areas to avoid irreversible traffic patterns.  If you don’t remove soil daily from those high use areas, the soil goes deeper and deeper into the carpet pile and scratches the fibers.  Carpet fiber is designed to reflect light which gives it that luster and allows the color to pop.  When soil gets into the carpet and scratches the fiber, it’s just like scratching a pair of eyeglasses.  What do you see when you put them on?  Not much.  Everything becomes dull.  This is exactly what happens in a traffic pattern.  It dulls the fibers permanently.  So think of preserving the luster of your carpet by first of all keeping the majority of the dirt off of them in the first place with long runs of matting and then vacuuming those traffic lanes daily.

 What type of vacuum should be used?  It depends on the job, the person using it, and the square feet of the area to be cleaned.

 A tip on cleaning the mats is to use an upright to vacuum the top, then flip it over and vacuum the rubber backing so the beater brush loosens the ground in dirt onto the floor.  Flip it back over and vacuum up the loose dirt from the floor and go over the top again.

 If you have a large area to be cleaned, backpack vacuums are a great option. When choosing a backpack vac, the most important specifications to compare are:

 1)  Motor input power in watts

2)  Static lift (how high the suction can lift a 1″ column of water)

3)  Airflow in CFM’s (cubic feet per minute).

 As far as the occupants in your facility go, you may need to also check out the decibel level. For instance, a ProTeam Super Coach Pro 6 backpack vacuum runs at 66dBa; 1108 watts; 159 CFM and 96 inches of static lift.

The GoFree Pro Battery Backpack specs are 60 dBA; 507 watts; 65 CFM and 70 inches of static lift.

 So the quieter the vacuum the less power, air flow and static lift you’ll have. However, if you operate a healthcare facility and need to vacuum high traffic areas daily or more than once a day, and want to avoid the trip hazard of an electric cord, you can afford to give up the power.  They do a fantastic job if the carpet is cleaned consistently.  The priority is the satisfaction of your patients not having to be woken up with a loud vacuum or visitors having to dodge the noise and cords of a standard backpack vacuum.

The other consideration is square feet.  Using an upright to vacuum large areas and areas with a lot of furniture like cubicles or classroom desks is way too time consuming.  Uprights are great for cleaning high traffic areas and smaller open spaces.

 In a 10,000 square foot area, it will cost you 3 man hours using a dual motor upright compared to 1 man hour using a ProTeam Backpack Vacuum.  Let’s say those man hours have a loaded cost of $14 per hour.  You would save $9240 over the course of a year based on 264 working days.  Another way to look at it is you could enjoy $9240 worth of improvements in the cleanliness of your facility.  The backpack vac pays for itself in months.

OK, enough of my love for backpack vacuums.

 Spots.  Those nasty spots.  Ideally, they get reported right away and you can get on it pronto, but no one really wants to confess that they just spilled coffee all over the hallway carpet.

It just has to be done as you’re vacuuming because that’s when you’re going to notice them.   It’s very inconvenient to stop vacuuming and get out of your flow to stop and clean up a spot.  If there’s no foot traffic where you are at the time, I recommend keeping those little bright colored stickers in your pocket and just sticking one to the spot and then coming back through to do your ‘spot’  cleaning or have another team member come behind you with a heavy duty spot remover.

Interim Carpet Care: If you take the time to clean high traffic areas between extractions, your carpets will look new much longer.

First of all, maintain your mats.  Pressure wash your matting as needed:

Prespray with a light detergent.  Pressure wash swiping back and forth across the mat until all dirt and grit is removed.  Hang to dry overnight.

Using Encapsulation to Clean High Traffic Areas:

Encapsulation is really the best technology out there for interim carpet cleaning.  Encapsulation is a very low moisture cleaning technique mainly used in commercial settings for traffic lane cleaning.

The chemistry is unique since it consists of a detergent and crystal polymers. The detergent breaks the binding of the soils to the carpet fibers and then the polymers act as sponges to form a crystalline residue that can be immediately vacuumed.

Most equipment manufacturers are designing extractors that can also be used for interim cleaning just by using an encapsulation chemical.  Let’s take a look at the Taski Pro 45.

The cool thing about this machine is that it’s so easy to use.  The handle flips to the front or the rear.  You can use it in a push or pull motion and it’s self propelled.  Let’s check out Adam’s demonstration in the video below…

Taski Pro45 Carpet Extractor
Taski Pro45 Carpet Extractor

 Enough said – who wouldn’t want to use that baby in a big facility?  Talk about not feeling like you’re 80 after extracting carpets all day.

Restorative Carpet Care:

 The most important part of extraction is the prep work that needs to be done before you even turn your extractor on.

Vacuuming:  Be sure that you remove the dry soil in your carpets very well so that you’re not asking the extractor to do a job it isn’t designed to do, which is to extract mud.

If you have a tough situation with a carpet that’s been neglected and there’s a lot of impacted dirt that even a vacuum won’t remove you may need to use a high flow extractor like a Steamin’ Demon.  We have a customer that cleans the dorm rooms once a year with it and you can only imagine the build up that happens after a school year of abuse and neglect.

Once you’ve removed the soil by vacuuming, you’ll need to pre-spray the carpet with the chemical most appropriate for the soil you are removing.  This allows you to implement the principle of TACT.  Picture what you need to do when you’ve got to clean a casserole dish with all that hard dried up food around the edges.  You soak it in hot water with a little soap and let it sit for awhile before you attempt to scrub it.  When it comes to carpets the same rule applies to pull the old oily dirt and grease that’s been tracked in all year.

TIME:  Let the pre-spray sit for about 10 minutes to allow the chemicals to work on suspending the soils and breaking the bond to the carpet fibers.

AGITATION:  Rake or use a pile lifter on the carpet while the chemicals are working away to aid the soil suspension process

CHEMICAL:  Diversey makes a good pH Neutral Heavy Duty PreSpray which also contains a soil repellent to prevent re-soiling.

TEMPERATURE:  Although you may not use hot water in your extractor depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can use hot water in this pre-spray step which will be more effective in breaking down the grease and oil.

If you don’t pre-spray and just use detergent in your extractor, then the detergent only has a fraction of a second to accomplish all of the above.  It just doesn’t make sense to put all that time into such a huge job to get sub standard results.

When it comes to the extraction step, having a dual purpose extractor like the Taski Pro 45 or the Tennant 1610 is ideal.  Whatever extractor that you’re using, you should only use water since you’ve already applied the chemical in the pre-spray step.

A good extractor will leave the carpet with as little moisture in it as possible. Choose a time of year when the humidity is low and you have the ability to open windows.  Using air movers to speed up the drying process is advised.

Applying all of these steps in the care of your carpets will extend the life of your investment.  Taking shortcuts just doesn’t pay off, so follow our friend PeDIR’s advice and make a great first impression on your guests with beautifully maintained carpets!

If you’d like to view or share with your staff a full length  48 minute BRUCO University training video by Tony Sandau on Carpet Care Basics just click on the video below!

Carpet Care Basics - BRUCO, INC.
Carpet Care Basics – BRUCO, INC.