A feat of endurance for carpet care
29 April 2019
Plush carpets can provide colour, comfort and value for many years when properly cared for. Gordon McVean, international sales and marketing director at Truvox International, outlines the importance of a multi-step approach to cleaning and maintenance
Despite the appeal of interiors with minimalist styles and gleaming surfaces, we have an enduring fondness for carpets. They provide brightness, texture and a sense of comfort. Those qualities can be sustained – giving this flooring asset a surprisingly long life –when carpet is properly maintained.
The most immediate threat is premature wear, which is why routine vacuuming is crucial. With a continuous heavy footfall of traffic, frequent and professional cleaning of carpets is a necessity. Carpet fibres collect dust, grit, soil and stains, and unless they are regularly removed by vacuuming, this abrasive material accelerates wear while also detracting from the carpet’s appearance.
A cleaning regime geared to whole-life carpet care begins with vacuuming but does not end there. Interim and deep cleaning are required to preserve the good looks of carpeting and safeguard this asset. Their frequency depends on the intensity and type of traffic.
This makes economic sense too, as appropriate cleaning and treatment will lengthen the serviceable life of the carpeting, which means less money spent on renovation or refurbishment in the long run. Improving the performance and lifespan of flooring will also provide a healthier environment for staff, helping reduce work absenteeism.
Using the right equipment
Today’s carpet cleaning equipment can help the cleaning team achieve great results. However, if one piece of equipment is expected to become ‘the total solution’ instead of being one part of a multi-step cleaning programme, this is also bad practice. For example, there may be a particular cleaning method, perhaps for the absorbent pad system on a carpet where the manufacturer only recommends hot water extraction. Specific methods might be required for different types of carpet for example, if carpet tiles are used rather than woven or tufted carpet.
If the correct equipment is used with quality cleaning solutions, sufficient soil can be removed to improve the appearance of the carpet; however it must be preceded by thorough vacuuming to remove the particulate grit and soil. Low pile might look better if cleaned with pads instead of being extracted but it won’t be really clean unless it is correctly vacuumed to remove heavy, dry soiling.
Innovation in vacuuming
Regular vacuuming is essential to keep carpets looking fresh and bright. Technical advances are setting the latest generation of vacuums apart from their old and familiar predecessors in terms of efficiency, manoeuvrability and sustainability.
Our most notable example is the transformation of the traditional upright vac to battery technology. This award-winning cordless technology is taken a stage further with the VBUII which boasts a removable battery, allowing the operator to quickly double its running time of more than 50 minutes. Light yet powerful, this cordless vacuum is ideal for quiet and unobtrusive cleaning, without the hassle and risk of a trailing cable, making daytime vacuuming around visitors and employees seamless and safer. This safety benefit is significant and operatives also appreciate the freedom of working without the stop-start of plugging and unplugging and finding the nearest wall socket.
Light and highly manoeuvrable machines are a popular option, as this makes transporting the machine between cleaning jobs or to different parts of a building easy. Weighing just 6kg, our compact tub vacuum, the VTVe has an ‘A’ energy rating and comes with a 32mm-diameter toolset – so is compatible with standard consumables. Both its crevice tool and dusting brush are stored conveniently at the back of the machine, while a wand holder facilitates tidy storage.
Any advanced vacuum should also safeguard indoor air quality to help control allergies. This is crucial where hygiene is a priority, but we also believe it’s important in every business sector.
We have committed to the HEPA 13 standard of filtration. It means these vacuums trap particles of 0.3 microns and larger, or some 99.97% of airborne matter. As on our battery upright, the bag also has an automatic closing feature to prevent dust particles from escaping while it’s being replaced.
The extent of spills and stains may dictate the timing of interim cleans. The advantage is that interim maintenance cleaning is both rapid and effective when performed with a specialist spray extractor.
For example, our Hydromist range is designed to suit all areas, from small to large venues. These machines inject cleaning solution and extract dirt with a powerful vacuum. The two main types are ‘box and wand’ models, which can be very compact, and self-contained ‘pull-back’ machines with capacities up to 55 litres – and the productivity and features needed to clear large areas of carpeting. The Hydromist 55/400, for example, has a powerful 3000W in-line heater and offers variable-pressure spray injection up to 400dpi.
Specialist pre-spotting solution should be used to tackle localised stains. Where carpets are extremely dirty, leaving the Hydromist-sprayed cleaning solution to stand for 5-15 minutes will allow the detergent to emulsify the dirt before vacuuming.
But when staining is extensive – or it’s time for a deep clean – the most effective way to restore carpet to its pristine glory is through encapsulation. Deep cleaning is imperative because of the other 20% of soils not removed by vacuuming. These are sticky or oily substances that adhere to carpet fibres. Interim cleaning with extraction will remove some of this material and keep the carpet looking presentable. But soils embedded deep in the pile pose an even greater challenge.
Encapsulation provides the answer by taking advantage of polymer chemistry and scrubbing technology designed for the task.
Our Cimex-Encap carpet cleaning system is the most reliable method for restoring deep cleanliness, brightness and texture to even the most heavily soiled commercial carpets. It also helps keep the carpet cleaner for longer, so the entire cleaning cycle is streamlined.
Cimex-Encap involves a simple four-step process. Firstly, thorough vacuuming removes all the dry dirt, clearing the way for the polymeric solution to attack that sticky/oily residue.
Secondly, carpet fibres are coated with this diluted solution without saturating the carpet by using a triple-head Cimex Cyclone machine. It scrubs the carpet with pad drives and pads or shampoo brushes. As the solution dries, it loosens the sticky soil and encapsulates it. In the final stage, vacuuming easily removes this material, leaving a revitalised carpet.
Guiding the machine at a quick walking pace, the operator needs to apply only enough solution to dampen the surface, by ‘feathering’ a release lever or adjusting a control valve. The dampness is sufficient for the polymeric chemistry to begin working, and the effect can be almost instant. Carpets look cleaner as the solution releases the sticky dirt bonded to the fibres.
This low-moisture system allows carpets to dry quickly. It may take as little as 45 minutes to be touch-dry, or at most two hours. Walking on the damp carpet causes no problems. Where practicable, letting the carpet dry overnight before vacuuming ensures the soil is fully encapsulated.
Where there are more embedded oily soils, a ‘dry’ pass – agitating the pile without dispensing solution – will ensure the Cimex-Encap solution is dispersed even more thoroughly. Multiple dry passes should only be necessary for the most heavily soiled carpets, reducing output to around 100m2 per hour. If some areas are severely soiled they can be pre-sprayed with the polymeric solution to break down the bond with the carpet fibres. The sprayed area is left for a short time before the wet/dry pass procedure is followed.
A clear and well-planned planned maintenance and cleaning regime is the best way to ensure that carpets and their appeal endures. With a dedicated cleaning team, machines with state of the art technology and constant pursuit of excellence to ensure outstanding results every time, the finest attributes of the carpeting can be enjoyed to the full.