There is nothing worse than entering a commercial establishment or business with an untidy reception room and an equally dirty carpet on the floor. Potential clients and visitors would stop and think if the place was the correct one they were looking for or had stumbled upon a refugee camp of some sort. Good customer service starts with the reception room and is critical in providing a first and lasting impression for any business or commercial establishment. It is the first stage in impressing a potential client or customer – or a reason to bring their business elsewhere.
It is the responsibility of the property manager to ensure the aesthetic qualities of the reception area as well as other areas in a business establishment or building. One of the critical areas to consider as priority is the flooring. Most buildings and establishments prefer the use of carpets and rugs. Carpets for commercial purposes have actually counted for more than 50 percent of carpets sales. Carpets can introduce a wide selection of colors, textures and schemes that would complement a building’s design and enhance its beauty. Aside from that, carpets act as natural insulators that provide warmth during cold months. Carpets also have acoustic properties that can absorb and control noise within the building.
Since most businesses select carpets as their flooring of choice, property managers should be aware and knowledgeable of the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures for carpets. Commercial carpets are subjected to more human traffic than residential units and are more prone to wear, tear and damage. Without a proper cleaning and maintenance program, commercial carpets will not last long and the beauty it brings to an establishment will be quickly diminished. The following are some basic guidelines for property managers regarding practical methods for cleaning commercial carpets as well as some practical tips in maintaining and protecting carpets to increase their durability and aesthetic qualities.
If the building or establishment is still in the construction stage, a number of considerations should be taken in choosing the commercial carpets that will be laid out in the reception, the rooms and offices. The amount of expected traffic should be considered in choosing the type and fabrication method for the carpet that will be installed. The higher the traffic, the more durable the material should be. Carpets that are more durable to wear and tear are the frieze, level loop or multi-level loop construction types. These durable carpets would make the job of property managers a lot easier.
However, if property managers are already working on established buildings and commercial properties, they may need to focus more on programmed maintenance for these carpets including routine cleaning and a quick action response procedure for spots and spills. Carpets are the receptacle of all dust, dirt or any other particles brought in by people entering the premises or through the air. Unless this receptacle is cleaned regularly, these particles will continue to build up and eventually end up with a totally worn out carpet. Typical commercial carpets have low-level loop with a high content of synthetic olefin or polypropylene fibers to make it more durable, however it can trap in more soil or dirt, which are more difficult to remove. The embedded soil particles will result in a dull, abraded look on the fibers and the carpet. This is the reason why frequent cleaning of commercial carpets is required.
Carpet Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Large establishments and buildings are owned by conglomerates or multinational corporations and will have the funds and means to include professional cleaning services as part of their property maintenance budgets. However, for smaller businesses owned by small corporations of entrepreneurs, getting the services of professional cleaners may blow their budget out of proportion. Property managers may opt to do their own maintenance services for their facilities including cleaning and maintenance work for their commercial carpets. Under this situation, property managers can employ these basic tips and tricks that even professionals use.
Property managers and their maintenance crew should consider that each cleaning job is different from the next. Although the basic cleaning method and procedures are there, some of the customized work to deal with one particular cleaning situation may not be applicable to another situation. What is important is that the maintenance crew has all the essential tools and cleaning chemicals available for any kind of cleaning job that may be encountered with their carpets. These include detergents, rinsing agents, encapsulation chemicals, agitation tools and oxygen boosters.
The basic cleaning process that should be done regularly for carpets is vacuum cleaning. Regular vacuuming can remove most soils and dirt from the surface and prevent accumulation that will result to difficulty in cleaning and removing later on. As much as possible, do not use liquid carpet shampoos for cleaning. Unless you completely drench the carpet and extract all the water out, the shampoo cannot be completely rinsed out and removed. The result would be a sticky residual layer that can attract more dirt and dust from people. Dry carpet cleaners are preferable and most are commercially available.
If the carpet is old and has accumulated a considerable layer of unrinsed shampoo, this can be cleaned and the old shampoo removed using a shampoo machine. Property managers should invest in such machines for regular use, but if not available, certain units can be rented out. The machine cleans by mixing 1 cup of vinegar in 2½ gallons of warm water. The vinegar acts as an agent that pulls out the old shampoo off the fibers and cleans the carpet just as well. The results will be a soft carpet free of dirt and grime and shampoo residues.
Carpets that are heavily soiled can still be cleaned using a pre-conditioner and a rotary brushing system. The key to cleaning using this method is agitation and the brushes will allow the pre-conditioner to reach the embedded soil. Addition of oxygen boosters to the cleaning solution can dissolve smaller soil particles and can act as mild bleach that will remove the yellowing or graying in the fibers. It is preferred that the solution is warm or heated for better cleaning effect, however there may be some limitations on the available equipment. Rinse the carpet with an encapsulation solution to prevent wicking of the fibers for better vacuuming later on. This will also keep the carpet soft. Another method of agitation cleaning is through the use of bonnet or pad cleaning machines. Used with a good cleaning agent solution, it can clean carpet fibers faster and more effectively.
After cleaning and rinsing the carpet, the next important step is to perform carpet drying. Wet-dry vacuum cleaners would be an effective tool to remove excess moisture from the carpet. Remaining moisture can be air-dried using blowers, or if the area affected is big, use air movers.
Removing Common Stains from Carpets
Probably the most cumbersome problems encountered with commercial carpets are stains coming from food, wine, or even pet “accidents”. A property manager and his crew should be ready and have a contingency plan for spots and spills, whatever the nature is. An important thing to remember when cleaning stains is never to rub the stain. Doing so would spread the stain and will penetrate the inner layers of the fibers. The proper method is blotting using a clean cloth.
Some practical tips in removing food stains is to use shaving cream. Apply it on the affected area but do not rub it in. Allow it to set for at least 15 minutes then rinse with the vinegar and water solution. Stains from red wine can be removed by club soda. Other colored dye stains from drinks and food mixes can be removed with a solution of 30 percent peroxide and 70 percent water. However, the solution should be tested first in an inconspicuous area of the carpet to check for the possible negative reaction of the peroxide to the carpet fibers. Peroxide has bleaching properties and might damage the color of the carpet. If the solution would work well without any problems, apply it to the stained area and let it settle for 30 minutes. Rinse with the vinegar and water solution and repeat if necessary.
Some stubborn food stains can be removed by using brake cleaners. However, do not pour the solution directly into the stained area as it could eat up on the padding adhesive and damage the fibers. Rinse with soap and detergent then use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to dry.
Some products are commercially available that can be used to remove a variety of food stains and stains from oil, grease and ink. These cleaners are used by professional janitorial services to remove such stains. Ink and stains from markers can be removed by applying rubbing alcohol. Blot affected area with a clean cloth damp with alcohol then rinse with detergent and warm water.
Gum and wax can also pose problems for commercial carpets, but there are ways to remove these as well. Gum would be easier to remove if frozen. Put ice cubes on the gum and when hard and frozen can be chipped away using a blunt object. Residues can then be removed by a soft brush and cleaning solution. Wax can be removed by heat, however using this method can damage the fibers particularly if they are not heat resistant. Try it first in some hidden areas. Apply a cloth or paper towel on the affected area before applying a hot iron. Do not use printed materials when removing wax as the ink or dye might transfer to the carpet. A few passes for a couple of seconds will be enough to remove the wax. Remove any residue by using a soft brush.
There are other methods that can be used for whatever situation a property manager can encounter with their commercial carpets. The key thing here is to understand the nature of the problem and apply the proper cleaning method. It does not need to be an expensive deal or a professional service to get commercial carpets clean. Practical tips can do the job quite as well.