Even magic carpets require maintenance

Features, Back of House

It is not a difficult task to take good care of carpets. All it requires is a simple, well planned maintenance programme, and awareness on the part of the user, says Abhay Desai.

The purchase and maintenance of flooring in a commercial environment is a substantial investment for any business.

The popularity of carpets has grown tremendously as restaurants, hotels, offices, and shops, have all been quick to see the benefits of carpeted floors. They offer comfort, noise absorbency, and aesthetic appeal. The cost of carpeting has been reducing due to improved manufacturing technology and decreased maintenance costs.

There is no doubt that it improves the overall appearance of premises but without the correct care, a carpeted floor can add to the problems associated with the building’s maintenance. All it requires is a simple and well planned maintenance programme.

Today there are varieties of manufacturing processes and materials that can be used to construct a carpet, each offering different properties that can affect its performance in use.

A basic understanding of the different types of carpet construction and the fibres used in their manufacture will help to explain and simplify maintenance techniques.

For carpets that are used in a business or non-domestic environment, there are essentially two types, namely, woven and non-woven. Since manufacturers wanted to reduce on production costs, they developed the non-woven carpets which, due to the speedy manufacturing process and relatively lower cost, are now most commonly in use.

Non-woven carpets are either needle punch or fibre bond, the most common being acrylic, nylon, polypropelene, polyester, and wool. In the adjoining table, a star rating system has been used to rate each fibre type against a key range of attributes.

This should help make a more informed choice when choosing a carpet, or understand better any issues you may be experiencing with an existing one.

While building an understanding of carpet maintenance, it is important to have a discussion on the different types of soil that can be present in carpets. Soil can be distinctly categorised into either wet or dry soil, the latter typically accounting for 85-98% of soil in a carpet.

One of the cornerstones of an effective carpet care programme is to minimise the amount of soil that reaches the carpet in the first place, reducing cleaning requirements and wear, and increasing the useful life of the carpet. Most carpets give off an odour when wet, for there are certain organic soils that get trapped in the carpet piles and emit bad odour.

In the case of discoloration, an over-wet carpet at times develops a capillary action which allows residual stains and jute pigments from the carpet to be drawn up to the fibres, giving an impression of an accidental spillage. Correct carpet cleaning programmes can eliminate both the above conditions.

Of the two types of soils that have been discussed earlier, dry soil that is often trafficked in can be easily removed by regular vacuuming. Special carpet cleaning upright vacuum cleaners are available which are efficient and extremely easy to use. Dry foam shampooing is used to remove the soil that is held to the carpet pile and which cannot be removed by simple vacuum.

This cleaning process requires the use of proprietary dry shampoo machines, where the shampoo is foamed onto the carpet and brushes work the foam into the soil. The operation is efficient, drying time is short, and the carpet is left looking fresh, clean, and fragrant.

Injection extraction is the best and most effective method of removing soil from the base of the carpet. It involves the injection of a cleaning fluid at high temperatures into the carpet pile.

The soil is then loosened and dissolved into the cleaning fluid, which is vacuumed up again into the machine tank. This is not a regular maintenance technique and is carried out periodically.

Thus, once you make the investment in carpeting, it is crucial to develop an effective and rigorous cleaning programme to ensure that the carpet maintains both its aesthetic value, and its functionality, in the future.

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