Tips for Getting Out of Those Tough SpotsBy Kelly Patterson
Considering all the time and effort housekeeping staffs spend cleaning and maintaining expensive carpet, no one wants to see a spot or stain. Discolored or dirty-looking blotches ruin the appearance of any carpeted area, even if it was just cleaned.
Carpet spots and stains that only take seconds to create can linger in carpet after many scheduled cleanings if they are is not addressed properly. Luckily, housekeeping executives can take care of these big problems in just a few small steps.
The first step to removing a carpet spot is to determine what caused the spot or stain, Ruth Travis, vice president and marketing chairman for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), says. Most commercial and institutional carpet spots and stains are caused by spills, she says. But cleaning professionals should find out if the substance causing the spot is a solid or a liquid because each case requires separate spotting agents.
If its a spill, you want to reliquify it, Travis says. She suggests flushing the area with water before using any carpet-spotting solutions.
Once the carpet is wet, staff should use a clean, white towel to blot up the water, let the water dwell, then blot it up again.
When working with solid substances, Start with dry solid spotters, then go to liquid spotters, Travis says. Once you wet something, you wont have as much success with dry spotters.
When working with tracked-in or spilled grease on carpet, for example, Travis says to use a cleaning agent to dissolve the spot, then emulsify it.
Sometimes you can have a substance that will actually stain the carpet fibers, Travis says. Coffee, Kool-Aid and Jell-O, for example, add color to the fibers and it wont come out.
Most commercial and institutional facilities have stain-resistant carpet, but if a fiber stain occurs, Travis recommends managers hire a carpet-spotting specialist to get the color out of the carpet.
Just as tough to treat as stains are carpet discolorations. Discoloration caused by bleach, for example, actually removes color from the fibers.
Bleach spots are common in hotels because housekeepers often use bleach products in hotel-room bathrooms. Sometimes bleach drips onto carpet outside bathroom areas.
In the case of a stain or discoloration, general cleaning is not going to take care of it, Travis says. She suggests managers use the IICRC referral system or call 800-835-4624 to find certified carpet color specialists by state and cleaning specialty.
If not cleaned properly, carpet spots can get worse overtime. For example, one mistake cleaning staff often make is not rinsing carpet thoroughly after cleaning or spotting carpet.
Just like shampooing your hair, you wet your hair, emulsify it with shampoo, and if you don't rinse it out, its a mess, Travis says. Same with carpet. Youll get a residue that actually attracts soil and makes it worse.
Housekeeping managers should make sure staff is following the instructions on chemical labels and material safety data sheets, diluting the solution properly and rinsing it out completely, she says.
Other carpet spotting blunders include over-agitation and scrubbing, which can fray or braid carpet fibers. Blot. Do not scrub to prevent carpet damage, Travis says.
Also, allowing for proper dwell time is important in removing tough spots and stains. Be patient, Travis says, recognizing that it is challenging for today's cleaning professionals to wait before blotting up spots because of time constraints.
Also, when possible, blot up spills as they occur. The longer a spill sits on carpet, the harder it will be to clean.
Make spotting routine
Just like any other janitorial task within the cleaning operation, it is best to schedule specific times, days and staff for cleaning carpet spots and stains.
Its best to schedule spotting for once a week or every other week, otherwise it gets overwhelming and it is easy to give up, she says.
Every organization has its own special challenges and volumes of people going through buildings, so Travis suggests managers specialize and elect one cleaning worker to do all the carpet spotting.
Have one specialist make it their job and get them the proper training so they understand the chemicals and equipment, Travis says. Because spotting is their job, they will be good at it.
Also, if one person is dedicated to carpet spotting, that person will be able to address spills and other spots immediately.
|Carpet Fibers 101
Housekeeping executives who know how to clean and maintain different types of carpet can help facility managers and administrators specify the right kind of carpet for their organizations.
For cleaning basic carpet spots and stains, follow these steps, provided by Ruth Travis, vice president and marketing chairman for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification: