Periodically I like to get back to the basics of cleaning since we all can benefit from reminders along the way for the steps necessary to clean a facility effectively and safely.

Vacuuming correctly is very important to the life and appearance of carpets and rugs. We will consider different aspects of the tools available to you to use:

The ubiquitous upright vacuum cleaner is not the most productive tool to use for large areas of carpet based on published industry time standards. The cheaper uprights can actually create cleaning issues by increasing dust blow by. Not only does the dust increase labor, it also places your workers and customers at great risk due to the airborne particulates they breath in, especially right after vacuuming has occurred. You also face some ergonomic issues in that the human wrist can be stressed pushing an upright back and forth — especially if it is not be dumped/service on a regular basis. If you are going to use an upright unit, please take the time to test them out being mindful of ease of servicing, HEPA type filtration, side tools, overall suction or lift, type of brushes used and location of the drive belt(s). Note that although twin motor uprights are heavier they also do a much better job of cleaning carpet on one pass.

I am the first to admit that backpack vacuum cleaners are not the answer in every situation. I have seen accounts where the customer insisted on a "brush pattern" in the cut pile carpet to prove that it had been vacuumed. Backpacks can be adapted to utilize a beater bar/brush but it usually defeats the primary benefit of productivity and should not be utilized in most cases. If the customer demands an upright with a beater bar/brush, adjust your time standards to reflect that reality.

Some well-meaning customers may require you to clean a certain way based on past experiences. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or