One area where experts do agree is that interim carpet maintenance is considered very safe. Because minimal water is used, dry time is under an hour, which lessens the chance of a slip or fall. The machines also typically operate at a low decibel level, so hearing protection is not required.

Departments have noticed “green” benefits to interim cleaning, too. The process is advantageous for buildings looking to achieve or maintain a LEED EBOM certification, as it can earn points. Meanwhile, low-moisture systems are considered greener because, as the name implies, they use far less moisture than hot-water extraction.

Costs for the process are hard to nail down due to regional differences in the cost of labor, but Luallen reckons that they range from “five cents a square foot on the low end, up to 25 cents.”

Yeadon notes that chemical costs of “less than a penny per square foot” are similar to the chemical costs for restorative cleaning, but the difference in labor costs are huge.

“In a large building where restorative cleaning is done using portable extractors, productivity levels may drop as low as 400 square feet per hour,” he says. “Interim methods are four to six times as productive.”

Although the debate over the type of equipment and frequency of interim carpet care may continue, there is no question over the benefits. Consistent vacuuming remains the top priority for most departments, but additional interim care can further prolong the life of carpets.

Amy Milshtein is a freelancer based in Portland, Oregon.

previous page of this article:
How Often Should Interim Carpet Maintenance Be Done?