This is part three of a three-part article.

As always, when it comes to carpet care, prevention is better than cure. In their ongoing efforts to keep carpets clean, facility managers recognize the need for a good matting program to prevent soil from entering the building. And although they are usually adept at identifying the right type of matting and where to put it, they sometimes fall short when deciding how much matting to use.

“Without adequate matting, the first 30 feet of carpet usually becomes the matting,” notes McGarvey. To avoid this scenario, facilities need approximately 10 to 12 feet of matting — allowing for three or four strides — to adequately clean dirt off shoes and prevent it from entering the building.

And as with carpeting, matting needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.

“One of the mistakes facilities make is they fail to maintain the matting inside and outside,” says Crowe. “Mats need to be rotated and cleaned — mainly by vacuuming them — to remove dirt on a regular basis.”

Whether a facility is maintaining carpets or matting, insufficient vacuuming is still the bane of many cleaning departments.

“A lot of places skip routine vacuuming and vacuum as needed, but in reality, carpets should be vacuumed on a daily basis,” says Bigger. “The reason is, dirt falls down between the particles of the fibers, and some of those dirt particles are abrasive and cut the carpet, causing the carpet to eventually wear out.”

As with any piece of equipment, vacuum cleaners need to be well maintained in order to work effectively.

“One of the biggest mistakes facilities make is failure to maintain their vacuum cleaners,” notes Crowe. “They need to be emptied and the filtration systems need to be serviced regularly, otherwise you’re dragging around an expensive brick that belches out dust and fails to have suction or pickup.”

Just as a poorly maintained vacuum can have a negative impact on the carpet, a neglected carpet can have a negative impact on the equipment used to clean it. Crowe found this out the hard way when his crew’s backpack vacuum cleaners kept shutting down — not because the machines were malfunctioning, but because the carpets were so filthy that the backpacks filled up with dirt too quickly.

“The saying that ‘carpets don’t wear out, they ugly out’ is so true,” admits Crowe. “We replace carpets way too soon, which is bad for the environment, because we don’t invest the money needed to maintain them.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

previous page of this article:
Proper Steps To Clean Carpets