From spot removers to heavy-duty carpet cleaning machines, the array of carpet care products can be overwhelming. In addition to matching the right product to the right application, carpet maintenance crews need to be proficient at diluting detergents and operating equipment to ensure the appearance and longevity of carpeting.

A preventative maintenance program is paramount; buying carpet care tools and equipment is secondary.

“Most of the time the reason people fail with carpet is because they don’t have a plan,” says Nick Spallone, general manager and owner of Tahoe Supply Co., Carson City, Nev. “They wait until it doesn’t look good, and then they clean it. By that time it’s passed the point of when it should be cleaned.”

Fortunately, end users can rely on jan/san distributors for guidance when implementing a carpet care program, as well as purchasing the necessary chemicals and equipment for all stages of carpet care.

The First Step To Carpet Care Is Vacuuming

Perhaps the single most important purchase building service contractors and custodial departments can make is a vacuum. According to Spallone, a good vacuum can remove more than 90 percent of the soil load in a carpet, making it a critical step in a carpet cleaning program.

Distributors recommend customers buy a vacuum that meets the standards set forth in the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval program for soil removal, dust containment and surface appearance change. Last year, the program also introduced an energy efficiency rating.

“In this day and age we’re trying to be more sustainable,” says Werner Braun, president of the Carpet and Rug Institute. “To have a vacuum that conserves energy and really works is a good deal.”

When it comes to uprights versus backpacks, the industry is still divided.

 “You really need to look at the area being cleaned and the type of work being done,” says Spallone.

Uprights are suitable for long corridors in hotels, for example, while backpacks are appropriate for offices with multiple cubicles. As far as filters are concerned, distributors encourage end users to choose a vacuum with HEPA filtration.

“You want to capture the dust you’re pulling out of the carpet and not release it back into the air,” says Dennis Green, vice president of sales, Acorn Distributors, Indianapolis.

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