Carpets are one of the most expensive furnishing items in any office or home. Businesses take a lot of time choosing the right colours to fit with office decoration and design. Once the carpet is laid, it can look stunning. But is takes more to keep carpets clean than a run with a vacuum cleaner.
Carpet manufacturers recommend a thorough professional cleaning every six to 12 months. Dirt accumulates over time in a carpet`s pile and may be inaccessible to the most powerful vacuum cleaners. It may be soil and leaves brought in from outdoors, dead insects, or animal hair.
The carpet becomes a home for bacteria. Such dirt poses a serious hazard to employees as they may not be aware of the source of their health problems. They can suffer from asthma, viruses and headaches. Dirty carpets affect the air quality in an office. Even the most powerful air conditioning systems may not improve the air quality.
It is important to choose the correct cleaning method. Exposure to chemicals used in domestic carpet cleaning equipment has been linked to Kawasaki disease in children. Some office carpet cleaning equipment may cause similar problems.
The disease starts as a fever and attacks the immune system. It is believed to originate from common germs that in some circumstances may produce a toxin. This occurs in the presence of stagnant water, or moisture that remains in a carpet pile after cleaning.
If chemical residue is left in the carpet pile, it can easily become soiled again. The biggest hazard is that the carpet is not allowed to dry thoroughly before the office is used again.
Office carpet cleaning methods are the same in principle as those used for cleaning household carpets. The difference is that office carpets are heavier and must sustain greater people traffic over them
The most effective office carpet cleaning method is a professional hot water extraction, also called steam cleaning. Experienced technicians start by vacuuming the carpet with a powerful machine to clear away any excess dirt. Attention should be paid to areas around doors and windows where more dirt may accumulate.
Hot water with dissolved detergent is pumped into the carpet pile at high pressure and immediately removed by a powerful suction system. This is a good cleaning solution for very dirty carpets. It is also of great benefit to asthma sufferers as it removes most dust and mites.
Steam cleaning restores the pile of the carpet. But technicians have to take care not to over wet the carpet. This may distort the lay of the pile and require a long time to dry.
The hot water extraction method is not suitable for carpets made of delicate fibres and some man-made fibres. But these are rarely used in office environments.
Dry cleaning or foam cleaning methods are not thorough enough for office carpets. They do not rinse through the carpet and leave a chemical residue on the surface. However, they may be suitable as an interim cleaning method around heavily used areas, such as water coolers, in between the major six-monthly or annual hot water extraction clean.