Posted by: rocknrev | October 22, 2009

How Carpet gets Soiled and Some Tips on Keeping them Clean

Soiling is a natural process we might define as “a substance in the wrong place.”  There are basically three ways carpet becomes soiled and each has it’s own cause and remedy.  Paying attention to how your carpet becomes dirty will help you decide on what measures to take to prevent soiling or at least minimize it:

DIRECT SOILING:  usually a food or beverage spill, but includes airborne grease from kitchens or environmental pollution from outside brought in by windows, doors & HVAC.

REMEDY?  Well, short of being extra careful when carrying food or beverage, your best defense is to deal with spills the moment they happen or as soon as possible.   THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS TO GET AS MUCH LIQUID OUR OF THE CARPET AS POSSIBLE!  An easy way to do this is to place several layers of paper towels or clean cotton rags directly on top the spill.  Use your body weight to stand on the towels. This will draw the liquid up out of the carpet.  You may have to do this more than once especially if it was a large spill–some of that liquid will get into the carpet pad below the actual carpet.  It would be nice to say you are done now, but if you can wait an hour or so and repeat this process, you’ll probably find that more of that liquid has “wicked” it way to the top of the carpet. When the towels no longer get wet from you standing on them, it’s time to call a carpet professional so have the area deep-cleaned.  There is always a temptation to use that spray can of carpet spotter you use at home or to grab whatever cleaning chemical is close at hand but it’s really best to have it professionally cleaned.  make sure to tell the person cleaning the area WHAT liquid was spilled if you know–carpet professionals have a wide variety of cleaning chemicals made to remove specific types of stains.

TRANSFER OF SOIL:  This is when dirt is transferred from a soiled surface or object to one that is cleaner.  Good examples would be dirty/muddy shoes and hand-truck or wheelchair wheels.

REMEDY?  Your best defense in keeping dirt out of your  office or building is to have high quality walk-off mats that remove dirt before it gets inside.   It’s also good practice to have your entry and lobby areas vacuumed well as often as possible.  Doing this will help keep dirt from being transferred to other areas.   I’ve had great sucess getting building owners to install walk-off mat carpeting in their elevators as well.  Elevators are notorious fro helping dirt and debris move to upper floors.  If you have elevators in your building, be sure they are vacuumed often as well.

ELECTROSTATIC SOILING:  This happens when electrostatically charged carpet fibers attract airborne particles.

REMEDY?  Keep exterior windows & doors closed to minimize particles entering the building.  Also make sure the vacuum you use has a good filtration system so those dirt particles end up in the vacuum bag—not in the air where they can be attracted to the carpet fibers.

Finally…don’t wait too long between having all your carpet cleaned by a professional at least once per year.  High traffic areas may need more frequent cleaning.  Keeping your carpets nice and clean will extend the life of your carpet and help keep dirt and debris from.


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