Five common carpet care myths

Marianne Wilson
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carpet vacuuming

Cleanliness is the top priority for businesses prepping to reopen. But misinformation around carpet care can lead to confusion: More or less moisture? Regular or occasional cleaning?

To help facility managers and their employees, Whittaker, a provider of low-moisture carpet cleaning, is setting the record straight around five maintenance myths, which are listed below.

1. Use matting seasonally – Preventative maintenance in the form of matting is essential year-round. Some areas of the country experience harsh winters that bring salt, sand and excess moisture into facilities. While snow typically doesn’t impact warmer climates, rainfall can bring muddy and wet shoes indoors and onto carpet. Thus, facilities need matting during all 12 months and must prioritize vacuuming and as-needed matting replacement. 

2. Regular vacuuming is sufficient – While vacuuming is an essential part of every carpet care program, regular interim maintenance helps remove stains and embedded soils. 

According to a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Whittaker in late March among 2,012 U.S. adults, 93% of Americans said dirty carpet with things like stains, animal hair or food residue in a facility would negatively impact their perception of that business/organization. Thus, having a comprehensive carpet care program in place is critical for maintaining customer satisfaction. 

3. Chemistry should always lift stains immediately – While it’s true that high-quality chemistry will have a quick and noticeable effect on certain stains, others may reappear several days after chemistry application. Don’t give up on tough stains like blood, red wine or clay, or assume your chemistry has failed you. In these cases, it’s important to reapply the chemistry and agitate it to lift stains from the carpet pile.  

4. More moisture is more effective – While moisture is an essential component of carpet care, it’s important not to over saturate flooring, as this can lead to mold, mildew, odors and fiber damage. Low-moisture encapsulation uses much less water and allows carpet to dry within 20-30 minutes, making it a more sustainable and productive process.

Additionally, facility managers must understand that the use of certain machines and chemistries may void their manufacturer’s warranty. Thus, they should take a close look at how a machine operates and whether it negatively impacts carpet fibers or warranties. 

5. Overcleaning damages carpet – Some facilities extend the time between vacuuming and interim maintenance to avoid wear and tear. However, if carpet care is done properly, regular and thorough maintenance does not lead to damage. 

Carpet is designed to withstand foot traffic, spills and mechanical agitation for decades. Using an ergonomic, lightweight machine and following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper system and chemistry use, helps extend the lifespan of carpet.

“Misinformation and inadequate training can result in myths that have an impact on the appearance and lifespan of flooring assets,” said Joe Bshero, director of technical services at Whittaker. “Facility managers must ensure that employees understand the steps of proper carpet care and provide workers with the necessary knowledge, machines, tools and chemistry.”