Carpet Cleaning Inspection ProcessIn addition to the obvious appearance signs of soil; loose, adhered or impregnated it is necessary to test carpet for Ph and Puddle Test for presence of cleaning solution residue. Carpet fibers are much like straws, hollow tubes, with fiber spun around the exterior. A properly vacuumed carpet will remove the deep down grit and sands that act like sandpaper to erode and to actually cut the fibers of the carpet. If you see a path or traffic lane in a carpet chances are the nap is flattened by soil load or it is thinning as fibers are being sawed off through foot friction moving the abrasive soils present to cut and damage pile.

Vacuuming is the most important maintenance you can perform on carpeting, using the right vacuum appliance is important as well. The sole use of backpack vacuuming reduces the beater bar activity so important to setting pile and dislodging deep grit and hard soils from the backing and base of pile fibers. A vacuum with a dual motor system, top fill design and HEPA filtration. A typical commercial vacuum should be inspected and serviced weekly. A HEPA filter will trap mold, smoke and particulate as small at .03 microns, over time the HEPA will begin to clog and overtax the power plant leading to expensive repairs and replacements. An average vacuum in a commercial setting being u 2 hours per day will most likely require a HEPA replacement every 12-16 months. Failure to replace the filter, inspect and service hoses that are clogged or leak, inspect and keep well maintained belts and drivers will allow you to achieve a high soil extraction, combined with routine carpet spotting will promote less need for shampooing. Frequent emptying of soil chamber/bag will prevent fine particles of soil from backing into filter and reducing vacuum efficiency and life of the HEPA. It is important to remember that vacuums have been designed with greater air velocity in order to compensate for the resistance that HEPA filtration exerts, failure to keep the appliance in peak condition alters the balance of the technology.

The use of single motor cloth bag uprights retrofitted with HEPA-like filtration soil bags are not the most effective and efficient vacuum tool. Very often the cheap impeller fan blades become worn, chipped or broken allowing the “jet aircraft take off noise” to exceed OSHA recommended sound pressure levels (Db) damaging hearing and distracting building occupants.

You made a lot of good points in the presentation that awarded you the cleaning contract by specifying HEPA filtration BUT HAVE YOU EVER CHANGED ONE SINCE?

The practice of bonnet or rotary shampooing is not a favorite or recommended method of carpet care by Premier Facility Solutions. The methodology is damaging to the fibers and the horizontal pressure combined with moisture can stretch carpet backing and eventually separate, ripple and delaminate the bond with the backing and/or the sub-floor. It is everyone’s experience to see carpet seams separating and stray fibers loosened as a result of repeated rotary shampoo methods.

One of the additional drawbacks of rotary shampoo methodology is the rate of absorption and transfer of soils into the yarn pad is approximately 60%, the residual soil and spent detergents fill the hollow tubes of the carpet fibers and become gummy or magnetically charged and sticky, acting like glue traps they begin to attract additional soils from foot and cart wheel traffic. There was once a saying in the cleaning Industry “Wait as long as you can before shampooing new carpet”. The rationale behind this thought is that when a carpet is new all fiber tubes are open and nap is thick and pile is soft. Shampooing at that time was limited to rotary methods and following a shampooing of new carpet the carpet was doomed to never look new again as re-soiling and traffic lane wear would accelerate.

Institutional Professional Housekeeping programs must become stewards of the assets they serve. Being part of the Performance-Q-Base™ Network we have learned that appearance is only part of the end quality. The Best Practices and methods used must be of Green technology and must allow the asset to extend its life to fullest potential and beyond. To that end Premier Facility Solutions includes in its field quality review audits carpeting “Puddle Testing”.

Puddle Testing is a process whereby the carpet fibers are tested for residue and impact on fibers to absorb distilled water. The greater the rate of absorbency the less residual detergents and adhered soils present. For those of you that are aware of my DOI testing of water emulsified floor coatings in which proper maintenance and coatings will increase your clean floor rating, the same is true in carpet inspections. So get out those high efficiency, high lift extractors and latest carpet technology clear water rinsing as much of that detergent saturated carpets and matting segments. Your scores will increase for sure.

Ph Testing will determine the right detergency used and where it was of Green formulation. Most soils are food based and slightly acidic and most carpet cleaners are slightly alkaline. Remember our early topic on Cleaning Chemistry soils break their bond with surfaces as their Ph is altered to a near neutral status (7.0-7.2).

Puddle Testing is a simple process in which a non-ferrous metal ring of approximately three inches in diameter is placed in the traffic lane of a carpeted space. A small volume of distilled water is poured into the ring area. If the fibers are open and free of residue the water will be absorbed within the ring. Carpets that contain higher residues of detergent and soil will not have the capacity to absorb the water allowing the moisture to spread well outside the ring. In the case of residue discovery the area is agitated with a stiff brush to reveal suds and foam, a picture is generated of the process and score adjusted accordingly.

Members of the Performance-Q-Base™ Network are aware that in addition to site appearance scoring, equipment care and inventory controls are part of the review process content.

Hope you have enjoyed your summer and hope to have a full Trilogy Newsletter published September, 2013.

Coming Soon……Trilogy Executives in Appearance Management

John M Moran

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