Maintenance

Proper maintenance and care for your carpet preserves and protects it from everyday wear. To ensure the long-life of your floor, Shaw will help you establish a maintenance program and train your staff on proper care methods.

The starting point of a successful maintenance program is selecting a carpet product that meets your specific performance requirements.

Overall, it is important to understand that the performance requirements of the carpet must reflect the performance needs of the space. Your Shaw Contract sales representative will help guide you in selecting the best product for your environment.

Additionally, the warranty of the product should ensure that your investment is protected. The manufacturer should maintain accountability for the entire carpet system from the engineering of the backing and fiber to the actual carpet construction.

Because there is not one single factor that dictates carpet performance, consider these qualities when selecting carpet:



  • Fiber Type: The most common carpet fibers include nylon, polypropylene, polyester and wool. While each can be appropriate for certain applications, the performance characteristics of nylon make it the most common fiber type for commercial applications.
  • Fiber Construction: Variables of fiber construction as it relates to nylon include yarn processing methods, tensile strength and denier (size of yarn). Typically, larger yarn and greater tensile strength yield better performance.
  • Dye Type: Dye type refers to how color is added to yarn. Solution dyed products may be aggressively cleaned to remove stains without damage to color, while yarn dyeing provides more color variance to hide soiling.
  • Color and pattern: The choice of color and pattern goes beyond aesthetic considerations and has a major impact on appearance retention. Darker colors and those similar to the soil common in the region, as well as multi-colored or patterned carpet, will help hide soiling.
  • Backing Type: Backings provide a variety of performance attributes, including pattern match abilities, protection against delamination and edge ravel, superior tuft bind strength, moisture protection, and antimicrobial properties and cushioning. Typically, performance backings with attributes appropriate to the facility's intended use are easier to maintain, provide long-term appearance retention, and offer more comprehensive warranties.
  • Installation: Just as important as selecting the right carpet is choosing qualified installers who are trained in installation methods and equipment, adhesives, floor prep, backings, and seaming methods for your product. Proper installation will ensure the performance of your product.
  • Maintenance: Maintenance is critical for optimal performance. Preventative maintenance, adhering to a well-planned maintenance schedule, and responding quickly to any unforeseen maintenance issues are crucial in protecting your carpet investment.

The carpet maintenance program should be considered part of the buying decision. If proper maintenance is neglected, the carpet appearance will suffer, shortening its useful life and increasing long-term costs. Preventative maintenance and developing a maintenance schedule are the two primary ingredients of performance planning.

Preventative Maintenance: Prevent soil from entering and spreading throughout the building to prolong the life of your carpet and reduce overall maintenance needs. Industry estimates show that removing one pound of soil can cost more than $800, however, the measures below control soil before it enters the space:

  1. Keep outside areas clean: By maintaining a clean exterior, dirt coming in the building will be minimized. Be sure to keep sidewalks and garages clear of dirt and debris.
  2. Use walk-off tiles at entrances: Walk-off tiles should be placed at exterior entrances, as well as in transition areas from hard surface to carpet. Use a course texture tile design to brush soil from shoes in conjunction with a water absorbent tile designed to trap moisture.

Developing a maintenance schedule: Carpet maintenance must be established as a scheduled program, rather than a random series of infrequent cleanings and reactions to soiling conditions. Tailor the design of the program to the amount of traffic and type of soiling, both of which vary by area.

  1. Identify traffic patterns: Assess the building layout, traffic flow and activities held within various areas to identify traffic patterns within the building. Generally, private offices will have light traffic; corridors, conference rooms and classrooms will have medium traffic; and entrances, main hallways and workrooms will have heavy traffic. Airports and entries to public spaces such as hospitals, malls and theatres are considered severe conditions.
  2. Establish a plan: The frequency and method of cleaning should be based on the guidelines below.

Traffic Level Vacuum Spot Removal Hot Water Extraction

Light
  • Private Offices
  • Cubicles
2+ times a week As needed 1 time per year

Medium
  • Shared Offices
  • Interior Hallways
  • Conference Rooms
  • Classrooms
1+ times per day As needed 2 times per year

Heavy
  • General Entrances
  • Main Hallways
  • Break Rooms
  • Work Rooms
  • Mail Rooms
  • Patient Rooms
  • Waiting Rooms
1+ times per day As needed 4 times per year

Severe General Entrances in...
  • Severe Climates
  • Cafeterias
  • Hospital Entries
1+ times per day As needed 12+ times per year


Extra Heavy Traffic Areas and Soiling that Require Frequent Attention
  • Mail Rooms
  • Patient Rooms
  • Waiting Rooms
1+ times per day As needed 12+ times per year

With an appropriate maintenance program in place, the next step is to follow it. An explanation of recommended cleaning methods, and guidelines for each, are listed below.

Vacuum: Vacuuming is the most important element in the maintenance of carpet and overall appearance of the facility. Vacuums are designed to remove dry soil, which accounts for 85 percent of soil tracked into a building. Frequent usage captures dirt at the surface before it settles and becomes more difficult to remove. A quality vacuum is vital to prolonging the life of your carpet. When searching for a vacuum, be sure it is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute Vacuum Cleaning Indoor Air Quality Program.

Interim Cleaning: Interim cleaning may be conducted between extractions to reduce the total number of extractions and renew carpet appearance.

Low Moisture Encapsulation: Low moisture encapsulation systems efficiently improve carpet appearance with limited down time for cleaning and drying. The cleaning agent R2Xtra, or another encapsulating cleaner certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval Program, is applied and mechanically agitated into the carpet pile, allowed to dry, then vacuumed to remove the encapsulated soil. In conjunction with scheduled hot water extraction, the low moisture method helps maintain premium carpet appearance.

Other interim systems: Other methods, such as the bonnet method, provide merely a temporary appearance enhancement because they only absorb at the surface and provide no extraction of deep soil. A spinning bonnet also may damage the pile. Shaw does not recommend the bonnet method.

Hot Water Extraction: Hot water extraction cleans the oily materials that vacuums can't remove, which accounts for 15 percent of all soil. The frequency of hot water extraction should be defined by the maintenance schedule. If the carpet looks dull or dirty between cleanings the frequency should be increased. Proximity to areas with a high content of soil may require more frequent hot water extractions.

Here are steps to follow:

  1. Thoroughly vacuum all carpet.
  2. Apply a traffic lane cleaner such as R2Xtra, or another cleaner certified by the CRI Seal of Approval Program.
  3. Agitate carpet to allow cleaner to penetrate. Allow 10 minutes dwell time.
  4. Extract with an extraction unit that can apply rinse water at a rate greater than one gallon per minute, with sufficient recovery power to avoid over-wetting the carpet. Do not use extraction machines that recycle the water.
  5. Use fans or air movers to decrease drying times.
  6. Do not use cleaning agents containing optical brighteners or silicon-based anti-soil treatments.
  7. Self-contained, walk-behind machines that apply a cleaning solution at a rate balanced with the recovery capability of the machine do not perform as well as a high-performance extractor. These machines should be used as an interim method, supplemented by periodic high-performance cleaning.

Unlike planned maintenance, spot and spill removal is the reaction to an unplanned incident and should always involve immediate action. In general, solids should be gently removed and liquids blotted with a white towel, working from the outer edge of the spill toward the center. Next, apply R2Xtra or another spot cleaner certified by the CRI Seal of Approval Program to the stained area. Agitate with a soft bristle brush (do not scrub) and allow solution to dwell on the carpet for a minimum of 10 minutes. When dry, remove by vacuuming. Wet stains, severe stains, or bodily fluids should be removed by a portable extractor. If this does not fully remove the stain, contact a professional cleaner or follow the recommendations in the chart below.

Adhesive Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Alcoholic Beverages Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Betadine Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Blood Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner. If blood is dry, an ammonia solution may be used.
Butter Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Chewing Gum Freeze, then shatter and vacuum. Clean with a solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Chocolate Clean with ammonia solution. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Coffee Clean with a white vinegar solution or acidic spot cleaner. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Cola Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Cosmetics Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Crayon Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Deicer, Salt Vacuum and blot. Then clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Excrement Blot and clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Food Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Furniture Polish Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Grease Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Ink Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Lipstick Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Milk Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Mustard Clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Nail Polish Clean with polish remover. Then clean with R2Xtra or
another general purpose cleaner.
Paint Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Rust Contact a professional.
Tea Clean with a white vinegar solution or acidic spot cleaner. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner. Then clean R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Toner Vacuum, then clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Unknown Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Urine or Vomit Clean with a white vinegar solution or acidic spot cleaner. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner. Then clean with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Wax Freeze, then shatter and vacuum. Clean with a solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.
Wine Clean with solvent designed for grease removal. Follow with R2Xtra or another general purpose cleaner.



Typical Cleaning Solutions

General Purpose Spotter ½ teaspoon of clear dishwashing detergent per one quart of water.
Vinegar Solution One part vinegar to one part water.
Ammonia Solution One tablespoon ammonia to one cup of water.
Solvent for grease NEVER APPLY DIRECTLY TO CARPET. Apply solvent cleaner to towel and then remove the spot from the carpet.