Maintenance considerations begin with the right choice of carpet. As a general rule, functional requirements should always prevail over aesthetic considerations.
Colour and design can minimise visible evidence of dirt and stains. Very light, very dark and plain colours tend to reveal dirt, while soiling is less apparent on mid-toned, multi-coloured and patterned carpets.
Construction and quality are important. Dirt does not readily penetrate heavy, dense pile whereas a more open structure tends to trap dirt and be more difficult to clean. A dense pile construction is therefore preferable in contract locations. Certain carpet constructions (including backing material) and installation methods may limit subsequent cleaning options.
Fibre choice also affects ease of maintenance. The unique shapes of Invista ANTRON® Legacy and Lumena fibres are the key to their exceptional qualities. Each tiny fibre filament has a convex triangular or square cross section with rounded corners and precisely placed interior channels running along the fibre. Together with their flat, smooth surfaces, these features help reduce entrapment of dirt and diffuse light to minimise the visible effects of soiling thereby contributing to easier, faster cleaning and reduced maintenance costs.
Comparative tests have shown that maintenance costs for carpets made from ANTRON® Legacy and Lumena fibres can be up to 30% lower over an equal period of time due to extended cleaning intervals.
Professional carpet installation according to manufacturer’s recommendations is the key to cleaning efficiency. Carpet requires careful handling when it is wet cleaned. Certain foam backings can act like a sponge. Too much moisture can result in bubbling, delamination, discolouration, mildew and even damage floors. Worse, it may cause shrinkage. These problems should not occur with carpet installed by the direct glue-down method, providing a water-resistant glue is used.
Carpet maintenance begins outside the building. Ideally, car parks, garages and other immediately adjacent exterior areas, should be swept regularly to minimise the amount of tracked-in dirt.
These provide the first protection against tracked-in dirt. There are many types of soiling barriers available which have varying degrees of effectiveness. Grids and mats presuppose people take time to wipe their feet. Roller brushes are highly effective but seldom used due to their relatively high cost. The most widely used technique is barrier of dirt mats at entrances and removable carpets in elevators which help to collect dirt.
The type and amount of soil together with anticipated traffic levels should be taken into account when planning barrier mats. They must be large enough for at least two or three steps to be taken across them before reaching the carpet. They must be vacuumed daily and cleaned frequently so that they themselves do not become a source of soiling. Many specialist suppliers offer customised barrier mat cleaning services.