Regular Maintenance

Over time any floor gets dirty. A hard (non-textile) floor-covering gets as dirty as carpet and shows it as quickly. In addition, comparative tests have demonstrated that carpeted areas contain as little as half the amount of airborne dust particles as a room with hard flooring.

Soil control

A preventative concept that will keep soiling to a minimum and prevent the build-up of abrasive dirt which can damage the carpet. An effective soil control programme deals with two types of soiling:

Visible soiling

The term used for dirt and grit present on the pile surface. It is this type of soil which creates unattractive contrasts or colour changes.

Deep soiling

The term used for the particles of grit and dust that become embedded in a carpet. In other words, carpets can look clean even when they are not because this dirt is not visible on the surface. It is important to treat deep soiling as these dirt particles will cause damage which will ultimately affect the carpet’s appearance and performance.

The Soiling Process

Soil gets into a carpet in three ways:

  • it is tracked in
  • it is deposited from the air
  • it is spilt

Tracked-in dirt

Tracked-in soil particles are usually very small in size and can be of an oily or sticky nature. When the oily soil content of a carpet starts to build up, it begins to form a sticky film that will bind other dirt. If unchecked, treatment of these oily particles which may represent only 10% of soiling by weight, can eventually account for up to 90% of maintenance costs.

Airborne soil

Airborne soil generally represents about 15% of total soiling. It consists of very small dust particles, volatized oils, emissions, tobacco smoke and other air pollutants such as pollens, human skin flakes and hair. Much of this type of dirt is also oily in nature.


Are localised high concentrations of soiling or staining matter and usually create the most noticeable and unsightly contrasts. When spills occur they are generally in a liquid state. If allowed to dry and penetrate the carpet pile and fibres, they can become stains which may be difficult if not impossible to remove.


Regular vacuuming is the most important component of carpet maintenance. It is the primary means of removing dry soil: the basis of effective soil control.

For best results, upright vacuum cleaners with a roller brush or canister cleaners with a powerhead should be used. The brush action also helps to restore carpet pile appearance in high traffic areas.

Follow these guidelines for effective vacuuming:

  • Select professional equipment that is appropriate to the installation, traffic pattern and volume
  • Use vacuums with fine filters or water scrubbing air filters
  • Adjust the height of the machine setting to suit the pile height of the carpet
  • Vacuum slowly and thoroughly making three to five passes over an area
  • Empty vacuum bags frequently
  • Keep equipment in good repair and maintain an adequate supply of replacement parts

Vacuum techniques

Requirements vary. The maintenance schedule should be divided into two parts: high traffic areas and moderate to light traffic areas.

High traffic areas

Entrances, lobbies, reception areas, lifts and most corridors need special attention. Vacuum daily using equipment with good brush action and high air flow. The use of a two-motor machine in which the vacuum is driven by one motor and the brush by the second motor is recommended.

Moderate to light traffic areas

Conference rooms, offices and storage areas may be vacuumed less frequently, but generally at least every other day. Single motor uprights with a brush action or backpacks are adequate to clean moderate to light traffic areas.


The objective of efficient vacuuming is to collect as many small particles as possible with a high-efficiency filtering system. This will prevent redistribution of fine particles from the carpet into the air contributing to better indoor air quality. Most modern vacuums can effectively remove/collect particles as small as one micron in size. Note, however, that vacuuming will not remove oil-based soils.