With standard of life improving, more and more commercial establishments and residential buildings opt for carpeted floorings. Carpets bring in luxury, fashion and comfort. They reduce noise levels and also act as a warm covering to the floorings. Various colour options and numerous patterns are available to meet different lifestyles and preferences.
Widely, carpets are categorised as woven and non-woven. Carpets can be made from single or blended and natural or synthetic fibres. Mostly, wool, nylon, polyester and polypropelene materials are used.
A damp carpet develops foul odour. The moisturised carpet will probably contain disease causing organism and it needs special care. We must remember health and safety are very important criteria. Keeping the carpet clean ensures the occupants are living in an environmentally healthy atmosphere. Dirty carpets can have devastating effects. Not only they look terrible, they become breeding ground for disease causing germs and bacteria. It is important for users to know how to take care of the carpets lest they become breeding ground for disease causing germs.
Carpets, especially wall to wall carpets need to be safeguarded from water damage/ dampness and infestation. When it rains, too much water condensation makes the carpet damp. Water soaks into the bottom of the carpet, damaging the backing materials and causes discolouration. There are three main types of backing under – laysfelt, foam and rubber. These are available in various grades & qualities and can be matched to the carpet and the surroundings. By installing proper backing, the carpet could be saved from water damage. This padding is very important, though not visible. When the dampness is too high, the carpet has to be removed and the area dried thoroughly before reinstalling the carpet.
Monsoon carpet care should include four rules:
- A strict vacuuming programme
- Frequent spotting
- Low moisture cleaning
- Restoration cleaning
A strict vacuuming progrmme:
Sand and dirt act like thousands of little razors that cut carpet fibre. Dry soil extraction using upright vacuum or tank vacuum plays an important role. During monsoon heavy, yet unseen soil build up may turn into mud. Dry soil extraction with agitation removes the dirt and prevents the embedding of dirt into the fibres of the carpet.
Vacuuming high traffic areas daily helps to keep the carpets in good shape. For best results, vacuum slowly over an area going back & forth and side to side in parallel rows. About six to eight strokes are needed in high traffic areas. It gives an excellent life time to the carpet.
Stains can be removed quickly and properly by spotting. Solvents work best to dissolve stains, spill, grease, oil, paint, chewing gum, etc. When using the solvent work from outside to the centre, apply the solvent in a cloth and do the cleaning. Ensure that you are not spreading the stain. Pre testing the spotter is a necessity. This will check colour fastness and performance. Variation in fibre material, carpet construction and installation methods often demand specialised chemistry and process.
Low moisture cleaning:
The dry foam shampooing or carpet bonneting methods are generally followed. Using a foam generator, dry foam is created and applied over the carpet. A revolving flat brush does the cleaning. Bonnet pads are used when carpet bonneting is done. Carpets must be thoroughly vacuumed after these processes.
This cleaning helps carpets to sustain appearance. Being low moistured process, drying time, chemical needs and labour is extensively saved.
In yet another dry cleaning method, chemicals are applied in the form of the foam or powder. The dirt is absorbed and when dried they become crystals which is vacuumed using powerful suction. These cleaning practices have some limitation as they lack ability to extract residue and soil from the base of pile.
The most recommended processes used during monsoon are “hot water extraction” and “steam cleaning”.
Hot water extraction using a spray injection extraction machine is the only method classified as deep cleaning. It is capable of removing soil deeply embedded in the pile. The vacuuming process removes the residues and helps remove dampness. Usage of hot water means fast drying time as well.
Increased ventillation, reduced humidity and the usage of air dryers and fans speed up the drying process.
In case of severe rainfall, if the water seeps in and damages the carpets we must find out the root causes for the water seepage and suitable long term solutions must be found.
We must remember indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important factor in protecting the health. Sanitizing the wet carpet using appropriate chemicals can minimise the odour and mildew. After cleaning, keep the area well ventilated for circulation of fresh air. Most emissions dissipate with adequate ventilation. Also, keep the windows open for some time every day. Using a deodoriser in the room to have pleasant fragrance will help.
Though we are aware of basic dos and don’ts of the carpet care, manufacturers may have better knowledge about their products. It would be always advisable to follow the carpet manufacturer’s recommendation.
Keeping the building entrances clean, using sufficient matting prevents the entry of dirt. Let us keep in mind prevention is better than cure.V. Balathandayutham,
Manager-Product Support, Roots Multiclean Ltd