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5 Commercial Carpet Cleaning Processes That Damage Floors

Do you ever worry that a commercial carpet cleaning company will damage your flooring? Learn which cleaning methods to avoid at all costs.

Proper commercial carpet cleaning processes are critical.

As a business owner, you want to avoid costly carpet replacement – and get the most out of your flooring investment.

Hiring a reputable commercial carpet cleaning company to take care of your floors on a regular basis is the best way to steer clear of damage caused by the wrong processes.

Let’s look at the value of reputable professional carpet cleaning services, and then review five commercial carpet cleaning methods that do more harm than good.

5 Commercial carpet cleaning processes to avoid

  1. Over-wetting
  2. Surface-only cleaning
  3. Using harsh chemicals
  4. Leaving residue behind
  5. Over-agitation

A professional approach to commercial carpet cleaning

We’ve been cleaning commercial carpeting and flooring since 1939, so you can bet we’ve seen it all  – everything that can go wrong with carpet cleaning, we’ve been there to clean it up.

Don’t get me wrong, carpet cleaning isn’t rocket science, but it does take an expert, professional approach.

Proper equipment, cleaning solutions and a well-trained technician (with a can-do attitude) are the keys to success.

Benefits of clean carpets

Before we dive into the carpet cleaning processes that can damage the flooring in your commercial space, let’s look at the perks of using a professional commercial carpet cleaning service.

What are the benefits of clean commercial carpets?

The benefits of clean carpets in your commercial space are:

  1. They look nicer.
  2. They last longer.
  3. They reduce employee illness and allergies.
  4. They impress customers.

There are several benefits besides just the “visual” difference between dirty and clean – which is a HUGE advantage.

If you consistently clean the carpeting in your space, it’ll last longer.

Embedded dirt, grit and soil in the carpet act like sandpaper, as heavy traffic travels across the carpet, breaking down the fibers and causing worn traffic patterns.

Plus, having clean carpet is a definite health benefit. Removing bacteria and dust out of carpet reduces workplace illness and allergies. Productivity stays up and employees are healthy. YAY!

5 damaging commercial carpet cleaning processes

Now that you know what’s RIGHT about having your commercial carpet properly cleaned, let’s make sure you’re armed with what processes to avoid during your next search for a carpet cleaner.

You CAN save yourself from damaged carpet.

Here’s what you should avoid if you want to extend the life of your carpets and keep them looking new. Be sure the commercial carpet cleaning provider you hire will NOT be using any of these carpet cleaning methods.

1. Over-wetting carpet

As a rule of thumb, carpeting should dry within four to six hours from the cleaning.

It should never, ever (Did we say NEVER, EVER?) still be wet after 12 hours. Twenty-four hours is even worse, because that’s when the odor kicks in.

Over-wetting the carpet is unhealthy and can cause permanent wrinkles by breaking down the latex (the backing that holds the carpet intact).

The reason 

Carpet becomes over-wet for a few different reasons.

  1. The first one is caused by a truck-mounted cleaning machine that’s not properly maintained. For example, if the service provider doesn’t empty the dump tank, properly clean the filters and use an incorrect amount of PSI (vacuum suction) to extract the water out of the carpet.
  2. Some do-it-yourself machines don’t have enough vacuum power to extract the water and tend to overwet the carpet.

Ask this question

When inquiring about the cleaning service, ask “How long will it take for the carpets to be cleaned and totally dry?”

The answer should be four to six hours. Then, check reviews. If you see bad reviews with the words “wet for 24 hours,” run as fast as you can.

2. Surface-only cleaning

Removing the embedded dirt and debris out of the bottom fibers of the carpet is “muy importante” (Spanish for very important ).

Dirt and debris in the carpet have the same effect as if you rubbed sandpaper on it. It causes the carpet to wear more quickly, and the end result is that the carpet will need to be replaced sooner than later.

It’s also muy importante to remove the bacteria out of the carpet to provide a healthy work environment.

The reason

The embedded soil is not removed from the carpet due to the type of cleaning process used.

For example, dry cleaning or rotary-shampoo processes never remove embedded soil. Or if the carpet cleaning company’s equipment lacks a high-powered vacuum.

The equipment your vendor uses must loosen the soils in order to then extract it from the fibers of the carpet.

Ask this question

“What type of cleaning process do you use?”

If the answer is “truck-mounted cleaning,” you’ve most likely got a winner.

If they say, “We use a dry bonnet cleaning method,” think twice about going with this company.

The reason the truck-mounted (or steam-cleaning method) is the better choice is that 95% of carpet manufacturers recommend this process AND it’s within the warranty requirements.

It’s also the most thorough cleaning method out there.

In some cases, a truck-mounted machine cannot reach a 3rd story floor, for example. In that situation, a portable steam cleaning machine is used and that’s okay.

3. Using harsh chemicals

These are often used to remove stubborn stains, such as grease, tar and gum out of carpet.

But that’s the old school way of cleaning carpet. There are much safer processes for removing those tough stains.

The reason

Even back in the day – before these chemicals were frowned upon – they needed to be used carefully.

A solvent-based cleaner that’s not used properly can absorb into the backing of the carpet, eating away the backing of the carpet. This causes a bubble to form right in the middle of the room.

The good news: The stain is gone.

The bad news: You now have a bubble issue to address.

Ask this question

Don’t be afraid to ask:

  • “What kind of chemicals do you use?”
  • “Are they safe for the environment?”
  • “Is it safe to use with us present during the cleaning?”

If you’re really concerned because yourself or an employee is sensitive to cleaning products, you can request an MSDS sheet (Material Safety Data) that will give you all the info you need to make a decision.

4. Leaving residue behind

Detergents and shampoos (NOT the hair kind! ) are necessary to remove spots, spills and soiling from carpet.

If the detergents aren’t rinsed out of the carpet, they leave behind a slightly sticky residue that becomes a magnet for dirt.

Check out this example:

Debris from shoes and the air collect, causing the carpet to get dirtier more quickly than if the detergent had been completely rinsed out of the carpet.

The reason

Here’s that “vacuum” word again. If a vacuum is not at a high enough PSI (You know that word now, right?), the water and shampoo isn’t fully extracted from the carpet, leaving residue.

Also, some cleaning methods, such as a rotary shampooer – when not used with a truck-mounted steam-cleaning machine – leave A LOT of detergent behind.

So much so that in a week’s time in a busy office, the carpets will be dirty again.

Ask this question

You CAN kill two birds with one stone with this question since it’s asked in #2!

  • “What kind of cleaning process do you use?”

Remember, the correct answer is “truck-mounted” or “steam-cleaning.”

5. Over-agitation

Whoa there, cowboy – keep the aggression down to a minimum!

Over-agitating the carpet can cause two types of damage:

  1. It scratches the fibers, which causes the carpet to appear dull and lifeless.
  2. It untwists the fiber that the carpet manufacturer so carefully twisted together, leaving the fiber worn and frizzy. (Not to be confused with warm and fuzzy! )

The reason

Agitating the carpet both by hand and by machine (such as a rotary carpet cleaner or anything that spins in circles) causes damage to the carpet.

Over-agitating the carpet by hand with a spotting brush can cause the fibers to untwist as well.

There is an art to agitating a spot: It’s cleaning thoroughly yet gently.

Ask this question

Before you ask questions…check reviews, reviews, reviews!

You’ll be able to tell quickly if the commercial carpet cleaning company in question is over-agitating. 

You’ll see reviews saying that the carpet was fuzzy after the company left, the carpets did not appear clean, there was no life to the carpet, or that it was dull.

Or, you can ask this question, which we covered in #2 and #4: “What type of cleaning process do you use?”

The answer? Come on, you know it! (If not, go back to #2 or #4!)

Avoid commercial carpet cleaning damage

What methods do reputable commercial carpet cleaning companies use?

Reputable commercial carpet cleaning companies:

  • Provide cleaning with a reasonable drying time.
  • Deep clean all the way to the bottom fibers.
  • Only use chemicals that are safe for people and the environment.
  • Rinse cleaned carpets thoroughly.
  • Clean thoroughly yet gently.

That’s a wrap.

You know the benefits of clean carpeting, what to avoid, and you know how to get the carpet care you want.

It all boils down to not being afraid to ask the right questions and check out reviews.

And don’t hesitate to call a few local carpet stores and ask for referrals.

Using both these resources will steer you in the right direction.