By Joe Bshero
July 22, 2019
As temperatures rise and more people travel during the summer, places like retail stores, airports, hotels and museums see an influx of building visitors looking for clean and air-conditioned interiors. However, summer also introduces numerous carpet care challenges. As flooring is often the first thing visitors see, it’s important to properly care for carpet by both preventing spills and addressing soils immediately with the right equipment and chemistry.
Keep a watchful eye on carpet to prevent spills and outdoor contaminants from impacting its appearance. Common stains include:
- Beverages: A cold glass of sangria or an iced coffee is the perfect way to cool off on a warm summer day, but if it spills on carpet, a stain is unavoidable. Blot beverage stains with a towel immediately after a spill and use a spotting agent specifically designed to remove wine, coffee and juice stains in a simple one-step application. Add heat to address particularly stubborn beverage stains.
- Food: From condiments like ketchup and mustard to sticky treats like ice cream, there’s an array of food stains to watch out for during the summer. To help food stains vanish, blot the area and use a spotter designed to remove things like oil, grease and dyes. If there’s a carpeted area particularly prone to food stains, treat the carpet with a stain resistant additive.
- Grass: Due to chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives grass its green color, grass stains can soak into carpet fibers. The key to removing grass stains is to address them right away. Blot the area and use a spotting agent that targets tough-to-remove pigments and dyes.
- Mud: Customers’ shoes can bring in mud from outdoor activities and summer storms. If mud is dry, thoroughly vacuum the area and spot clean any leftover stains. If the mud is still wet, absorb the dirt and moisture by blotting the area with towels and apply a spotting agent. Agitate the stain until it is fully removed. To prevent debris from being tracked in, implement a matting program to catch dirt and mud at the door.
- Organic: In the summer, there’s an increased number of foodborne illness cases, pet visits, and trips and falls, resulting in organic stains like blood, vomit and urine. Always wear gloves when dealing with these stains and use an effective organic stain and odor remover for carpet to address soiling caused by bodily fluids. Thoroughly clean brushes after dealing with these types of stains to prevent cross contamination.
- Paint: Some facilities re-paint interiors during the summer, but these projects can result in drips and spills. Avoid this by covering carpet with plastic tarp and tape. If a paint stain occurs, use a water-based ready-to-use formula that is non-flammable. Finish with a spotter that encapsulates residue and vacuum to remove.
- Tar: Construction season and hot parking lots can result in tar, grease and oil being tracked into a building and onto carpet. When tar and grease dries, it becomes difficult to remove, so blot the area while still wet if possible. Use a non-flammable solvent-based formula that targets tough oil and grease stains and follow up with a carpet spotting agent.
In addition to having effective chemistry to remove spots and set-in stains, it’s necessary to have the right tools available. Look for a carpet spotting tool with an adjustable handle to accommodate the needs of different users. The tool should feature two distinct bristle settings—firm for maximum agitation and soft for light agitation. A design incorporating wheels at the end of the brush helps prevent the tool from digging deeper than necessary, which reduces fatigue.
There are also handheld spotting tools that can be used on wool, cut pile and plush carpet. Look for one with chamfered openings instead of bristles to allow it to lift stains through mild agitation of the fibers. With the proper chemistry and tools, your facility can ensure that summer fun doesn’t leave carpet in a state of disrepair.
Joe Bshero is the Product Manager of R.E. Whittaker Co., a family-owned business with over 30 years of experience and the pioneers of the first commercial carpet encapsulation system. For more information about low-moisture encapsulation systems from Whittaker, visit whittakersystem.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.