How To Clean Carpet: The Ultimate Guide To Caring For Commercial Carpet

Commercial carpets can be found in a wide range of spaces, from offices to hospitality suites to healthcare centres. This means there are a variety of ways in which carpet can become unclean, or attract dust and debris.

Ensuring the proper care of your commercial carpet is essential to its durability and longevity. If commercial carpets are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, their lifespan will likely be shortened, therefore businesses will incur a premature and hefty cost of replacing this carpet.

To ensure that your commercial carpet stays in tip top condition, we’ve put together this complete guide to the cleaning process. We look into a variety of different carpet cleaning methods, weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can make an informed decision.

Methods of Cleaning Carpet

Determining the best commercial carpet cleaning method is dependent on a variety of factors, for example, the type of cleaning that you require. Do you need to target stains, or just want to upkeep cleanliness? Or the materials your carpet is made up on.

There are seemingly endless options, from carpet cleaning machines to the more traditional methods. As there is not one single solution to suit all scenarios, we’ll walk you through some of the most popular and effective methods, looking at their features, positives and of course, the negatives too.

Hot Water Extraction

Hot water extraction is a common practice for many professional cleaners. It involves a combination of hot water and professional grade cleaning agents, which are injected into the carpet. The purpose of this solution is to break down stains and any dirt that has accumulated over time.

Once the carpet has been treated, a specialist, high-power vacuum is used to extract the dirt. The force of the vacuum combined with the hot water solution will give the carpet a restored appearance.

The Benefits of Hot Water Extraction Cleaning

  • Very good at targeting stains on carpets
  • One of the most thorough cleaning methods available
  • Breaks down bacteria during the process
  • Leaves less waste after the cleaning process
  • Better for the environment than other methods

The Disadvantages of Hot Water Extraction Cleaning

  • It is a time consuming method of cleaning, taking more time than other options
  • Drying can also take a long time, which means the carpet has to be left untouched
  • If the drying process is done incorrectly, bacteria will grow in the carpet
  • The machinery used for hot water extraction is noisy, and therefore in certain industries, can only be used at certain times

Carpet Shampooing

One of the most traditional methods of cleaning, carpet shampooing is still an incredibly popular cleaning solution due to its simplicity and affordability. As it only requires a carpet cleaning solution and a brush, the costs are easy to be kept at a minimum.

The method starts with the cleaning product being applied to the carpet’s surface, and then spread throughout the carpet fibres with the brush. By spreading the cleaning product, a thorough clean is ensured. After this has taken place, the dirt can be removed simply with a vacuum cleaner.

The Benefits of Shampoo Carpet Cleaning

  • Fast and easy to clean
  • Very low cost
  • Involves very little equipment

The Disadvantages of Shampoo Carpet Cleaning

  • This method can take a long time to dry
  • It is not a very effective method on high pile carpets
  • The wet foam residue can leave the carpet feeling sticky
  • Prone to becoming quickly re-soiled after cleaning

Dry Carpet Cleaning

Also known as compound cleaning, the dry carpet method is a relatively new carpet cleaning solution. It is well regarded for its convenience since there is no drying time required, but also, because it is an effective method of cleaning many carpets.

This process involves a specialist powder which is applied to the carpet, which is then sprayed with a small amount of water. This process facilitates the reaction of the chemicals with the fibres of the carpet, which is what breaks down grime and bacteria. Once this has been applied, the debris can be lifted using a powerful vacuum.

The Benefits of Dry Carpet Cleaning

  • No drying time required with this method
  • Thoroughly cleans within a short time frame
  • Highly recommended for commercial carpet
  • Relatively easy method of cleaning that can be carried out by non-specialists

The Disadvantages of Dry Carpet Cleaning

  • This method uses chemicals which which can be harsh in terms of the carpet, and also as a scent
  • It can also cause build-up of dust
  • Dry carpet cleaning doesn’t provide the same stain reducing effects as other methods

Encapsulation Cleaning

Encapsulation cleaning is an innovative cleaning solution, which in recent years, has become very popular as a commercial cleaning method. Essentially, it dissolves and absorbs dirt particles, which makes it quite a unique method in comparison to others.

Using foam, encapsulation uses detergents which capture (hence the name) dirt particles, and then dry into crystals or a powder. Once this has taken place, it will take around 24 hours before the process is complete. It is designed to be vacuumed following this, however it may take a number of cleans, depending on the quality of your vacuum cleaner.

The Benefits of Encapsulation Cleaning

  • There is less residue left after using this cleaning method
  • Carpets stay cleaner for longer, or are at less risk of immediate re-soiling
  • Minimal amount of water used during this method, meaning no damage to electrical equipment in offices
  • It also requires little time for the carpet to dry

The Disadvantages of Encapsulation Cleaning

  • Thorough vacuuming is required after in order to remove to crystalised dirt
  • It is not suitable for heavily soiled or stained areas

Bonnet Cleaning

Bonnet cleaning is one of the more traditional methods, typically used in commercial cleaning schedules. It is frequently used as it is a low-moisture method of cleaning carpet. To complete bonnet cleaning, it will usually require a ‘spinner machine’ to clean the surface.

Bonnet cleaning is a similar method to hot water extraction, however, it uses different chemicals including bleach or other types of brighteners.

The Benefits of Bonnet Cleaning

  • Limited drying time due to low moisture
  • Tackles high-traffic areas effectively
  • Excellent addition to a cleaning schedule for commercial spaces
  • Cost-effective method of carpet cleaning

The Disadvantages of Bonnet Cleaning

  • Only provides a surface level clean
  • Swirl marks can be left behind
  • The cleaning agents contain brighteners and other dyes
  • Sticky residue is often leftover after cleaning

Commercial Carpet Cleaning and Industries

When it comes to choosing which cleaning method best suits your business, it is worth noting that it largely depends on a range of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The type of carpet you have in your commercial space
  • Resources available to your business
  • The industry or business that you operate

These should inform your decisions, for example, carpets that withstand heavy traffic can only afford to have limited drying time, otherwise they are at risk of quickly becoming re-soiled again. In this case, it is best to select  

Taking this into account, we look at the different things that industries should look out for when selecting their cleaning method:

Carpet Cleaning for Offices

Carpet is a popular choice in many offices as it offers a warm, comfortable working environment. In addition to this, it is easy to maintain and clean. When selecting a carpet cleaning method for offices, there are some crucial factors to consider:

Limited Down Time

Offices and corporate spaces are likely to have people in them every working day, this means that drying time has to be kept to a minimum, to reduce the risk of the carpet being re-soiled and to allow the business to continue as normal.

Cleaning schedules will often take place at night, so then the carpet will be dry in the morning when the employees return to work.

Is your cleaning method conducive to high traffic?

Regardless of the size of an office, there are some spots that have an incredibly high footfall. People are constantly moving across the floor, especially in larger spaces, and there are some areas that people will frequently

When selecting a cleaning method for your corporate space, ensuring that the method will not re-soil and will also offer benefit to high traffic is essential.

The Best Cleaning Methods for Offices

The commercial cleaning methods that require the least down time and will clean high-traffic carpets include:

  • Encapsulation Cleaning
  • Bonnet Cleaning
  • Dry Carpet Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning for Bars & Pubs

Bars and pubs are areas prone to spillages, high traffic and often debris such as food crumbs. For this industry, cleaning methods that provide a ‘deep clean’ are preferable, however, these methods often involve longer drying times due to the use of water.

It becomes difficult to balance ensuring a thorough clean and making sure that customers will be able to return to the pub, without the carpet being sticky or resoiling again instantly.

Factors that should be prioritised for bars and pubs include:

Stain Removal

As stains from alcoholic or fizzy beverages are to be expected on the carpet of pubs, stain removal becomes a priority when looking for a suitable cleaning solution.

Ideally, the method simultaneously be able to target individual stains while also providing a thorough clean for the entire carpet.

Breaking down bacteria

In line with the importance of stain removal, for bars and pubs, the carpets will also gather a lot of dirt and debris, meaning there will be bacteria prevalent throughout. 

As this type of business will have people drinking and often eating daily, it is important to ensure that the cleaning method breaks down the bacteria effectively, as well as removing the aesthetic stains.

Drying Time

It is more complicated for bars and pubs to find a cleaning method that has limited drying time because of their need to ensure that the carpets are thoroughly cleaned.

However, with many pubs and bars being open frequently - some most days, it is important to allow for limited down time, so that customers can return to the bar without the carpet still being damp, sticky or re-soiled immediately.

The Best Cleaning Methods for Pubs and Bars

As stated, it is more complex for pubs and bars as there are multiple, potentially conflicting factors to consider - such as requiring a regular carpet deep clean, but needing a small amount of drying time.

For this, a variety of methods should be employed. This is so that cleanliness can be maintained, while a regular deep clean. The best methods for this are…

For targeting individual stains, break down bacteria and provide a thorough cleaning of a pub carpet when time allows

  • Hot water extraction

For limited use of water and low drying time:

  • Dry Carpet Cleaning
  • Encapsulation

Carpet Cleaning for Hospitality

Restaurants, hotels and hospitality carpets share many of the same factors discussed with pubs and bars. However, with businesses such as hotels, there are constantly streams of guests checking in at all hours, 7 days a week, there is very little time for a thorough clean.

Hospitality and restaurants will also experience spillages regularly, so this needs to be considered too.

Due to these factors, the recommended benefits to look out for in this industry are:

Time saving

To ensure business can continue around the clock, look for a cleaning option that will offer minimal down time is essential to the smooth running of restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.

No Resoiling

As mentioned, with hotels, restaurants and hospitality there is always a constant stream of customers. 

If a cleaning method was selected that had a long drying time, there is a risk that the carpet will quickly become dirty again. This can result in money and time lost through cleaning without the correct amount of time to dry.

The Best Cleaning Methods for Restaurants, Hotels and Hospitality

This industry is a complex one and a mixture and regular schedule is always recommended to ensure the best quality of cleaning.

A variety and schedule including these cleaning methods, notably encapsulation and hot water extraction, could benefit these types of businesses.

  • Encapsulation
  • Hot water extraction
  • Carpet shampooing
  • Bonnet cleaning

Carpet Cleaning for Cinema & Leisure

Cinema and other leisure centres are areas that are specifically designed to attract high numbers. Cinemas are synonymous with popcorn, fizzy drinks, cheesy nachos and sweets - all of which are commonly spilt on the floor, and not easy to clean.

In addition to this, the combination of spillages, long opening hours, heavy traffic means that these types of commercial carpet must be regularly maintained and cleaned. 

The difficult task for the cinema and leisure industry when it comes to carpet, is ensuring that there is time for it.

Combination Cleaning

All of these factors means that it makes sense for cinemas and leisure centres to take a combined approach to tackle the maintenance of this type of carpet.

This means that there will be daily cleaning solutions applied to the floor, with a regular cleaning schedule, to ensure the maintenance of the carpet. However, a deep clean needs to take place once every three months or so, this will allow the carpet to have a longer life.

The Best Cleaning Methods for Cinemas and Leisure

As stated, regular cleaning should take place to keep the carpet clean and well maintained. The best methods for cleaning like this are:

  • Bonnet cleaning
  • Encapsulation cleaning

For deep cleaning, the recommended methods are:

  • Hot water extraction
  • Carpet shampooing

Carpet Cleaning for Healthcare

Carpet is often the preferred flooring option in healthcare facilities such as care-homes. This is because of its plush qualities and surprising health benefits, such as acting as an air-filter and trapping airborne pathogens.

However, this means that it is imperative to clean the carpet for the well-being of the residents and patients. In high-traffic healthcare centres, daily cleaning regimes are required for this reason. However, it is also to maintain the quality and life-span of the carpet.

The difficulty with health care commercial carpet is that there is little downtime, but the carpet must be cleaned regularly. The most important factors to consider in this industry are:

Safety and Optimal Cleanliness

Safety is paramount within institutions such as care homes.

Spillages, for example water or juice, present a slipping hazard. In addition to this, the carpet must be clean to ensure there is no dust, bacteria or similar.

With this, spot cleaning will need to take place as regularly as possible to tackle any potential stains and to ensure longevity of the carpet.

Low drying time

Another issue that care homes face, is that cleaning methods required water and high drying times are not suitable. These kinds of establishments do not have time to wait for cleaning, as they have patients or residents living in the space 24/7.

Another issue when it comes to deep cleaning a healthcare facility’s carpet, is ensuring that there is minimal disruption to the space. For example, moving furniture within a care home could cause confusion among its residents. 

The Best Cleaning Methods for the Healthcare Industry

Taking into consideration the multiple factors that dictate how healthcare commercial carpets should be cleaned, the best options are:

  • Encapsulation
  • Dry Carpet Cleaning

Summary: Commercial Carpet Cleaning

Just to recap and look at the main takeaways from our guide to commercial carpet cleaning.

Choose a method to suit your carpet, space and resources

Choose a method that suits you, but in more than one way. If your business cannot afford the time or does not have the equipment for a certain cleaning method, you should not utilise them.

Find a middle ground between what you have time to do, have the equipment for and will offer a good cleaning solution.

Vacuum your carpet frequently

Among the deep and spot cleaning methods, you need to be ensuring the maintenance of your carpet. A simple vacuum cleaner will offer you this. 

It lifts dirt, bacteria and any other debris that can build up in carpet. This will all help in making your carpet last for as long as possible.

Enlist professional help where you can

We all need to have big, deep cleans sometimes - it’s best to leave this in the hands of a professional if you can afford it. They will be able to provide a thorough and combined cleaning solution, which keeps your carpet clean and healthy.

Depending on the industry and type of carpet you have, you can have this from once a year to once a month. Then, you can focus your attention on upkeep throughout the rest of the year.

If you’re looking for commercial carpets for your business, at Birch Carpets we serve a wide range of industries.