The soiling of floor coverings is an inevitable fact of life. Whatever the environment, floor covering materials are affected by both contact and airborne soiling. Soiling cannot always be identified easily and, with a pile material like a carpet, hidden soiling can be much greater than the visible soil.
Categories of Soiling
Soil within carpet is categorised as either ‘airborne’ or ‘contact’. Airborne soil is only a minor source of contamination estimated to represent 15% of total soil. Much more important is contact soiling. The majority of contact soiling is foot borne which represents some 80% of soiling by weight. The remaining 5% is caused by spillage and internal soiling distributed within the building.
Types of Soiling
Dry Solids: These vary from dust to granular material and include debris such as fragments of paper, fibres etc. This material can normally be removed by regular vacuum cleaning.
Sticky materials: These include particulates containing oil, grease or other sticky substances which are more difficult to remove and will require periodic professional cleaning, by a local trusted and trained company such as CARPET WIZZARD.
Wet Soil: This is usually associated with entrances and is a combination of dry solids and sticky materials. It is mostly carried into the building on shoe soles on wet days. Because wet soil is borne by the water into the pile, it becomes firmly attached to the fibres and is difficult to remove.
Stains: These represent a small proportion of soiling, but can be highly coloured so that carpets become ’dyed’ as well as soiled. Stains should be dealt with promptly. We at Carpet Wizzard recommend the following:
1. For alcohol, coffee, tea, liquid foods and urine. Blot up surplus spillage. Use just water initially, work from the outer edge of the stain inwards, using a little at a time, blotting up with dry cloths frequently. If this approach has not achieved the results you require we suggest the use of a specialist spotter (available to all Carpet Wizzard customers for FREE).
2. Chocolate, sweets, blood, glue, egg, ice cream, milk, soft drinks and vomit. Scrape up excess with a blunt knife. Here it is very important to use the correct solution or you run the risk of making the stain much worse. Do NOT use shop bought ‘miracle’ carpet cleaning solutions, these often remove the colour from fibres and in some cases can set the stain, making it more difficult for you, or even a professional to deal with. Give Carpet Wizzard a call, we can supply you with the appropriate advice and spotter if required.
3. Solids, fats, tar, chewing gum, oil, ointment and shoe polish. Scrape up excess with a blunt knife. These are extremely difficult to remove. Never rub cleaning products in to a stain such as these. Professional treatment of such stains is highly recommended in these situations.
Intensity of Soiling
Soiling occurs unevenly over the whole surface of a carpet, the intensity of soiling being directly related to the degree of use. Where foot traffic is funnelled into lanes, soiling will be heavy. Protected areas, such as under furniture, will receive little or no foot traffic. Foot traffic, the main form of use on any carpet, can be roughly divided into three categories:
- Heavy traffic – commercial environment: This includes shops, hotels foyers, restaurants, banks, busy corridors and parts of open plan offices, where there is continuous heavy traffic.
Heavy traffic – domestic environment: This includes landings and hallways, and any carpeted rooms in which an entrance is situated.
- Medium traffic – commercial environment: This includes small offices, conference rooms, and less well-used corridors, where there is either continuous moderate traffic or heavy traffic only at peak periods.
Medium traffic – domestic environment: This includes seating areas in main rooms (such as sitting or dining rooms) where there is intermittent heavy traffic.
- Light traffic – commercial environment: This includes hotel bedrooms, private offices, and boardrooms, where the traffic frequency is never high, even at peak periods.
Light traffic – domestic environment: This includes bedrooms and other less frequently used rooms.