Universities welcome thousands of students, staff and visitors to their campuses daily. Buildings that have carpet, such as libraries and student centers, must prioritize floor care to maintain their appearance, and the university’s reputation. Thankfully, carpet care in schools does not have to be a rigorous or time-consuming process. With the right chemicals, tools and equipment, facility managers and their cleaning teams can efficiently and effectively clean carpet on a daily or weekly basis.
The Importance of Carpet Care in Universities
For years, research has indicated that failure to uphold cleanliness can negatively impact student success. For example, more than a decade ago, a Brigham Young University study highlighted a correlation between school cleanliness and academic performance among students. The research found that a lack of cleanliness is distracting for students, and that 78% of students report that cleanliness can influence their health. One of the reasons cleanliness is tied to wellbeing is because regular cleaning supports good indoor air quality by eliminating allergens and pollutants.
While it is clear that cleanliness has an impact on the students and staff who are currently on campus, it also affects others. Schools succeed by continually recruiting new students, teachers and administrators from around the world. First impressions matter when these prospects visit, and cleanliness is a large part of this experience.
One of the first things that people notice upon entering a building is the flooring. When the floor is carpeted, research reveals that this carpet must be clean. According to a 2020 survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Whittaker among 2,048 U.S. adults, more than 4 in 5 Americans (82%) would take action after encountering dirty carpet at a college or university’s campus. Nearly half (48%) of those who would take action would also question the college or university’s commitment to the health and safety of those who live and work on campus.
Additionally, of those who would take action after seeing dirty carpet, 47% would notify management of the issue, 42% would assume the campus is not cleaned adequately and more than a third (35%) would tell friends, family or other students about the lapses in cleanliness that they witnessed.
Perhaps one of the most impactful outcomes is the fact that dirty carpet could impact enrollment and endowments. More than one in five of those who would take action (21%) would consider an alternative college or university to attend while 14% would consider donating to an alternative college or university. With many colleges experiencing financial stress, they cannot afford to scare students and staff from their learning institutions in favor of cleaner campuses. Thus, investing in cleanliness is a must.
Enroll in Smarter Approach to Carpet Care
Facility managers can consider the following strategies for their university’s carpet care program:
- Map out your square footage – Determine how much carpet your campus has, and whether any existing or future buildings will be installing carpet. Use this to determine how many personnel and carpet care machines you will need. Machines of varying sizes have different productivity rates. For example, Whittaker’s 15-inch TRIO cleans up to 11,700 square feet per hour, while the 25-inch TRIO handles up to 20,640 square feet per hour.
- Set a carpet cleaning schedule – Setting a schedule and adhering to it is essential if you want to maintain consistently clean carpet. Buildings that see high foot traffic, like libraries, may need daily cleaning. Others may need addressing once per week. Select lightweight, ergonomic machines that employees can easily maneuver, even in areas where students and staff may be present. Technological advancements have allowed manufacturers to develop systems that are similar in operation, size and weight to commercial vacuums.
It is also important to consider at which point in the day this cleaning will take place. Thankfully, with low-moisture machines, you can clean during daytime hours because the carpet is dry within 20-30 minutes, leading to less disruption.
- Train employees to address stains properly – Cleaning teams should be on the lookout for stains so they can address them as quickly as possible. It is important to educate workers on the various stain removal chemistries that they have at their disposal. For instance, some are better suited for removing oil and grease stains, coffee and tea stains or salt stains. Purchasing chemicals with clear, color-coded labels will help employees differentiate one product from another.
Protecting Flooring and your Image
Low-moisture systems are trusted by many universities because they deliver a better clean. Carpet dries faster and upholds its appearance longer because the process does not leave behind sticky residues that can attract dirt. Not only will university carpet care reduce maintenance costs over the long-term, but it will also help schools set the right image among current and prospective students, teachers, researchers and administrators.
Higher education institutions like the University of California, Riverside, Salisbury University and the University of Maryland rely on Whittaker’s carpet care system to keep their flooring looking its best. .