It’s fair to say that carpet stain removal is not always an exact science. Buildings install carpet with various color palettes and designs, and there are even different types of carpet construction, including carpet tiles, loop pile and cut pile. Over time, carpet can be marked with numerous spots, from salt and grass to food and beverage to bodily fluid stains. Properly identifying and addressing these stains can further complicate the carpet maintenance process.
Building service contractors (BSCs) that offer carpet care programs are often hired to manage other facility maintenance tasks, such as restroom cleaning, window washing and even landscaping. With so many responsibilities on their plates, BSCs need an easy-to-follow process for keeping carpet clean. Thankfully, the TACT method can serve as a helpful guide for BSCs focused on effectively and efficiently cleaning carpet.
Easy as T-A-C-T
The TACT method is comprised of four factors – temperature, agitation, chemical and time. When one factor is decreased, such as temperature, carpet cleaners must adjust the other factors accordingly, such as by increasing agitation. This keeps the TACT components well balanced and ensures ideal carpet cleaning results.
- Temperature: Temperature can be helpful when carpet is plagued by oily soils. However, other than hot water extraction, many carpet cleaning systems do not incorporate high temperatures, as heat can actually damage some types of carpet and interfere with a chemistry’s cleaning power. Whether using a low-moisture system or a bonnet machine, agitation, chemistry and time have to incrementally increase to offset lower temperatures.
- Agitation: Agitation is such an important process, as it lifts the carpet pile to achieve a thorough clean. Look for a carpet care machine that simultaneously lifts and opens the pile to access residues that settle on the top of carpet fibers, those that have sunk to the bottom and soils caught in between. Without agitation, leftover soils can remain and make carpet appear dirty, even after it’s been cleaned.
- Chemical: Too often, organizations downplay the importance of selecting quality chemistry, which often results in having to re-clean carpet. Matching the right chemistry to the specific soils not only helps to remove set-in stains but helps BSCs avoid callbacks and dissatisfaction. Be sure to look at the cleaning product manufacturer’s instructions to determine how the cleaning solution should be used.
- Time: Allowing chemistry to work to its full potential is called dwell time. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations around dwell time helps BSCs achieve the desired result. In the event that an employee follows dwell time and the product continually leaves carpet looking dirty, it is likely time to reassess the type of chemistry being used. With low-moisture encapsulation systems, the chemistry encapsulates soils as it dries, which are then removed through vacuuming after about a half hour.
The commercial cleaning industry, including building service contractor organizations, witnesses a high volume of staff turnover. Therefore, it’s essential to make training as simple as possible and select equipment that is easy for staff to operate.
A lightweight low-moisture encapsulation machine is ergonomic and simple to use. Look for a manufacturer that offers machines in various widths and two- and three- brush options to accommodate the wide array of spaces that BSCs must service. A low-moisture system is ideal because it allows carpet to dry in less time and returns areas to use in about 30 minutes.
The right chemistry is also key for helping carpet last longer and look cleaner. BSCs should opt for chemistry that is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute and Green Seal, and also WoolSafe approved. Keeping a full range on hand is important. BSCs should have solutions that can remove red food and beverage stains, oil and grease stains and also protein stains that can leave lingering odors if not properly managed. Carpet care is a year-round priority, so chemistry should also address seasonal stains from things such as mud, paint and street and sidewalk salt.
A Helpful Reminder
Carpet care programs do not follow a one-size-fits-all approach, as there are different carpet types and designs and even different stains that BSCs have to tackle. Keeping the TACT rule in mind can be helpful when it’s time to revive the look of carpet. In addition to considering these four factors, it’s also important to have the right equipment and chemistry on hand to easily address set-in stains that can be tough to remove.
However, it’s important for BSCs to go beyond the TACT method when training employees. Managers should make sure that workers know how to properly identify stains, select the right chemistry, operate equipment and maintain it over time. When staff is equipped with this knowledge, BSCs can impress customers with attention to detail regarding carpet care.