In educational facilities, clean living and learning environments are essential for promoting student and staff productivity and wellness. Prioritizing cleanliness can also support recruiting efforts, as students and their families want to know that a school cares about its image and the experience of those on campus.
Carpet care is an important aspect of facility maintenance and should be carefully planned and implemented. If your organization is in the market for a new carpet care system, there are many aspects to consider before buying a carpet cleaner or system. Understanding best practices will help your school in choosing a carpet cleaning system that is well-suited for the various buildings on campus, as well as the staff members who are tasked with cleaning.
Questions to Ask When Buying A Carpet Cleaning System:
To ensure that a carpet care system is well-suited for your facility, consider the following questions:
- What method of cleaning does the machine rely upon?
There is more than one way to clean carpet, so it’s crucial to understand how the carpet care system functions. Increasingly, organizations are turning to low-moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning systems that use very little water to clean carpet. Regularly performing this quick process keeps carpet consistently clean and prolongs the time between more intensive cleaning procedures. With this process, the cleaning agent encapsulates foreign soils in a clear polymer that can easily be removed through regular vacuuming. Unlike other approaches, encapsulation cleaning won’t leave sticky residues on carpet, ensuring that carpet always looks its best.
- What features does the machine incorporate?
First and foremost, a carpet care machine should effectively clean carpet. Check to see if the machine has counter rotating brushes to ensure maximum mechanical action. The brushes will need to lift the carpet pile and agitate the chemistry simultaneously to ensure the greatest clean.
Additionally, the carpet care machine should include features that make staff more productive without sacrificing their health and wellness. To simplify cleaning, the machine should also have an integrated collection hopper for debris pick-up, a machine-mounted solution tank, and lite-touch control. When a machine is easy to operate, this encourages staff to use it properly and regularly.
- What machine sizes are available?
Depending on how many buildings your school oversees and the spaces that need to be cleaned, it’s possible that your organization will need to purchase several machines of varying sizes. Look for a manufacturer that offers carpet care systems in different widths, such as 12, 15, 20 and 25 inches, to accommodate both wide and narrow carpeted spaces. Some manufacturers even offer two- and three-brush machines so that you can truly find the best fit for your budget and facility.
- How quickly will the carpet dry?
Carpet cleaning systems that rely on large volumes of water ultimately require longer drying times. In educational settings with carpet, such as libraries, computer rooms and resource centers, excessive drying times can hinder learning and productivity. Additionally, when carpet sits wet for long periods of time, this can increase the risk of mold and mildew forming within carpet fibers. To drastically reduce carpet wetness and improve turnaround times after cleaning, look for a system that dries carpet in about 20-30 minutes.
- What types of chemistry are available to treat spots and stains?
Select a system that offers high-quality chemistry for daily spotting, interim cleaning and deep cleaning. This will ensure that the products can effectively remove embedded soils and stains to give carpet a top-to-bottom clean. Ideally, the range will offer chemistry specifically formulated for oil and grease stains, salt stains, red food and drink stains and odor and protein stains, such as urine and vomit. Each chemistry label should feature its own unique color to help staff members easily identify the product.
- Does the system have any certifications?
Rather than just taking the word of the manufacturer that the carpet care system is effective and safe for your flooring, check to see if the manufacturer promotes any industry certifications. Certifications demonstrate that the system or individual components have been tested and approved by reputable third parties. For example, the Carpet and Rug Institute offers a Seal of Approval program for carpet care systems. Additionally, carpet care chemistry can be certified by Green Seal for no VOC’s or harmful chemicals and also WoolSafe Approved, meaning they will not damage wool carpet.
- How is the machine maintained?
Your machine should be reliable and easy to maintain to keep your team as productive as possible. Machines with landing gear help protect the brushes when not in use and brush wear indicators help staff to understand when it is time to install new brushes. The manufacturer should also provide clear instructions about how best to maintain the machine, such as rotating the brushes after each use and flushing out the pump and spray nozzle to avoid clogs.
An Important Consideration
Purchasing a carpet care system for an educational institution is an important decision that will have a lasting impact on flooring for years to come. During the decision-making process, consider the above questions to make sure that the solutions meet your efficacy, efficiency, safety and sustainability needs. By researching carpet cleaners and taking the time to thoroughly vet carpet care systems, you will avoid pitfalls that can occur when the system is not well-matched for the organization and its facility maintenance team.
The right carpet care system can make all the difference in a school environment. Learn more about essentials like our Smart Care® TWIN and TRIO machines and CRYSTAL® Chemistry at www.whittakersystem.com, or contact us at 800.422.7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.