Carpeting sees heavy foot traffic from customers and visitors throughout the year. Facilities that are open 24-7 and those with a large staff can have particularly dirty carpets. Unfortunately, carpets do not wear evenly and the traffic lanes created by tracked dirt and soil can make them look even worse. Facility managers should resolve to prevent carpeting traffic lanes during 2013 and beyond so the building makes the best presentation to everyone crossing the threshold.
Foot traffic is concentrated in entry areas and hallways, causing carpet fibers to become soiled, matted, and exhibit premature wearing. Traffic lanes develop, creating eyesores on carpeting that may be otherwise clean. If dry particulates are regularly removed from carpeting, the facility can avoid periodic intensive cleaning. Identifying foot traffic and developing a plan to handle it are the first steps in preventing traffic lanes.
Facility managers should count foot traffic at each entrance and exit. If more people enter and leave the building via a particular door, more frequent carpet cleaning may be required in this area. The color and type of carpet affect the visibility of traffic lanes. Most commercial carpeting features loop pile olefin but some carpets are made from other fibers that increase visibility of traffic lane patterns.
Protective coatings make carpeting more resistant to soiling and create an easier job for carpet cleaners. Carpet color will either mask or contribute to the issue. After reviewing each aspect of the carpeting and the amount of foot traffic in the area, the focus becomes preventing soiling and the traffic lanes that result. A matting system is the best approach and should include a scraper mat outside the facility, a scraper-wiper mat directly inside the building, and a wiper mat following it.
A matting system should prevent most dirt, debris, and moisture from being tracked into a facility. However, dirt and debris will accumulate in carpet fibers over time and should be removed. Periodic deep cleaning is recommended and should concentrate on traffic lanes that have developed. Commercial cleaning services treat heavily soiled areas with a prespray and use very hot water to break down and remove more dirt.
Deep cleaning is not the end of this process. Facility managers should regularly reassess traffic patterns and adjust their matting systems as necessary. Seasonal weather patterns may require a change in cleaning frequency. By keeping an eye on foot traffic, matting, and cleaning carpets, facility managers can prevent traffic lanes from developing throughout the building.