Carpet Cleaning – What to Include?

Routine Scheduled Carpet Cleaning

Many janitorial contracts will include scheduled carpet cleaning of common areas at least once a year, but preferably quarterly. Multi tenant contracts often have a fixed price per square foot for tenant areas as well as a fixed price for any carpet cleaning that may come up between the contracted carpet cleaning services. Many property managers like being able to offer a discounted carpet cleaning rate to help tenants keep their space looking it’s best and make the carpets last longer. Some property owners will even insist on bi yearly or yearly carpet cleaning in tenant spaces, but this is the exception and not the rule. By negotiating ahead of time the terms and schedule of your carpet cleaning, you can lock in a better price than if you had to call an outside service every time your carpet looks dirty. Since the Janitorial Company is in the building already it creates easy access, and easy scheduling. Also, since the janitorial company is contracted to provide carpet cleaning already they can respond quickly providing an easy solution to any additional requests such as carpet cleaning from leaks or floods that can occur from time to time. By making the Janitorial Company responsible for maintaining the carpet, they have every reason to keep the carpet looking good longer. Carpet cleaning is an important aspect of your routine maintenance and hiring a janitorial service provider who can offer this service as well can save you time and money.

So how do you know if the company you’re interested in hiring has the training and equipment to handle your carpet cleaning requirements? There are a wide range of methods to clean carpet, from a broom and a wet dry vacuum to a $45,000 truck mount machine and everything in between. The questions you ask as you do your initial hiring process can determine if they can properly maintain your carpet. Do they have trained carpet cleaners? Do they have the equipment to handle this, References? During the initial interview did they seem knowledgeable about what it would take to meet your carpet cleaning needs?

Carpet Cleaning Frequency

Frequency is determined by the location, traffic and budget. Common area carpets are obviously the most critical carpeted areas in any building, that and the top executive’s offices. Buildings generate different clientele, a medical clinic will have a different frequency then the editing house next store. Also the size of the common area or lobby can have a lot to do with determining the frequency. High traffic, small lobbies will generate more frequency than a large lobby. Basically the more traffic the more frequency, a good example is elevators. The lobby leading up to the elevator might require quarterly carpet cleaning while the elevators might only last a month. Add in all the variables such as entryways to lobbies and restrooms or warehouse access, add kids such as a preschool and you can see how each facility’s requirements change. It is usually a good ideas to base frequencies on historical data if this information is available to you.

Medical buildings, schools,restaurants , machine shops and Government agencies with high traffic, will all require more frequent carpet cleaning services then your typical bank or standard office building.

Carpet Cleaning Methods

While frequency usually depends on variables such as traffic and budget concerns,The method that is used to clean the type of stains generated is critical when you add the problems of limited access and the amount of traffic stepping on your freshly cleaned carpet. All this can create a real headache. Carpets need time to dry, when they are cleaned using the extraction method. If you have a high volume, very limited time frame of drying time or none at all. Trying to deep clean these areas can turn into a real mess, unfortunately you will unleash stains you never knew existed. While the carpet looked real good when the hard working crew left, it turned into a tapestry of stains hidden deep within the padding that became apparent after the late shift walked across it all night. If you can restrict access to allow this area to dry and the Janitorial company you chose had the foresight to bring in some carpet fans to speed up the process. Then the right course of action should be to surface clean (limited water) or use a dry cleaning method. Even using surface cleaning it’s important to do a deep cleaning on a regular basis.This problem is common in any areas that serve the public with a 24 hour schedule. Such as Police Departments, Hospitals, or any Company that runs multiple shifts or even just a late shift.

Carpet Extraction

Most people know the box unit as it is commonly called, based on what you can rent at your super market without going into much detail. They are basically a dual vacuum, solution spraying extraction machine. The industry standard partly because it’s a work horse, easy to fix, easy to transport and prices are fairly reasonable. Though the high end units can creep up in price rather quickly when they have heating elements. The basic unit is like the old VW of the industry, since they only run one cord out, they are less prone to blow circuit breakers, as the elite box units that have a heater which require dual electrical cords. It takes a person knowledgable about the electrical workings of a particular office to know where to plug in both cords. Many offices have come into work with all their equipment off but the carpets look beautiful because the carpet cleaner blew a circuit. Of course you can have this problem any time you have people running equipment that can draw a lot of electricity. This is the mostly widely used machine to clean carpet.

Rotary Scrubber

This is a floor machine with a tank strapped on it, with a carpet brush installed to scrub the carpet as solution is dispensed on the carpet. This used in conjuction with the extraction machine is the most common and widely used method to deep clean both commercial and residential carpet .The rotary scrubber provides the agitation that the extractor lacks. The down side is the potential for very wet carpet, but when used correctly this method can take care of most carpet needs. The Rotary scrubber can also be used for surface cleaning, with either a dry foam (fast drying) solution, or a absorbent pad that absorbs the stains and dirt. Both have their pluses and minuses. Dry foam tends to blend the stains instead of removing them. With lightly stained or limited drying time this might be the right choice in between deep cleanings. The white pad while absorbent is limited to removing surface stains and needs to be rinsed out or replaced. Both tend to leave swirl marks in the carpet after drying which may or may not be a problem. A trained Tech can eliminate these swirls by using a carpet rake to duplicate the appearance that the extraction machine leaves, which is commonly called the Christmas tree effect. This is simply the wand (Handle) of the extraction unit creating a pattern with the back and forth motion of the wand. This is one of the ways you can tell which method they used to clean your carpet.

Truck Mount

Contrary to this common phrase, they are most always installed in a Van. While limited to first and second story, these units provide a way of cleaning carpet that is isolated from the need for electricity. These units provide industry leading powerful suction and hot water, that is in a class all its own. A very good choice for those locations that have an issue with electrical access or any properties with easy drive up access, retail offices, or residential. The down side is they are limited by the range of hose, usually limited to 2 stories. Access to the building can be compromised by the need for the hoses entering the building, and the sound of the equipment can create a problem in sound sensitive locations. Also if price is a consideration Truck mount carpet services cost more than the two previous methods, rightly so when you take into account the gas required to run this equipment. The rotary machine is commonly used in conjunction with the truck mount also.


This is a relatively new method of carpet cleaning. Basically it requires an encapsulating machine that sprays a chemical solution that is then scrubbed into the carpet. This is different than the usual rotary carpet machine in that the scrubbing brush works like a brush on a regular vacuum cleaner, except without the vacuum of course. The idea is that the special incapsulating solution will adhere to the stains. Once the carpet is dry it will get cleaner when you use a regular vacuum to vacuum up the encapsulated dirt and debris.

What Carpet Cleaning to Include in your Janitorial Contract?

The most important aspect of hiring a good Janitorial Service Provider is to make sure they are experienced in your type of facility, have the carpet cleaning equipment needed to properly maintain your facility, and create a contract for you that encompasses your needs. You will want to negotiate all aspects of the contract up front. Know exactly what frequencies are included and what the cost will be if you need more service than is scheduled. The prices will be their best when you are negotiating. Once the contract has been signed companies are less likely to want to negotiate lower prices. Ask a lot of questions of the companies bidding for your contract. See if their answers match what you expect them to say. If they tell you something that doesn’t seem right do some research and verify for yourself. You can always post questions here and we will tell you our thoughts. Janitorial Contracts can be a big part of your operating budget. Make sure you get the most for your money and always hire a reputable company with good references!

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