In a commercial environment we should consider carpet care as a four step approach which, if carried out systematically, should prolong the life of your carpets and contribute to a healthier indoor environment. These steps are;

Step 1: Controlling Soil

Step 2: Effective Vacuuming

Step 3: Immediate Spotting

Step 4: Periodic Cleaning

Common methods of carpet cleaning 


In areas of high traffic, it can be beneficial to pre-treat the carpet prior to either shampooing or extraction cleaning, which we will cover shortly.

Pre-treatment essentially involves spraying the carpets with a pre-spray solution, which helps loosen the soil and dirt prior to the full cleaning process

1. Vacuum thoroughly

2. Dilute an appropriate pre-spray to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Spray traffic lanes and other heavily soiled areas and allow to soak for 5 – 10 minutes before extracting or shampooing.

4. Don’t forget! if the pre-spray chemical is being used for the first time on the carpet, test for colour fastness before use on an inconspicuous area. Also check that the carpet is securely fitted and for any obvious damage.

Extraction Cleaning

Extraction cleaning is the most thorough and effective method of removing soil from carpets, essentially involving the injection of a cleaning fluid at high pressure, and sometimes high temperatures, into the carpet pile. The soil is then loosened and/or dissolved into the cleaning fluid which is almost immediately vacuumed up again into the extraction machine’s recovery tank. Although extraction cleaning is not a regular maintenance technique, it can prove highly effective if carried out periodically.

Bonnet Buffing [Carpet Skimming]

Bonnet buffing or carpet skimming as it is also known is an easy and versatile technique that can be used to keep carpets clean whilst minimising downtime to traffic lanes.

• Specifically, bonnet buffing is used to remove the soil that is held to the carpet by an oily film, which cannot be removed by vacuuming.

• This method of cleaning can be carried out monthly in low traffic areas and weekly in high traffic lanes, where, if kept up on a regular basis, can keep soil spreading from entrances and traffic lanes to other areas of the carpet.

• As the operation is quick and the drying time very short, no down time of the traffic lanes is required, often an important consideration in deciding on the choice of cleaning procedures.

• The basic bonnet buffing cleaning technique involves the use of a rotary floor machine fitted with a yarn pad or bonnet, which has been immersed in a cleaner solution and wrung out. The cleaner loosens the soil from the carpet and is attracted onto the yarn bonnet, whilst the friction between the bonnet and the carpet aids the drying of the pile. The bonnets are made of a combination of cotton and synthetic yarn to provide both absorbency and high scrubbing action.

Foam Shampooing

Foam shampooing can be an effective cleaning method but can have some disadvantages in terms of machinery and operatives required, as well as downtime in some instances.

There are basically two types of foam shampoo processes, WET and DRY foam shampooing, although both methods involve applying a shampoo solution to the carpet, which must be left to dry completely. The dried foam absorbs dirt and loosened soil, which can then be vacuumed away using a conventional vacuum cleaner.

Rotary [Wet] Shampoo

Wet shampooing, one of the most effective cleaning methods, involves the use of a slow or standard speed rotary floor machine equipped with a solution tank and fitted with a carpet shampoo (nylon) brush, and requires a skilled operator to avoid over-wetting the carpet.

  • Since the carpet will be relatively wetter than when cleaned by other methods, the drying times, and hence downtime, will be longer.
  • This method is best suited for those premises that only have small areas of their floor carpeted, as the same rotary floor machine can then be used throughout the building on both hard and carpeted floors.

Dry Foam Shampoo

Looking now at dry foam shampooing. This carpet cleaning process requires the use of proprietary dry foam shampoo machines, where the shampoo is foamed onto the carpet and brushes work the foam into the carpet pile.

• This method is suitable for large areas of carpet but will not clean heavily soiled areas as effectively as the wet shampoo method.

• However in using the dry foam shampoo method, only about one twentieth of the volume of liquid is applied to the floor than would be in the case of the wet foam shampoo method. The advantages therefore, are that there is less risk of over-wetting and a shorter drying time.