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How to Maintain Carpets in Commercial Buildings

Carpet represents a major investment in a commercial property and as such should be well maintained in order to extend its appearance and lifespan. We all know that regular cleaning is important to help refresh carpets, but how can you ensure that you are doing your best to protect your client’s assets and uphold a standard of cleanliness?

Crank up the vacuum

While vacuuming might be the most obvious step to maintaining carpet, it is also the most important. Dirt transferred from shoes can quickly become embedded in the fibres where traffic is present. Regular vacuuming can lift out that soil and stop it from transferring to the rest of the carpet, causing discolouration. For large areas with different levels of traffic, draw up a schedule outlining how frequently the carpet should be vacuumed. Areas of heavy traffic should be cleaned more often to keep up the appearance of the carpet.

To speed up the process of vacuum cleaning large, heavy traffic areas regularly, consider investing in high powered machines that reduce the amount of back and forth strokes and get the job done quicker. When selecting vacuums; do your research, ask for referrals, do instore trials, get the numbers on wattage, capacity and warranty. Regularly changing filters is also important so make sure that you speak to your supplier about the frequency that this should be completed.

Traffic Location Vacuuming Frequency

Vacuuming Frequency V2

Make the most of mats

Entrance mats can help extend the life of carpets and improve their appearance by capturing dirt that is bought in from the outside world. According to the online cleaning resource CleanLink, between 70-80% of dirt inside a building is tracked in from people’s feet (Zudonyi, 2015). Matting systems extending five metres are now able to remove up to 85-95% of that soil with sophisticated designs that work to actually scrub the soles of shoes clean (Zudonyi, 2015). Utilising a three mat system will provide a good defence against outside soil and help to extend the life of the carpet. Start with a scraper mat first to remove large particles from shoes, followed by a scraper and wiper mat to continue the clean and finish with a straight wiper mat to capture any lasting moisture off shoes (Zudonyi, 2015).

Boost up your carpet’s defence

Protector 5LSpecial products can be sprayed onto new carpets (or those that have just been hot water extraction cleaned) to create a barrier around the fibres and protect them from soil. Agar has developed a product called Protector which, based on Fluoropolymer technology, invisibly seals carpet to stop dirt and stains from penetrating the fibres. Using Protector on carpet allows spillages to be blotted up before stains occur, keeping them fresh and clean.

Spot treat stains immediately

The longer spills are left on the carpet, the more likely they are to cause a permanent stain. The best solution for treating spots is to act quickly to remove it before it sets in. Before you get spotting, you need to work out what the spill is, then refer to the Agar Carpet Spot Removal Guide to find out which spotter is best to use. It’s important to know that while there are some excellent multi-purpose spotters out there (such as Spot Wiz) some stains are best treated with a specifically formulated product. Below is a list of common spills and the products to use to clean them, as well as a guide for how to clean spots. For complete and specific instructions for how to use a product to treat a spot, please view its product data sheets.

Which products to use

Agar has compiled a compact list of spotters, perfect for cleaning contractors, venues and property managers to have on hand in the event of a carpet spill.

Spotter Selection Chart

Carpet Spotter Chart V4For a full guide to Agar’s extended range of spotters, please view the Carpet Spot Removal Guide (you must be logged in to view this guide in the Member’s Area).

How to treat a spill or spot

1. Act quickly

Ninety percent of all spillages can be removed completely if immediate action is taken. If a spilled material reacts chemically with the dye of the carpet a permanent stain will result and the only way to overcome this problem is to use Coffee Stain Remover to bleach the affected area or replace this piece of carpet.

2. Absorb all liquids and vacuum all solids

Absorb spilt liquids with a layer of tissues one centimetre thick or with cloth, paper towels or a clean sponge. Scrape up or vacuum solid soilage before applying spotter.

3. Use lukewarm water

When water is needed, do not use hot water as this may set the stain, making it more difficult to remove.

4. Pre-test

Refer to the Agar Carpet Spotting Chart to help you choose the right product for removing all kinds of stains. Pre-test the spotting chemicals on an inconspicuous section of the carpet to ensure that they will not affect the different colour dyes in the carpet.

5. How to spot clean

Apply small amounts of the spotter and blot stained area. Do not over-wet the carpet as this may leave ring marks and do not rub or brush the pile as this may result in unsightly fuzzing or other distortion. Work from the outer edge towards the centre of the stain and allow the spotter plenty of time to react with the staining material. “Feather” around the area by dabbing the edges more lightly than the centre. After the spotter chemical has released the stain it must be removed from the carpet by absorbing it into a cloth or absorbent paper. Then the area should be rinsed with clean water.

6. Dry the carpet

After thorough blotting, apply a thick layer of dry absorbent material and place a weight on this layer. Allow several hours for the area to dry, or use a fan to dry the cleaned area.

7. Care when using carpet spotters

Some solvent spotters are flammable. Always stop anyone smoking, turn off heaters and pilot lights, turn off the television and open the windows when using solvents. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets. G-Solve can attack latex-backed carpet tiles. Use caution when spot-cleaning carpets with latex or tar backing as these materials may dissolve in the spotter and be carried onto carpet fibres. Use only small amounts of spotter and blot frequently to avoid over-wetting the carpet. Solvent spotters should not be allowed to soak into the backing of any carpet as they may un-glue the secondary backing. Use solvents sparingly.

Don’t Avoid Professional Cleans

Keeping carpet in tip top condition no doubt requires regular professional cleans, but how often and what type of cleaning should you choose?

Full Cleans

Hot Water Extraction (HWE)
Sometimes mistakenly referred to as steam cleaning, HWE is the most popular method of professional cleaning. Providing the deepest clean, HWE can be completed using two different methods. The first option involves filling the machine tank with hot water and carpet cleaning detergent which is sprayed onto the carpet through solution jets at the base of the wand. The solution is then extracted out through the wand with a concentrated vacuum.

The second option is to pre-spray the carpet with a solution of carpet cleaning detergent and water. Once pre-sprayed, plain hot water is sprayed onto the carpet through the HWE machine which effectively cleans and rinses the carpet at the same time. The Australian Standard for carpet cleaning (AS/NZS 3733) recommends the pre-spray method as it minimises detergent residue on the carpet however carpet cleaners need to be careful not to over wet the carpet if using this method.

HWE cleans can take up to 24 hours to completely dry and it is recommended that carpets aren’t walked on while wet. Air movement can help speed up drying time and dispel odours. Carpets must be thoroughly vacuumed before being cleaned.

Maintenance Cleans

The below professional carpet cleaning methods work mainly on the upper fibres of carpet. They tend to use minimal water, making the carpets quicker to dry but are less effective at removing deeper soil. Before you use these methods make sure you vacuum the carpets thoroughly and check with the manufacture’s warranty to ensure that they are permitted.

Bonnet Cleaning/Dry Cleaning

Fast drying, cost effective method best for maintenance cleans, Bonnet Cleaning uses a rotary machine that buffs the carpet with a pad soaked in cleaning product solution.  Doesn’t remove the same amount of soil as the HWE method.


Cap-It-Off 5LA similar method to bonnet cleaning, encapsulation uses a rotary cleaner to work a special carpet cleaning product, Agar’s Cap-It-Off, into the carpet to break down soils and encapsulate them into crystal particles. The dirt now trapped in the crystals can then be vacuumed up. The method uses relatively low amounts of water, dries quickly and is a good choice for maintenance cleans.




Professional Cleaning Frequency

Carpet Cleaning Frequency V2Make sure you create a schedule to keep track of when and where professional cleans are required.


Check the warranty details for your carpet before you begin any cleaning schedule or maintenance work. Some manufacturers may request the use of specific cleaning methods and frequency levels to maintain the warranty. They also might stipulate that other methods, such as bonnet cleaning, are not used or the warranty might be void.

Zudonyi, C, 2015, Mats That Are Necessary For Every Program, CleanLink. Available from: <–18820#sthash.j5l1xnOi.dpuf> [12 May 2016].

Upcoming changes to Agar’s Safety Data Sheets (SDS) & Product Labels

Over the coming year Agar Cleaning Systems will be altering its Hazardous Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and some of its hazardous product labels to comply with the new format called the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

The GHS is an internationally agreed system designed to unify the range of diverse systems of classification and hazard communication currently used throughout the world. Manufacturers and importers of non-retail hazardous chemicals will need to re-classify and re-label them while all SDSs for hazardous products will need to be updated to meet the new requirements.

The GHS is intended to improve international health and safety outcomes through the use of consistent hazardous communication. Product hazards will be communicated through a set of symbols and signal words as well as hazard statements and precautionary statements.

The transition to the new system for hazardous products must be completed by 1 January 2017 in most states of Australia. Over the coming year, Agar will be reclassifying and relabelling some of its hazardous products as well as updating all of its hazardous Safety Data Sheets.

What changes will Agar be making? –GHS SDS

1. Agar will be changing its HAZARDOUS products’ SDS into GHS format and into a new design (pictured right). The non-hazardous products already have the GHS information and Agar will not be changing the design.

2. Hazardous product labels will not change to GHS unless they are on products that will not be sold to retail consumers. The GHS system applies to products that are sold into and used in the workplace only. Products that are sold via retail and distributors will keep the same design as the current labels. i.e., conform with the SUSMP (Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons) which controls labelling of poisons in the retail area. So, for example, Agar will change the labels on Hook Clean and Concrete Clean 200L, but not DLX 5L.

Key Points of the GHS-

What is the GHS?
Set up by the United Nations (UN), the GHS is an internationally unified system for classifying and labelling hazardous products and communicating their associated risks.

What will it affect?
Product classification, product labels and Safety Data Sheets.

When will it take effect?
All hazardous products should be transitioned over to the new GHS by 1 January 2017.

Safe Work Australia, Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Available from: <> [19 November 2015]

15 Tips to reduce cleaning supply expenses fast!

Part of running a profitable business is keeping track of expenses and reviewing practices to ensure that the most effective and economical systems are in place. Companies that rely heavily on cleaning supplies to conduct their business are no exception.

Cleaning products are sold at different prices, levels of quality and performance, and dilution rates – all of which can affect the overall value and return on investment. Similarly, paper products are available in many different systems, and machinery at many different capacities.

In order to decide on the right solutions for your business, these factors must be taken into consideration.  As cleaning is a labour intensive industry, all time saved in the cleaning process can result in a reduction of expenses. Below are 15 tips designed to help you review your cleaning supply expenses and ultimately save money.


1. Tighten toilet paper use

Venues that service a large amount of patrons can find that they are constantly replacing toilet rolls. To minimise the amount of toilet paper used, and the frequency in which the rolls must be replaced, install cut sheet or electronic dispensers. These are designed to minimise the amount of paper each patron takes or receives with some systems claiming to be able to save up to 40% on toilet paper consumption.


2. Use cleaning products with the best overall value

Think cheap cleaning products are just as effective as their more expensive alternatives? Think again. Cleaning products come in all different concentrations with varying active ingredients and levels of performance. Those few dollars you saved up front on a 5L bottle of spray and wipe will quickly disappear if it only dilutes down to half of a slightly more expensive product. Furthermore, it could have less active ingredients and require twice as much product to get the job done, wasting the cleaner’s time and your profits.


3. Get foaming

Double Bubble Cleaning Product
Use Agar’s foaming hand soap, Double Bubble to reduce hand soap usage and costs!

The total cost of hand soap can vary greatly between brands, dispensers and the types of soap. Foaming hand soaps uses a special dispenser to add air to the product. This can reduce the amount of soap required to make one dosage by up to 50% without minimising cleaning effectiveness or product quality. Dispensers with cartridges are generally more expensive to refill due to the increase in packaging costs. Opt for refillable wall dispensers to reduce costs while helping to minimise impact on landfill.


4. Clean more frequently

It has to be said, surfaces that are cleaned more frequently are easier to clean and require less cleaning product and man power to do the job. Give surfaces a quick clean before they get dirty to reduce the need to do a deep clean and save time and money in the long run.


5. Clean properly

If you are paying someone to clean, make sure that they are doing it effectively using the right chemicals, tools and methods, otherwise you might be wasting your money. Make sure staff aren’t just going through the motions of cleaning and are actually reaching the desired outcomes.


6. Decant your own solutions

Purchasing cleaning products prepacked in spray bottles? Swap over to reusable spray and squirt bottles and save! Commercial cleaning product manufacturers offer the cleaning products in 5L and 20L bottles that can easily be decanted into ready-to-use containers. Not only will you save on money but you will also be reducing landfill, associated transport costs and the energy required to make the disposable bottles!


7. Use manual and automatic dispensers

Make diluting products easy, reduce wastage and minimise spills with the Chemi-SAFE!

Don’t leave decanting chemicals up to cleaners without providing them with the tools to do the job. It’s messy, potentially dangerous and often results in money washed down the drain. For sites with a large turnover of chemicals, source automatic dispensers to do the task quickly and effectively. For smaller sites or cleaner’s cupboard, install chemical cages with manual pumps, such as the Agar Chemi-SAFE. It locks cleaning products into place, has instructions for how many pumps are required for each product and task, has a tray to catch any spills and makes diluting products safe and easy!


8. Stick to one product for each task

Harbouring three different products to complete one task? Don’t waste money by purchasing chemicals that aren’t going to be used. Keep your range simple, focusing on one product for each task and multiuse products that can be used for more than one application. This will minimise the amount of products cleaners must decant and carry, and reduce wastage.


9. Use re-usable

Magic Cleaning Product and Spray Bottle
Reusable spray and squirt bottles save on packaging costs and landfill!

The surge of micro-fibre cleaning products on the market has opened up all kinds of possibilities for reusable cloths, mops and more. The cloths are excellent for use in conjunction with Agar’s spray and wipe products and can be easily washed and sanitised instead of thrown away. Using colour coded cloths and mops also minimises cross-contamination and helps cleaners to identify which item to use for each task. Note: Microfibre must be laundered correctly to maintain quality and remove bacteria.


10. Take advantage of horse power

Saving money in the long term can often mean spending more upfront and this is especially true when purchasing cleaning machines. Vacuums, auto-scrubbers, sweepers and carpet cleaners are all available at differing levels of capacity, back-up service and price. Saving on an item in the short term, but sacrificing on a warranty can end up costing you more if, or when, the product breaks down.

Machinery that is undersized or too low in capacity can take much longer to complete a task, slowing down your team and costing you more overall. On the other end of the scale, machinery with excess capacity can be wasted on small sites that don’t take long to clean. Do your research before investing in cleaning machinery. Don’t over-invest or under-invest, look for the most productive option for the size of the site that you have.


11. Stock up – don’t pay delivery

Most suppliers offer free delivery on orders above a certain price. Take advantage of this and order your products in advance, keeping stock of your most frequently used items in storage to make sure you don’t run out in between orders.


12. Have a plan of attack

Cleaning is a labour intensive industry. Any gains made through improving productivity and efficiency can result in big savings over the long term. All cleaning operations should be set out on a schedule, mapping out tasks in order of priority and the amount of time that is required to complete them. Simple strategies such as cleaning from the top to the bottom and doing the floors last, stops cleaners from ‘double handling’.

Regardless of the room, surface or area that must be cleaned, a procedure should be drawn up with a time line for completing each task and the order for which they should be done. Some tasks don’t need to be completed daily. Having a schedule allows for periodical items to be tracked to ensure they are completed when required. Review this schedule regularly and trial alternative systems to see if they improve productivity while maintaining the quality of the clean.


13. Pull the plug on paper

Switch from paper hand towels to hand dryers to save on costs over the long term!

One simple and easy way to save money is to replace paper hand towel dispensers with electronic hand dryers. While the initial cost is more expensive, large savings can be seen over the long term, especially when economic machines are installed that focus on reducing energy consumption. According to Dyson, its AirBlade dB hand dryer costs just $40 per year to run, compared to $157 for older, push button machines and a whopping $1460 for paper hand towel dispensers (Dyson). Furthermore, paper towels also incur the costs associated with the emptying and removal of the bins they are disposed in, not to mention the environmental impact that comes with producing them.


14. Use the correct product for the job

While we previously discussed minimising the range of cleaning products kept on site, it is also important to note that using the correct product for the job can help speed up cleaning and improve productivity. A simple example of this would be using an all-purpose cleaner on heavily soiled tiles that have not been cleaned in a long time. While the all-purpose cleaner may be effective in removing some of the build-up, a specialised tile cleaner such as Agar’s Once Off will do the job much faster and give a better result.


15. Purchase from one supplier or brand

Do you purchase your cleaning chemicals from a range of different suppliers or brands? Consider consolidating them all and purchasing from one single source. This will provide you with stronger buying power and the opportunity to purchase in bulk, potentially saving you money. It also eliminates the need to have multiple wall charts, dispensers and sales representatives to call for advice.



Dyson, Airblade dB hand dryer. Available from: <> [10 October 2015]