While carpet cleaning and professional cleaning are viewed as two distinct industries with their own special needs, concerns and interests, they do have many things in common. For instance, at the top of the list, the ultimate goal of both industries is to provide end customers with a healthier, cleaner and more pleasing indoor environment.
Both industries have also become much greener over the past decade. They are selecting products and equipment and incorporating cleaning procedures that have a reduced impact on health and the environment.
And now, a new focus is evolving. Both industries are getting more and more sustainable, and, in some ways, this may take hold in the carpet cleaning industry even faster than in the professional cleaning industry. This is because the carpet cleaning industry tends to use a lot more water, chemicals and electricity. Because of all the traveling carpet cleaning technicians must do, more fuel and petroleum is also used compared to the cleaning industry. Further, many carpet cleaning professionals are fast becoming aware of the fact that being more sustainable can significantly reduce costs for a carpet cleaning company as well as improve efficiency, enhance customer, worker and community relations and prove to be an effective marketing tool to boot.
As a byproduct of this movement, carpet cleaning technicians can also help their end customers — whether it is homes, schools, or offices — become more sustainable. This is because the result of this evolution is a “culture of sustainability,” where, among other things, everyone thinks about how their daily actions and building operations will impact the environment and use of natural resources.
Carpet cleaning technicians may not realize just how easy it can be for them to make their operations more sustainable. Among the possibilities are the following:
Manufacturers in the professional carpet cleaning industry have also taken a number of steps to help the industry become not only greener, but more sustainable. For instance, many chemicals are now green-certified. In most cases, not only do these chemicals have a reduced impact on health and the environment, but they are proving comparable in performance to conventional cleaning agents and do not include ingredients such as petroleum by-products and other natural resources that are not sustainable.
In addition, many of these chemicals now work effectively using cold water. While the use of cold water when cleaning carpets is somewhat controversial, what is not controversial is the fact that heated extractors typically use more fuel and electricity than cold-water systems. Just as using cold-water laundry detergents helps reduce energy needs, using cold-water carpet cleaning chemicals requires less energy and helps promote sustainability.
Low-flow or low-moisture extractors are also making a major contribution to the sustainability of carpet cleaning. For the most part, these systems were originally developed to help carpets dry faster after cleaning. As a side benefit, they often use considerably less water and chemical than conventional extractors, both of which contribute to sustainability significantly.
A final way carpet cleaning technicians can make their businesses more sustainable is to keep their equipment in tip-top condition. Properly working extractors, wands, attachments, etc. will not only make the technician’s job easier, but likely require less energy and chemical, making them more sustainable. And along with proper maintenance, technicians should consider updating and replacing carpet cleaning equipment every five to seven years. Not only will some machines approach the end of their life span during this time, but because manufacturers are placing so much more emphasis on making their equipment greener and more sustainable, newer machines are likely to operate in a leaner and greener manner, which usually means a more sustainable manner as well.
Traditionally, sustainability was defined as using natural resources in a way that usage meets present needs without compromising the needs or capabilities of future generations. Today, sustainability has a broader definition consisting of three key elements often referred to as the triple bottom line: