The Importance of Pre-Vacuuming

September 15, 2008
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Pre-vacuuming is critical in order to provide our valued clients with carpet that is truly clean and healthy. Professional textile cleaners recognize that the cleaning process must improve the appearance of the carpet in addition to leaving the carpet in the healthiest state possible.

Textile cleaners who are successful in today’s environmentally conscious market strive to reach a higher ethical standard when it comes to the word “clean.” No longer is providing an exceptional cleaning experience good enough; the cleaning process must leave the carpet as healthy as scientifically possible.

This is why professionals follow industry standards. We as a group want to contribute to a cleaner and healthier indoor environment for the client. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification S100 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Carpet Cleaning is the standard for professional carpet cleaners. Textile cleaning is based on science and technical skills.

Education should be a focal point of your business if you truly desire success in the field of textile cleaning. Believe me, it takes a great deal of pride and honor to achieve above-average results when cleaning carpet. Pride and honor you say. That’s correct it is time for our industry to promote the science of cleaning and the importance of education as it relates to following industry standards which assures our clients of top quality work by professionals who care about cleaning for health over appearance related issues. It all comes down to holding yourself to the highest ethical standards and employing the science necessary to achieve superior results. Carpet cleaning and maintenance as it relates to the indoor environment is an integral part of a comprehensive cleaning system that contributes to a cleaner and healthier world. Clients expect carpet cleaning in today’s scientific world to enhance their well being while limiting the environmental footprint left on our natural resources. Our industry is really seeing dramatic changes as it faces the green revolution. Education and cleaning for health is the fuel that drives us as dedicated professionals.

Today now more than ever, pre-vacuuming is emphasized as a key principle when it comes to clean and healthy carpet. The goal of the textile cleaner is to remove any unwanted matter that is foreign to the carpet’s construction. IICRC S100 states “…professionals must locate, identify, contain, remove and properly dispose of unwanted substances from an environment or material.” Dry particulate soil accumulates in the carpet. This dry soil left to build up damages the carpet fiber creating abrasion/shading issues which depletes the carpet life. A heavy soil load present in the carpet can contribute to poor indoor quality.

The IICRC S100 identifies three classifications of soil:
  1. Dry particulates such as sand, quartz, clay, carbon, limestone, feldspar plus animal hair and vegetable fibers.
  2. Animal, mineral and vegetables soils.
  3. Water-soluble soils such as food, soft drinks, etc.



The majority of soil in carpet is dry particulate. To remove dry particulate soil, the choice of vacuum is very important. HEPA vacuums remove dry soil down to a micron without redistributing the soil particulates back into the environment being cleaned.

How about vacuum performance? The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has testing criteria under a voluntary testing program. The program evaluates residential and commercial vacuums that use high efficiency collection systems for soil removal that do not exhaust particulates back into the air. In addition to HEPA filtration, vacuums having excellent velocity or suction and pile agitation are recommended on carpet with a heavy soil load for the best possible removal of soil and various contaminants. Before professionals apply any moisture to a carpet, hair, lint, dust and particulate soils must be removed by vacuuming. Professionals must vacuum carpet extensively in order to achieve carpet that is as clean and healthy as scientifically possible. Professionals should use the best-rated equipment to remove dry soil in carpets. Textile professionals should be aware that pre-vacuuming sets the whole tone of the job. You must have excellent attention to detail; go after the dust and lint around the carpet and in corners. Vacuuming all of the carpet exhibits the desire to do the work correctly and to achieve above average results.

The professional textile cleaner is often asked by the client how often carpet should be vacuumed. The IICRC S100 standard provides a carpet-cleaning frequency chart. The recommended frequency for vacuuming residential carpet with light soil is one time per week. Carpet with general soil and in households with pets and smoking should be vacuumed two to four times per week. Carpet with extreme conditions (e.g. large numbers of occupants, multiple pets) should be vacuumed on a daily basis. Many homeowners are just too busy to adhere to the above guidelines, and more than ever they really rely on the textile cleaner to deep-clean the carpet. This requires vacuuming and adherence to scientific principles for cleaning found in the IICRC S100 for on-location cleaning of textiles.

Remember the importance of vacuuming next time you are on the job. When you clean, please make sure to take additional vacuum passes. That’s the internal pride we should exhibit as true professionals who are dead serious about providing clean and healthy carpet cleaning!

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