Services & Maintenance: Carpet Care Procedures

By Doug Bradford, LEED AP and Richard Bodo
From the May/June 2015 issue

After nearly 10 years of revisions, the ANSI/IICRC S100 Standard and IICRC R100 Reference Guide for Professional Cleaning of Textile Floor Coverings were published in March 2015. When the process began in 2005, the goal of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) was to create a standard for manufacturers, facility management professionals, technicians, and small businesses alike that could simplify and outline the proper procedures and best practices in textile floor covering cleaning and maintenance. What the IICRC has done with the newly revised S100 is focus not only on the science of cleaning, but the business of cleaning.

The first critical component in programmed carpet maintenance and cleaning is routine vacuuming coupled with rapid response to spots and spills.
The first critical component in programmed carpet maintenance and cleaning is routine vacuuming coupled with rapid response to spots and spills. (Photo: IICRC.)

One of the mistakes that many facility professionals and business owners make is that they do not view their carpet as an asset. Carpets need to be properly maintained to maximize return on investment, and with standards like the S100, there is a process in place to facilitate. When spending money on renovations, facility managers should make sure they have a budget for carpet maintenance. An investment in carpet maintenance program with proper cleaning frequencies can optimize the useful life of this asset.

Carpet is the largest filter in any building. Not having it properly cleaned and maintained can put building occupants in danger. Therefore, facility managers should focus on cleaning carpets for health as well as appearance. The U.S. EPA recently found that, on average, the air in a building is two to five times more polluted than outside air. When one takes into consideration the vast amount of time that most people spend indoors, that is a scary statistic.

What Is The S100?

The ANSI/IICRC S100 describes the procedures, methods, and systems to be followed when performing professional commercial and residential textile floor covering maintenance and cleaning. This Standard does not specifically address the protocols and procedures for restoration or remediation of contaminated textile floor coverings, and no attempt is made to evaluate the strengths or weaknesses of individual cleaning methods or to compare or contrast one method with another.

There are many procedure variations used to build a comprehensive carpet cleaning maintenance system. The S100 provides the tools necessary to understand these separate procedures and their sequential importance in the development of a maintenance plan. The Standard also has a blend of technical and tactical information, including the fundamentals of cleaning chemistry, state of matter, and polarity.

Development Of S100

When the last revision was published in 2011, the Standard was withdrawn shortly after its release by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) due to insufficient documentation. To address this feedback, a new consensus body was developed in February 2013 based on ANSI’s guidelines for a “balanced” committee.

According to ANSI, a balanced committee is made up of materially interested parties (MIPs) within the following three categories.

Producers. These are those individuals or organizations who produce, manufacture, or supply goods and/or services covered in the S100, such as carpet, cushion, and adhesive manufacturers, and cleaning tool, chemical, and equipment manufacturers and retailers.

Users. These are the individuals who will be using the Standard and/or performing the services covered by the Standard such as carpet installers, carpet retailers, architects, and various consumers, such as carpet cleaning firms and facility service providers.

General interest. These parties are those individuals or organizations directly and materially affected by the Standard and otherwise interested in goods and services covered by the Standard, such as academia and government representatives. Once the committee was established, a meeting was convened in February 2013 with these priorities.

  • Develop a standard that is inclusive of all wet and dry cleaning technologies.
  • Develop a standard that is inclusive of both commercial and residential cleaning systems, and recognize the nuances and differences between the two.
  • Increase the focus on the science of cleaning chemistry and floor coverings.
  • Define criteria and methodology for evaluating carpet types, characteristics, and conditions.
  • Establish procedures for appearance retention, soil removal, and indoor environmental air quality.
  • Develop procedural standards for professional carpet and rug maintenance and cleaning in both commercial and residential settings.

After 13 months, the S100 was ready for its 45 day public review in March 2014, and the revised S100 and R100 were published by IICRC in March 2015.

What’s New?

One of the first things that is obviously different with S100, is that the Standard and Reference Guide have been separated. The ANSI Standard includes all trigger language (“shall,” “should”, and in some instances “recommended”) requirements, while the IICRC Reference Guide provides more detail, examples, images, and explanation.

In the past—and unlike any other standards writing body, the IICRC would submit both the Standard and Reference Guide to ANSI for approval. Because ANSI requires all documents to be publicly reviewed, this often added unnecessary time to the review process. Therefore, after consideration and approval by the IICRC Board, all IICRC Standards and Reference Guides will now be separate documents and receive a new nomenclature: “S” for the Standard (S100) and “R” for the Reference Guides (R100).


Another new element in the S100 is the inclusion of “systems” that apply science and procedures to various facility conditions. Because there are so many variations of cleaning procedures available when building a comprehensive carpet cleaning management plan, a chart (see at left) was created to serve as a step-by-step summary guide in developing a customized system to clean any textile floor covering.

The first step identified in the newly-revised S100 for the development of a textile floor covering system is to pre-inspect and gather facts, such as: customer expectations, objectives, condition and location of the carpet, what type of air circulation is present, and budget.

The second step is to apply soil prevention techniques and select the cleaning objectives. For example, choices include routine cleaning to minimize the effects of soiling; interim cleaning for appearance management; or restorative deep cleaning for maximum soil removal.

The third step is to select the methods to be used to extract the soils out of the carpet, such as absorbent pad extraction, dry compound extraction, encapsulation extraction, foam extraction, shampoo extraction or water rinse extraction.

The fourth step is to put all of this information together and develop a system based on the five principles of cleaning (dry soil removal, soil suspension, extraction, grooming, and drying), procedural components, and methods used to achieve desired levels of cleaning. For example, extraction has its own process: vacuum, pre-spray, extract, and dry.

Adjustments of modifications in cleaning specification, intensity, and frequency are likely to affect both short and long-term objectives, so systems will need to be customized as necessary. This is important when discussing how to maintain a facility.

Cleaning Chemistry

Lastly, the revised S100 delves into the fundamentals of cleaning chemistry—state of matter and polarity, both foundational concepts that detergency is based upon. Because not every substance stays in the same state that it is in when cleaned, knowledge in carpet cleaning chemistry is essential for any technician or facility owner. By learning how matter can be changed from one form to another, it will change the way cleaning staff view and perform carpet cleaning.

Knowledge in the laws of attraction is also an important factor in carpet cleaning. Soil removal and polarity as it relates to how solvents (polar and non-polar) may dissolve a substance to aid in spot removal is also discussed within the Standard.


ANSI/IICRC S100 establishes minimum standards for professional on-site cleaning of installed textile floor coverings. In doing so, this standard acknowledges the critical role played by end-users in selecting and maintaining those floor coverings prior to the need for professional cleaning.

Bradford is an industry consultant and has been in the business for 28 years. He is an IICRC-Certified Master Cleaner, Senior Carpet Inspector and has served as Chair of the IICRC S100 for the past nine years. Bradford is an RIA Certified Restorer, as well as the owner of Eco Interior Maintenance, Inc. Bodo is an IICRC-Certified Instructor, Master Textile Cleaner, as well as a writing and voting member of the IICRC S600 Carpet Installation Standard consensus body, and Vice-Chair of the IICRC S100 Carpet Care Standard. He is a USGBC LEED Green Associate and has worked in the industry for 17 years. He is also the director of Training at Kärcher North America.


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