With the heavy traffic of twenty or thirty students using your classroom for seven or eight hours a day, your commercial carpet can begin to show plenty of wear and stains. Dingy carpet affects the cleanliness and appearance of your classroom.
Fortunately, teachers and school can employ some basic strategies to help prevent carpet from becoming stained or looking worn.
1. Choose Carpet Squares
Instead of using commercial rolled berber, opt for carpet tiles instead. These tiles are simple to replace and prevent the need for total flooring replacement because of staining. You can remove the stained tile and replace it with a new one for relatively low cost.
If the school is just being built or remodeled, carpet squares should be a contender as the main preventative measure for long-lasting aesthetic appeal and sound reduction in classrooms.
2. Keep Basic Stain Removal Materials on Hand
You have basic stains from dirty street shoes, but you also have the occasional gum stuck to the carpet fibers, spilled drinks, make-up, blood, vomit, or even ink from exploded pens. These stain removers should be always be in the teacher's cabinet to help deal with these tough carpet-compromising situations:
- Canned air. Canned air is kept under pressure, so when it is sprayed close to the an object at a high concentration, it can actually cause freezing. This works to your advantage when gum is the trouble. Spray the canned air very close to the gum to make it brittle. Then use a metal spoon or even a razor blade to lift the gum more easily from the carpet.
- Hairspray. Hairspray is usually alcohol based and is a good remedy for lightening or removing basic ballpoint ink stains.
- Hydrogen peroxide. While this substance can sometimes stain delicate rugs, commercial dyes are usually color safe. Test it first in an inconspicuous area. Hydrogen peroxide is a good stain remover for spilled liquid foundation and other make-up products.
- Vinegar and baking soda. This classic duo is the go-to basic remover for more food and drink stains. Try this combination first when you're not sure how to approach the stain.
- Salt. Salt helps to lift blood out of carpet fibers.
Teachers should also keep a small container of sawdust on hand. Sawdust is actually the best remedy for vomit. No teacher wants a sick kid, but the smell and liquid can permeate the carpet. Instead of using a towel to clean the floor, it's best to cover the area with sawdust first. The sawdust soaks up the liquid, and you can easily lift the mess off the carpet with a dust pan or wet/dry vac from the custodian closet. Then it's easy to treat whatever is left with regular carpet cleaner.
A commercial carpeting company can also provide you with tougher spot cleaner for really persistent stains.
3. Set the Rules
You can't prevent all stains, but you can alleviate some of the risk by setting some classroom rules. Only allow water for drinks in the classroom. If you have young students, ask parents not to send commonly spilled food items like soup to school for lunch.
If you have older students, you might ban snacks and beverages entirely or make a rule that students must eat within the first five minutes of class time and throw the remainder in the trash. Some students might bring candies or buy popsicles from local convenience stores. Don't allow these in your classroom.
You could also allow snacks, but only "carpet friendly" items like granola bars, apples, or crackers. Students may complain about these rules, but stick to enforcing them and your carpet will thank you.
For more information about carpet maintenance and other tips for installation, contact a flooring contractor in your area.