Grooming to Extend Carpet Life and Appearance

Oct. 26, 2012

Seize the benefits of the oft-forgotten strategy of carpet grooming.

The groom is a necessary component in a happy marriage – between you and your carpet. The tool can look like a rake, brush, or comb, depending on the carpet you’re dealing with, and it’s a low-cost solution for lengthening life and looks.

Carpet grooming, sometimes referred to as raking, is typically performed – if at all – immediately after carpet is cleaned. However, many cleaning professionals are unaware of how important grooming is and how often it should be done.

Familiarize yourself with the many benefits of carpet grooming. Ensure that cleaners are utilizing this strategy or enlist your own staff to perform it in-house.

The Impact on Cleaning
Incorporating carpet grooming into your normal maintenance schedule can make interim and deep cleaning more effective, according to Mark Baxter, an engineer with carpet cleaning equipment manufacturer U.S. Products.

“Building managers and owners should view carpet care as a system,” he says. “Carpet grooming is a simple process that should be a key part of any facility’s carpet care program.”

As a groom is raked over the carpet, it pulls up the pile or nap, loosening soil and keeping the yarn of the carpet lifted. As a result, contaminants are removed more easily and effectively with deep cleaning or vacuuming.

Grooming also prevents carpet pathways from developing by lifting up matted areas. “This keeps carpets healthier and looking like new,” Baxter says.

Additionally, the effectiveness of topical treatments is maximized with regular grooming, according to Craig Jasper, first vice president of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

“Pre-sprays or pre-conditioners loosen and soften embedded soil, and to ensure they are distributed evenly on all fibers, we agitate the carpet with a groom,” he explains. “Other sprays, called vacuum enhancers, coat the fibers and don’t allow the soils to stick. Those are best applied with a groom.”

Another topical treatment, referred to as encapsulation, also benefits from grooming. “Encapsulating agents are sprayed and agitated similarly, and they cause soil to agglomerate and clump together so it’s removed more easily,” adds Jasper. “These agents can work on a carpet anywhere from one to six months, and grooming extends their effectiveness.”


  • Loosens carpet soils for easier removal

  • Lifts crushed or matted carpet in high-traffic areas

  • Helps aerate wet carpets so they dry faster

  • Allows better penetration of topical treatments

  • Extends the lifecycle of carpet by years

Grooming even has an impact on indoor air quality. Carpet is designed to hold allergens to keep them out of the air, Jasper explains, and a groomed carpet can hold more allergens than usual and also allow for easier, more effective removal.

Lifecycle and Cost
Discuss the cost of grooming with your cleaning contractor, advises Baxter. “If grooming is performed before and after deep cleaning, typically the cost is figured into overall cost,” he says. “For a small area or walkway, some contractors may not charge an extra fee, but it takes time and effort.”

However, grooming is a simple process to learn, Baxter adds, and can be performed in-house. Grooms are available for direct purchase at janitorial supply stores or through carpet manufacturers for under $25, Jasper says.

This is a low-cost solution with far-reaching benefits. “If a customer waits to groom until the carpet needs cleaning, it takes six months off the life of the carpet,” Jasper estimates. “Effectively removing contaminants with regular cleaning and grooming could easily add three to five years to the life span. I’ve seen cases where the carpet lasted 30 years, and they eventually replaced the carpet not because it was worn out, but because they were sick of it.”

The strategy should not be overlooked, he adds.

“People don’t realize that changing their oil is a low-cost solution that extends a car’s life,” says Jasper. “Grooming is also something that seems very simple but actually makes a tremendous difference.”

Chris Curtland [email protected] is assistant editor of BUILDINGS.

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