VCT Cleaning

VCT Cleaning usually involves floor preperation followed by stripping and waxing the surface. Depending on the condition, most floors can be restored to their original luster.

VCT Cleaning requires patience, expertise, the right finishes, the right equipment and a strict set of procedures. Following these requirements, in the proper sequence, will save you time and money.

ECO-Friendly stripping agents are typically odorless. Many of the finishes have different ranges in price and in quality. Trusting your floor cleaning company is a essential.

If you want to improve the appearance of your VCT call a VCT Cleaning expert. Eco Interior Maintenance. 33 years experience. Locally owned and operated. 301-261-1966

spot on carpet

Sometimes people try to clean spot on carpet that just can not be removed. Recently I was asked to go inspect a spot that no cleaner had been able to remove. Typically this means that the cleaning process performed by the owner of the carpet or the facilities department did not work. Many times multiple cleaning solutions and methods are used that can either set dyes or distort the carpet.

In this case it was something different. Nothing was going to work to clean this spot out because it was not a stain, spot or spill. Take a close look at the picture to the right. What do you see? Take a look at the door. It has a brass kick plate and door push. Now look at the light sourse in the picture to the left. The light is shining off the brass push plate and kick plate. You will never clean a reflection out of the carpet.

Here is another picture below of how it looks from the other direction below:

In this particular case. The condo board member said excessive adhesive under the carpet was coming through. The property manager was complaining about the cleaning job. The cleaner wasted alot of time and could have caused damage to the fibers tring to get it out and the retailer was brought in to look at a manufactures defect who asked, “Who spilled the bleach?”

Morale of the story: Before you try to clean a spot on carpet out, look for shadows and light reflections first. Stand in the way, turn off or cover up light sourses. Often you will be amazed at what just disappears, or what was never even there in the first place.

** see some common questions on how to remove spots from carpet The Carpet & Rug Institute is another resourses: See




Stripping & Waxing Floors

Stripping and Waxing floors and how much it costs?

Many commercial buildings have VCT or Vinyl Composite Tiles in high traffic or heavy use areas. Shoe scuffs, rubber wheels and spills create the need for stripping and waxing floors. The use dictates the cleaning frequency. For instance, an entrance hallway or mail room may need to be mopped daily and a computer cleanroom may only need to be cleaned every 2 weeks. Poor cleaning frequency specifications and mopping procedures, over time, will create the need for the VCT to be restored.

Doing the job correctly takes time, experience, the right equipment and of course the right floor finish.

Preperations include:

Stripping Waxing floors
Stripping & Waxing Floors
  • Prepping the area.
  • Removing existing finish
  • Rincing & Neutralizing the floor
  • Sweeping away any debris
  • Applying finishes properly

Quite often an important step is left out, resulting in the need to redue the whole job. For instance, stripping and waxing floors require through sweeping, vavuuming and drying procedures between steps. One piece of hair, tape or foriegn object can create an ugly focal point. Control of the job from start to finish is mandatory.

Saftey signs to protect from slip and falls.

Safety protocols are of utmost importance. One slip and fall can ruin the profitability of any VCT strip & wax job.. causing an increases in your insurance premiums. Using wet floor signs and caution tape to section off work areas is a must. Carefully thought out time management and scheduling will save you headaches and money.

The Cost of Stripping and Waxing VCT Floors

Most of the time 2 to 3 efficient, experienced strip & wax professionals can take care of 2 to 5 thousand square foot a night. The Cost to do this ranges from 40 cents sq/ft to $2.25 sq/ft. This cost is affected by the type of finish, the condition of the floor, the time that it gets done and the amount of space that needs to be restored.

How often do you need to strip and wax VCT?

Commercial kitchens, entrance & access hallways and cafeterias may need more frequent restorations however every 6-18 months would be normal. Proper moping procedures and maintenance with a 175 rpm swing buffing machine will extend stripping and waxing intervals.

It makes sense to strip and wax VCT with an established business. Ask for pictures and referrals. Call Eco Interior Maintenance for your FREE quote today!

Strip and Wax Floors

Cleaning LVT

Cleaning LVT
Damaged LVT with Joints not staggered properly


Who said that cleaning LVT was easy?

Cleaning LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile can be a challenge. Many cleaning contractors often struggle to maintain it. LVT  is becoming a popular specification by designers and retailers for flooring in homes or offices. Often it is sold to the end user as a “low” or “no” maintenance floor. Truth is all flooring systems need maintenance.

Soil can build up and cause irreversible damage to the wear layer (the top protective layer of the LVT). Furniture legs and tables that are dragged over the surface can cause scratches that can not be removed or easily repaired. It makes sense to make sure the bottom of furniture legs have felt or smooth plastic tabs.

When LVT planks first arrived many manufacturers did not recommend the use of any aftermarket finishes. Today most manufactures recommend specific products that can be used to clean and protect their floors. Maintaining LVT does not have to be expensive.  Typically it will require more than just a mop and a bucket.

Flooring has to be properly specified. The color, type of material and the type of finishes play a part in its use life . If you can not apply a durable protective finish to resilient flooring the end result may be early replacement.

Commercial Tile & Grout Cleaning

tile grout cleaning

Commercial tile & grout requires special care.

We have all walked into a restroom needing tile & grout cleaning that smells like a monkey cage.  This is usually caused by poor maintenance of the tile floor. A professionally maintained tile & grout floor requires a customized plan that includes proper;

  • training
  • equipment & tools
  • cleaning solutions
  • and professional expertise

Soil, oils, detergents and floor finishes get trapped on tiles and in the grout causing unhealthy bio-films to build up on locker room and restroom floors. These bio-films can be breading grounds for odor causing bacteria.

Locker rooms and bathrooms are typically cleaned using detergent-disinfectants. These tile & grout cleaning agents can sometimes be over used or specified incorrectly causing a residual build or damage to the floor.  Steam, mechanical agitation, pressure and aggressive cleaning solutions are often required to remove build-up. Knowing how to apply restorative tile & grout cleaning agents safely, efficiently and effectively takes years of practice.

Fresh mops and frequently changed out mop water is absolutely necessary. Mucky mop water adds to tile surface soiling and grout degradation. Unsealed grout can be porous enough to soak up cleaning chemicals, causing premature damage to the grout. No matter if you are performing tile & grout cleaning daily or doing maintenance restorations, time consuming final rinses are essential to maintaining clean healthy commercial bathrooms and locker rooms.

Don’t waste no time or money …Call ECO Interior Maintenance ..Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland

tile grout cleaningtile grout cleaning tile & grout cleaning

Ripples, Waves, Buckling Carpet

So how did ripples, waves or buckling carpet appear at your home or office?

Carpet ripples, waves and buckling typically are associated with a stretch-in installations over pad. The main reasons they appear are:

  1. Installer does not use a power stretcher during installation. (uses only knee kicker)Carpet Ripple
  2. Carpet was not acclimated in the home or commercial facility before installation
  3. Carpet has padding/cushion that was not installed properly or is the wrong specification
  4. Tack strip/threshold failure because of installation or tack strip specification
  5. Secondary backing latex failure (manufacture related)
  6. Heavy objects rolling or pushed over carpet and pad.
  7. Improper glue use or application (Double glue/direct glue down installations only)
Power Stretcher

A power stretcher is a required tool needed to install a broadloom carpet (12-15 foot wide and comes in a roll). Carpet will on an average stretch 1.5 inches per 12 ft. length. Some installers may be able to get this using a knee kicker however the Carpet and Rug Institute Installation Guidelines require the mandatory use of a power stretcher. Often ripples will appear over time if carpet is not stretched in place, drum tight, during the initial installation. If ripples, waves or buckling appears it can cause delamination of the primary and secondary backing, dimensional stability issues or the necessity to re-stretch the carpet again at a later time.

Carpet Acclimation

According to 9.0 of the commercial & residential CRI 104/105 guidelines, “It is recommended that carpet and installation materials be allowed to acclimate in the installation area for a minimum of 24 hours at a temperature of 65-95oF (18-35oC). Carpet must be adequately protected from soil, dust, moisture and other contaminants. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for acclimation.” This can often be a problem if the carpet is being installed on a really humid day or if it is raining and carpet sits in truck most of day before installation or carpet is cut on driveway then installed.

Carpet padding

If the carpet is too thick, not dense enough or is not installed properly (at least 6 inch offset from carpet seams) carpet ripples, carpet waves or carpet buckles can appear. This again is typically an installation issue. Try to get padding that has at least an 8 lb density and no more than 3/8 inch thick.

Tack-Strip/Transition strips

Tack-strip/Transition strips come in several different shapes and sizes. Some is made for installation over concrete and some for wood. Some is thicker than others. Some accounts for step down levels. An inadequate installation of tack-strip could cause carpet to come loose creating a carpet conducive to rippling, waves or buckling.

Secondary Backing, Heavy Objects or Double glue

There are multiple other ways that ripples, waves or buckling carpet can occur. Most of them are related to installation but occasionally there is not enough latex on the back of the carpet, someone has pushed heavy objects over the carpet or there are glue failures between primary, secondary or double glue down installations.

Fixing Ripples, Waves and Buckling carpet

Fixing carpet ripples, carpet waves or carpet buckling can sometimes be difficult when heavy furniture, polls, vents and corners are in the way. In most cases a professional installer or a repair specialist can fix carpet ripples if they are caught soon enough. Commercial double glue down installations that ripple are not typically fixable. Cost can range from $75 hr to -$300 hr. **Always take pictures and report back to the retailer if you see ripples within the fist year after installation.

Call 410-647-2800 or email Eco Interior Maintenance for more information.

-published by Doug Bradford CEO, LEED AP, SCI

Doug Bradford is one of the founders of Eco Interior Maintenance (DC, N. VA, MD) and Strategic Restoration & Maintenance (Central Florida). With over 30 years experience, some of his accreditation include: USGBC LEED AP, Chairing for 10 years the writing of the ANSI IICRC S100 International Textile Floor Covering Cleaning Standard, Content contributor for the Carpet & Rug Institute, RIA CR, Senior Carpet Inspector, Resilient Inspector and Mold Remediation Technician. He has developed cleaning products that clean, disinfect and protect textiles and hard surfaces for the cleaning industry, has been an instructor, an industry speaker, industry consultant to major corporations & textile manufacturers and has published articles in nationally recognized cleaning magazines.

Senior Living Facility Carpet Care

What is the standard of care for textile floor coverings in senior living facilities?

Senior living facility carpet care protocols are all over the board. It is time to standardize carpet & upholstery cleaning specifications for all those who reside in assisted living health care facilities. Clean pro-actively instead of re-actively.

Senior Living Facility Carpet Care
Dirty Damp Living Condition

As a practicing Senior Carpet Inspector, a Master Cleaner and an industry cleaning consultant I decided dig into this. I have spent years watching different parties try to take the lead in this subject only to see it kicked around by state & government regulators, carpet manufacturers, cleaning franchises, private businesses, real estate investment trusts (REIT’S) and cleaning associations. Who really is responsible for senior living facility carpet care? Are the carpets, upholstery and floors being maintained in a healthy responsible way so that the residents can live comfortably in their most trying years.

None of us are getting any younger and I bet you or someone you know right now is residing in a nursing home, retirement home or assisted living community. With the last of the 28 million “silent generation” (1925-1945) and nearly 72 million “baby boomers” (1945-1964) approaching or past 65, senior living facilities are in demand. No matter if you have an in house cleaning staff or hire an outside service specific cleaning procedures and frequencies should be specified and followed for the health of everyone working or living in that facility.

So why focus on carpet and upholstery maintenance? Simple, because it is one of the things most overlooked when dealing with the sick, disabled or elderly population. Carpet is a very cleanable surface that can provide:

  • insulating warmth,
  • acoustic comfort,
  • slip and fall protection, and
  • assistance in trapping contaminates, soil and spills until they are removed

The problems occur when trapped soil, spills and moisture from food, drinks, tracked in dirt, incontinence issues or bathroom moisture track-off are not properly extracted and dried. This can present many of the components necessary that can cause allergic reactions and enhance the spread of infectious disease. It also can lead to intensify potential health issues in individuals harboring Chronic Immune Disorders, Autoimmune Disease or any number of other debilitating health issues present in occupants in nursing home communities.

There are three types of carpet cleanings that can occur in senior living facilities:

  1. Emergency carpet cleanings from spills or accidents
  2. Customized carpet maintenance of individual rooms requiring higher cleaning frequencies
  3. Scheduled carpet cleanings designed to maintain general appearance & health of common areas

    Carpet Care
    Chemical Dilution Machines

Each of these may require very different carpet cleaning procedures, cleaning solutions and/or cleaning equipment. Many in house staff cleaners wear many hats. Carpet and upholstery cleaning training is often not sufficient. Most would not be able to tell you the difference between sanitizing a surface and disinfecting it, what the dilution ratio is for a cleaning agent or how to properly use the equipment provided.


  • facility service technicians are supplied with a product(s) and a piece of equipment and are asked to “clean it up”.
  • no maintenance schedule or plan exists.
  • no formal training has occurred, opening up the opportunity for unhealthy biofilm build up.

A carpet and upholstery maintenance plan is usually not in place because many assume you should not clean until it looks dirty. Most property managers have never seen a carpet maintenance plan and have little knowledge of what the manufacture cleaning guidelines specify. This is only the beginning of the problem.

Carpet Care
Hot Water Extraction
Carpet Care
Encapsulation/Dry Compound

Why does carpet fail in nursing homes prematurely?

  • vacuuming frequency and/or type of vacuum is not sufficient
  • there is no maintenance program
  • the funds to carpet clean proactively is not budgeted
  • the expertise to do it right is not available on site
  • the equipment is not working or on site
  • carpet cleaning frequency is not specified
  • proper carpet cleaning systems are not specified

Proper maintenance and care for anything requires a plan of action. With no plan, problems can escalate increasing costs and decreasing use life. With no training or “standard of care”, failure is inevitable. The elderly, disabled and those who can not clean for themselves need professional facility cleaners that follow proper cleaning specifications so that the health of the occupants are not negatively effected. Look for future posts on Standards for senior living facility carpet care.

If any senior living facilities are in need of assistance with in house training or customizing carpet and upholstery maintenance plans we are willing to help. We care about all of these residents. Call Eco Interior Maintenance for a free consultation 410-647-2800. We will travel up and down East Coast if needed.

-published by Doug Bradford CEO, LEED AP, SCI

Doug Bradford is one of the founders of Eco Interior Maintenance (DC, N. VA, MD) and Strategic Restoration & Maintenance (Central Florida). With over 30 years experience, some of his accreditation include: USGBC LEED AP, Chairing for 10 years the writing of the ANSI IICRC S100 International Textile Floor Covering Cleaning Standard, Content contributor for the Carpet & Rug Institute, RIA CR, Senior Carpet Inspector, Resilient Inspector and Mold Remediation Technician. He has developed cleaning products that clean, disinfect and protect textiles and hard surfaces for the cleaning industry, has been an instructor, an industry speaker, industry consultant to major corporations & textile manufacturers and has published articles in nationally recognized cleaning magazines.

Wet or Dry Carpet Cleaning

What is best? Wet or Dry Carpet Cleaning

You may ask, Is wet or dry carpet cleaning better? First there is no such thing as totally dry carpet cleaning unless you are just using a vacuum to extract the soil. About 79 % of all the soil that builds up in you carpet can be removed that way. The other soil, that is left after vacuuming, is either tacky, sticky, oily or a stain. Vacuuming is recommended prior to any cleaning, wet or dry.

Regarding vacuuming, most of the time there is:

  • no frequency chart or schedule   Wet or Dry Carpet Cleaning
  • only spot vacuuming or vacuuming as necessary taking place
  • a vacuum in poor condition (bag or canister not emptied or too full)
  • the wrong type of vacuum cleaner is being employed for carpet being maintained

After spending over 9 years chairing the writing of the International Carpet Cleaning Standard, the ANSI IICRC S100, I learned a few things. There are many variables that go into what is the most appropriate cleaning system/method to use.

Lets name a few.

  • What type of fiber, backing or sub-floor are you cleaning over (Wool vs nylon) (Raised Floor or Concrete)
  • What is the frequency of cleaning? The more you clean the easier it is to maintain appearance and building health levels.
  • Is it a requirement to use only Safer Choice, Low Environmental Impact (LEED), Woolsafe or CRI approved cleaning chemicals?
  • Not all eco friendly cleaning agents are efficient or effective cleaners.
  • Building/home usage & number of occupants can often determine systems/methods of cleaning ?
  • What is the carpet cleaning turn over time? (Different in a hospital or hotel than a office building or home.)
  • What is the desired use life and appearance level of the carpet?
  • Are you cleaning wall to wall or just open traffic areas? (It can be hard to get up close to walls & under desks using dry compound)
  • What is your budget? (Dry compound is typically more expensive that hot water extraction..Low moisture or encapsulation is the least expensive)

We learned that with out a doubt you could clean carpets safely, effectively and efficiently using 95% wet or dry environmentally friendly cleaning agents.  About 5% of the spills or stains can not be removed using a 100% eco friendly product. Specialty spot cleaning products are often necessary to get rid of spots and stains of unknown origin.

Wet vs Dry Carpet Cleaning

Regarding wet cleaning, we learned that you could clean carpet faster and more thoroughly if you use a CRI (Carpet & Rug Institute) approved hot water extraction system. Rinsing the carpet fiber with hot water can free it from contaminates and also assist in the health of the indoor building environment. Drying can be enhanced using air movers, fans and/or building HVAC. Typically commercial carpets will dry in a 1/2 hr to 8 hrs and residential can take up to 12. Residential carpets take longer because the pile or loops are thicker and more plush. In my opinion commercial carpets today will dry in less than 2 hours if properly cleaned and adequate air movement exists. For restoration carpet cleaning, when the carpet looks dirty or only cleaning one time per year, use a hot water extraction system/method and you will remove soil and odor causing pollutants easier.

Most industry professionals consider Dry cleaning to be mostly associated with the employment of a dry compound extraction system/method. A dry granular or powdered compound infused with an absorbent or adsorbent medium containing cleaning surfactants and solvents. They can be can be sprinkled out by hand or mechanically spread out and agitated into the carpet followed by either immediate removal or vacuuming after 10-20 minutes. Typically dry compound cleaning is used on commercial carpet. If dry compounds are used with the right frequency water rinse extraction systems may not need to be employed as often. (Dry compounds work great as a spotting agent in your home or business. (See Capture® or Host® in Carpet /Hardware Stores) In some situations it may be necessary to use only a dry cleaning system/method due to the carpet construction, air circulation problem or hard surface transition areas (trip & fall hazards can be created if carpet is moist near a hard surface where there is no way to restrict traffic. ie: carpeted elevator in office building with marble lobby)

Many manufacturers of encapsulating low moisture cleaning solutions attempt to pass their cleaning systems/methods off as a dry cleaning method but they are not. These low moisture products are not totally dry however they are widely used as an interim cleaning systems/methods (interim means between restoration cleaning) in commercial buildings. *Most of the time dry compound or low moisture carpet cleaning systems/methods need intermittent hot water extraction to rinsing all foriegn particulate out. Encapsulant and dry compounds are excellent for extending the need to use a water restoration system/method.

Whether you choose to use an encapsulant or a dry compound, vacuuming up excess or residual particulate is extremely important. Suspended soil, compound or encapsulant build up can cause performance issues that reduced use life, ugly out carpet or cause health related issues.

So when choosing wet or dry carpet cleaning consider a maintenance program that employs the use of each as needed. Do not fall prey to those who bash a wet cleaning or dry cleaning system.

  • When wet or dry carpet cleaning is performed professionally, using water will not create mold or shrink a rug or carpet.
  • Mold does not grow on plastic (carpet fibers) , it needs a food source. Vacuum, Clean & Dry 1-12 hrs.
  • Dry compounds and encapsulants have their place and are effective and efficient when used properly in a maintenance program
  • Make sure your professional cleaner has the training, experience and equipment to use all types of cleaning systems/methods.

** Always follow manufactures recommendations to protect any warranties available

-Doug Bradford, CEO

Eco Interior Maintenance – DC, N. VA, Maryland

Strategic Maintenance Services – Orlando & Central Florida

Flooring Problem

A flooring problem can be a big headache

If you purchased a new carpet, wood (manufactured wood) or vinyl floor for your home or business and have a flooring problem you may need some professional help. Consumers of all types of floor surfaces can have failures. There are multiple causes for failures and often they can be due to a combination of events. Warranties and installation grace periods can be vague and time sensitive. Installation guidelines may or may not have been followed. Typically you end up with everyone pointing a finger at someone else and all you want is it fixed. Flooring Problem

Often a flooring problem can be blamed on the consumer or end user. Here are a few things to consider in order to protect yourself from that happening. Make sure:Flooring Problem

  1.  the installation guidelines are followed. (Get a copy prior to installation & have someone observe the installation for short time, if possible.)
  2.  the carpet, wood or vinyl flooring is acclimated to the environment. (Office: delivery 24-48 hrs prior to the installation-Home: Stored in a conditioned warehouse prior to installation)
  3.  the sub-floor is debris free and flat prior to the installation. (Concrete should be tested by contractor prior to commercial installations in new buildings & all sub-floor imperfections should be leveled and repaired)
  4.  maintenance guidelines are followed to protect warranty. (A commercial maintenance plan should be instituted immediately. Homes should be cleaned at least every 12-18 months)
  5.  a floor problem with seams, curling edges, adhesive, possible manufacturing defects or installation is reported to the retailer as soon as possible. (within the first year max.)

Flooring problem can not always be avoided because sometimes they are manufacture related defects. It takes an expert usually to identify these issues and assist in getting them resolved. You may think the easiest thing to do is try to clean it out, cut it out or replace it. Get an expert opinion before you do anything. Hire an accredited inspector/cleaner/installer. Why waste any more time! Call a flooring Inspector/Repair expert today!

For questions call Eco Interior Maintenance 410-647-2800 or email