Carpet Care Strategy Keeps Airport Looking Good

Contribution by Whittaker

Portland International Airport (PDX) has a unique history when it comes to carpets. His geometric teal carpet with purple and red highlights has achieved cult status over the years. Although the iconic floor was replaced with a modernized design in 2015, the quality of care for the carpet has not changed. Relay Resources has been managing carpet maintenance at PDX since 1996, with the aim of promoting meaningful work for people with disabilities or other obstacles.

“At Relay Resources, we are committed to making a difference for our customers, employees and the community. We partner with willing and able workers who face obstacles and provide training, employment and housing to help them live independent lives, ”said Tony Diep, supervisor for Relay Resources.

More than 19 million people flew in or out of the PDX in 2019. Virtually constant pedestrian traffic as well as luggage and trolleys on wheels can take a toll on the carpet over time. As a result, Relay needs reliable carpet care equipment to perform day-to-day maintenance, removing spills and stains.


When the blue-green carpet replacement was installed in 2015, the carpet replacement manufacturer recommended that the airport implement interim maintenance systems from Whittaker, a leading provider of low-moisture carpet care. Low humidity encapsulation uses safe and effective chemistry to crystallize carpeting without residue. The small particles are removed by vacuum cleaning. Relay has relied on Whittaker solutions since installing the new carpet.

Many Relay employees are hardworking and career-oriented, but have physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. So it is important to have carpet cleaning equipment that is easy to use and lightweight.

Relay uses five Whittaker Smart Care TRIO machines, which come in a variety of widths. Relay employees use the 20-inch TRIO version and various stain removal solutions from Whittaker’s CRYSTAL Chemistry line to keep the carpet looking like new.

“Customers often take pictures of the carpet at the airport, so cleanliness is very important,” added Diep. “We follow the recommendations of the carpet manufacturers and adhere to a strict schedule to include all carpet areas in PDX.”


With the complete carpet care system from Whittaker, Relay Resources and PDX:

– Achieve Superior Stain Removal – The chemistry combined with the TRIO machine’s ability to lift the pile of carpets and stir the solution at the same time helps Relay remove stains daily to keep the carpet clean.

– Boosting Brand Reputation – A 2020 Harris survey by Whittaker confirms that 52 percent of adults in the United States had a dirty carpet with stains, pet hair, leftover food, etc., negatively impacting the perception of an airport. A consistently clean carpet can lead to happier travelers and support PDX’s excellent reputation. In fact, Relay credits the Carpet Care Program with helping PDX take first place in Travel + Leisure’s annual World’s Best Awards for seven consecutive years.

• Ensuring Employee Satisfaction – Relay employees believe that Whittaker machines are easy to use, clean quickly and effectively, and maneuver in tight spaces. The machines are also easy to maintain. Providing a simple carpet cleaning system for employees that they love to use improves work ethic and offers employees a fulfilling career.

“Daily spots make up a good part of the care that we offer at PDX. Whittaker’s TRIO machines play a key role in maintaining the carpet properly, ”said Diep. “I would recommend this system to other contractors interested in a new approach to carpet maintenance.”

Relay has relied on Whittaker products to help PDX achieve higher levels of cleanliness while keeping its people focused on success.

“Our caretakers take great pride in their work, and being able to provide them with the right tools benefits us all.”

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