When It Comes To Carpet, What Is Clean? Irvine CA

Tired of Carpet Cleaners that promise clean, show up, run thru your house with their cleaning wand, leave your carpet wet for three days, then when the carpet does dry it is stiff and crunchy and re-soils within a few days or weeks? Why can’t carpet cleaners get carpet clean, and – what is clean?

Clean May Not Be Clean!

The answer is so simple, we are men who are taught by men trying to clean for women. Now I am not a chauvinist but in the 45+ years of working in homes I have come to understand that when it comes to clean men and women have different expectations. A man says I went over it once with soapy water it is clean. A women says I went over it with soap, rinsed with water, repeated as necessary now it is clean.

Spot Treating

Carpet cleaning is a simple as washing your hair; however, I compare the process to pre-treating a stain on a shirt. Now a lot of us men have no hair and most of us have never spot treated a stain on a shirt (we sure know how to make them though). Where most cleaners fail is they do not understand the chemistry of what is stuck on the carpet therefore they haven’t a clue how to remove soil and stains. Think about a shower, would you lather up and then rinse off with a pitcher of soapy water? NO! The industry calls this process “Buffering” by using a solution mixed in your rinse cycle to buffer the pH of the traffic lane cleaner we can leave the pH at 8-8.5. Unless no one is paying attention Neutral pH is 7 and pH rises exponentially as it goes up or down the pH scale so 8-8.5 is called a soil attracter.

What Is Clean?

So what is a “CLEAN”? Clean is the complete removal of foreign matter from a surface and is a multi step not a one step process.

Step 1 – dry soil removal, 79% of dry soil comes out in the dry vacuum process.

Step 2 – application of a pre-conditioner or as some in our industry call it “traffic lane cleaner” over the entire surface of the carpet not just in the traffic lanes. The pre-conditioner is sprayed on and then agitated with a carpet rake to break surface tension and emulsify attached soils and spills, allow 3-5 minutes dwell time (no different than the stain on the shirt).

Step 3 – Next the carpet is rinsed with plain hot water between 175 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit to remove soils and leave the pH of the carpet as close to neutral as possible (like rinsing shampoo out of your hair). Soap residue dries stiff and crunchy (if you have kids, remember the first time they washed their hair and did not rinse all the shampoo out, stiff and crunchy) and re-attracts soil. That is why carpet get dirty so fast and why some carpet cleaners charge so little for their services, they know they will be back more often.

Step 4 – Post spotting is the preferred method by trained professionals, this minimizes/prevents the reappearance of the spot and the spotting agent after cleaning. If the spot is pre-treated before cleaning the weight of the liquid spotter (gravity) takes the spotting agent and the spot down to the back of the carpet, once the carpet is rinsed and as it dries the spot wicks back up and reappears, only now it has a soapy substance with it. The spot goes away, returns and grows as the process is repeated. Remember first liquid on the surface is the last to reappear after drying. So if the spot is treated after the cleaning, releases and is rinsed immediately the chance of wicking (upward flow of moisture during the drying process) is reduced

Step 5 – Grooming, one of the most overlooked steps in the cleaning process, stands the yarns up and allows for quicker, even drying. Carpets look better than new when properly cleaned and groomed.

More Than Just Carpet Cleaning

Now there are more steps performed in a full cleaning, furniture moving, corner guards to protect walls and corners from hose damage, protective blocks and tabs under moved furnishings, fabric protector application. So next time you are looking for a carpet cleaner and you listen to their process think about what they are doing and ask  yourself this question “would I wash my hair or clothes that way?

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