Professional carpet cleaning, aims to maximise soil removal, while minimising damage to the textile floor covering. A professional carpet cleaner will have the knowledge, training and experience to both achieve both of these aims. Professional carpet cleaning requires training and accreditation by an industry recognised training facility. The most respected training organisations in the Australian Cleaning and Restoration Industry, are Jena Dyco and IICRC. Carpet cleaners who complete these courses will be able to determine what type of carpet you have and the best method for your carpet. What you should ask is, “are you a professional, carpet cleaner?”, rather than just asking about price and method. Carpet cleaners differ depending on their training, experience and equipment, this is why results, can vary so much.
Which method is best?
Professional carpet cleaners do not have a “one size fits all” approach. A professional will recognise the unique qualities of each job and adjust their methods and techniques accordingly. A series of questions are asked at the time of booking. These questions help to determine a rough quote based on the details you give over the phone. Once on site, the cleaner will then walk through the property with you before they set up. During this pre inspection, the cleaner will examine they type of carpet you have, its construction, use, condition and amount of soiling. This is when the cleaner makes a final decision regarding the best cleaning system for your carpet. A cleaning professional must employ the five main principles of carpet cleaning to ensure maximum soil removal and prevent damage.
1. Dry Soil Removal
Vacuuming is the very important first step in any carpet cleaning and maintenance system. Crushed or flattened pile needs to be lifted with a brush or grooming rake, before vacuuming, . You can then maximise dry soil removal. When vacuuming, make sure;
- the collection chamber is not full
- the air is flowing freely and not obstructed
- the drive belt is in good condition (service your vacuum every 6-12 months)
- the beater brush is in good condition
2. Soil Suspension
The aim of soil suspension is to remove the soil left behind by dry vacuuming, by breaking the adhesion between the soil and the carpet fibre. In order to achieve this there are four key elements;
- Chemical activity: After vacuuming a pre spray is applied. Professional carpet cleaners will try to use bio degradable detergents where ever possible. They will know which product is best suited to the fiber and the method they have chosen. Professional cleaners follow label instructions so that they use the correct quantities.
- Heat/Temperature: Generally speaking, the more heat used, the greater the cleaning efficiency. The power of the pre spray is increased by heat, which often means less chemical is needed to achieve maximum results. Less chemicals means less residue. However heat in inexperienced hands can result in fiber damage and dye loss.
- Agitation: This process can be done by hand using a brush, a motorised rotary or water pressure. Agitation distributes the cleaning agents so that they can separate soils from carpet fibres. This process speeds up the soil suspension and is an important step, especially for heavily soiled carpets.
- Time: Soil suspension does not happen immediately. Chemicals need time to dwell on the carpet to maximise their efficiency.
3. Suspended Soil Removal
The next step is to remove suspended soils from the carpet. There are several different methods of removal, however, the method we use the most is hot water extraction. Other methods include;
- absorption either by using a dry compound or absorbent pad (bonnet method)
- wet vacuuming – carpet shampoo
- flushing – the immersion method used to clean rugs
- dry residue vacuuming – a dry compound or foam distributed over the carpet to attract the suspended soil, then vacuumed away.
4. Pile Setting/Grooming
This step does not actually aid in the removal of soil, however it does help the next step, which is drying. A professional carpet cleaner knows that grooming the carpet after cleaning, helps maintain the look of the carpet fibres. Grooming also aids in the distribution of deodourisers and fabric protection. This step also helps with evaporation, which speeds up drying time.
Professional cleaners will always ensure they take steps to minimise drying times. Wet carpet left for an extended period, can result in a few different problems. The first being, carpet which takes more than a few hours to dry is a major inconvenience for the customer. It also increases the chances of re-soiling from foot traffic. The increased potential for slip and fall incidents is another very serious consequence when moving from wet carpet to hard floors. Finally, there are issues such as mould, odour, browning and dye bleeds or transfer.
To reduce drying times, professional carpet cleaners usually employ a few different strategies, including;
- ensuring their equipment is well maintained and operating efficiently
- ensuring there is adequate ventilation or air flow through the property (e.g. run air conditioning/heating/open windows/ceiling fans)
- make sure to do dry passes with their wand, after wet/rinse passes, so that maximum water is extracted
- use hot water which aids evapouration
- use drying equipment such as air movers
The cleaner will employ some of these methods, but not necessarily all of them.
How long will it take for my carpet to dry?
A professional carpet cleaner will always do his best to ensure carpet dries in the shortest amount of time possible. Drying times vary depending on a few different factors. These include, inside and outside atmospheric conditions, air movement, the type of fibre, the pile density, the amount of soiling (heavily soiled carpet requires more cleaning solution) and the application of protectors and deodourants. Other factors that can greatly affect drying times are the experience of the cleaner, the performance of their equipment and the method of cleaning they use. Carpets cleaned by hot water extraction are usually dry within a 4-5 hours, where as dry cleaning methods like bonnet cleaning can be dry in as little as 1-2 hours and dry compound cleaning leaves carpet dry immediately. Regardless of the method used, the drying time should be a matter of minutes or hours not days!!
Where can I find a Professional Carpet Cleaning service?
You now have the facts to confidently ask the questions necessary to ensure you hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Trained and qualified carpet cleaners generally display their qualifications and affiliations on their websites. The IICRC issue ID cards to cleaners who have passed their certification exams. You can always ask to see the cleaners card as proof of their qualifications. A good place to locate a professional carpet cleaning service in your area is on the IICRC website. Finally, do not base your decision purely on price, ask questions and use your knowledge to determine whether or not the answers you receive are accurate. Black Gold Carpet Cleaning is a IICRC Certified firm, so please contact us to arrange a booking.