Recommended Method Of Cleaning By Carpet Manufacturers
Hot water extraction is sometimes referred to as 'Steam Cleaning'. Actually this is a misapplied term, for real steam is too dry and hot to clean carpet properly. In this method, hot cleaning solution is sprayed under pressure onto the carpet and is immediately extracted with a vacuum source. The dirty solution is collected in a recovery tank and is usually poured into the sanitary waste system. The advantage of this system is that is has the ability to flush out large amounts of soil and contaminants in carpet. It is the most preferred method by all of the major fiber producers, such as Dupont, Monsanto and Allied Signal, as well as the carpet manufacturers like, Shaw, Mohawk, World, and Queen. Because this method removes more contaminants than the other carpet cleaning methods, hot water extraction is favored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is the preferred method of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). It does have the disadvantage of having longer drying times and the possibility of wick up of spots if they are not thoroughly extracted. Most higher quality carpets that have extended appearance and texture retention warranties require this type of cleaning every 18 months in order to retain the warranty coverage.
NOT ALL HOT WATER EXTRACTION MACHINES ARE EQUAL!
There are three basic types of extraction machines. They are:
- Residential/Rental. These machines are fine for spills and maintenance of lightly soiled traffic areas. But they lack the power needed to do the deep cleaning required to get out the grit that lies deep in your carpet pile and to maintain carpet manufacturer warranties.
- Professional portables. These machines are many times more powerful than residential units. The number and size of vacuum motors and pumps plus heat exchangers differentiates one from another in terms of performance. The most powerful machines may have two power cords to enable household circuits to cope. A really good job can be done with these units. if the operator has excellent training and takes his or her time. Sometimes portables are the only way the carpets in some locations can be cleaned.
- Truck mounted units. These machines have large independent engines or run off the motor of the cleaning van. They can develop up to 1000 pounds of pressure (though normally carpet is cleaned at only 500 lbs. of pressure). They also heat the water to 180 or more degrees and have very powerful vacuums. These machines are expensive but they can leave the carpets drier in many cases when used properly. Typically, this type of hot water extraction machine should give improved results as well as decrease time on the job.
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