(The following presentation was given at the West Ashley Referral Group (WAR). WAR meets every wednesday morning at 8 AM at Hale Accounting in Charleston, SC. Visitors are welcome.)
Good Morning. I’m Jim Belton with Rainbow International.
In the past I have spoken with you about Water and Fire Damage, because that’s the work that provides the most revenue for us. But today I am going to talk with you about a very different service, and that’s carpet cleaning. The reason is simple. There is a 50% chance that you will have water damage some time in your life. There is a much smaller chance that you will have a fire. But the experts all agree that you should have your carpets cleaned once a year. In the last year you have not gone one week when you did not meet someone who needed to have their carpets cleaned.
I am frequently talking with people who express concerns about carpets and their health. And in fact this was a burning issue in Sweden during the 1970s. There was a prominent group of Swedish scientists who were really annoyed. They were always trying to take pictures of their beautiful blonde children, but their photos were ruined because their children kept coughing right as they snapped the picture. They asked themselves, “What is causing these allergic reactions?” One of these scientists decided to look at carpet under a microscope. And what he found alarmed him.
A large concentration of dust mites, pollens, spores and other allergens were trapped inside the fibers of the carpet. A huge national campaign was launched to remove carpets from the floors of Sweden. Like any good Swede, they involved the government. They tore out carpet and replaced it with hardwood floors, tile and concrete.
When they began, carpet covered 40% of all Swedish floors. Within 20 years, they covered less than 1%. And the incidence of allergies – increased by 300%.
How could that be? They had removed the carpet which was trapping large concentrations of allergens. Wht were their children still coughing?
Incredibly, the Swedish scientists did not realize until it was too late that that they had removed the most effective air filter in their homes. The dust mites, pollens and spores were not created by the carpet. They were trapped by the carpet. And now those allergens found their way into their children’s lungs, which is why it is so difficult today to find photographs of beautiful blonde Swedish children who are not coughing.
Most people get their carpets cleaned because they look dirty. But I like to remind people that as we clean their carpet, we are also improving their indoor air quality by cleaning their 600 square foot air filter.
Now what I have noticed about everything that I have ever done in my life, is that there is a right way to do things and a fast and easy way to do things. And we live in a society that continually pursues fast and easy, and simultaneously laments the loss of hard work, honestly done the right way.
So when I opened my business I decided that everything that I did would be done according to the highest standards, not because it was easy or expedient. And it so happens that when it comes to carpet cleaning, there is an organization that sets the international standard on how to clean carpet. It’s called the Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, and since that’s a mouth full, it’s otherwise known as the IICRC.
So I developed a six step system, based on the IICRC standard, to clean carpet. What I didn’t realize is that this dramatically separated us from virtually every other carpet cleaner in town, most of whom used a one or two step system to sort of clean carpet.
What are these six steps?
1: We groom the carpet. Why? Well what is the first thing we do when we install new carpet? We lay down this beautiful, clean, carpet with all of the fibers standing wonderfully tall … and then walk all over it. And as we do, the fibers become matted and begin to lay down flat. When we groom the carpet, we separate the fibers a little and that allows us better access to clean the entire carpet.
2: We dry vacuum the carpet. A large percentage of the soil in the carpet is particulate soil. That means it’s plain, ordinary dirt. What happens when you add water to dirt? That’s right, you make mud. We can remove the particulate soil better before the carpet gets wet.
3: We apply a heated cleaning solution to the carpet. Our technicians carry 7 different cleaning solutions. Different homes have different kinds of soil. The soil in a home in West Ashley is going to be different from the soil on Folly Beach. The soil in a home where a 60 year old woman lives by herself is going to be different from a family with 2.5 children, one dog and two cats. Our technicians choose the right cleaning solution based on the soil in your home and the construction of your carpet.
4: We brush the cleaning solution into the carpet. This agitation causes the cleaning solution to mix with the soil.
5: We extract the cleaning solution with a carpet wand. The jets dispense a heated rinse that flushes soil out of the carpet and neutralizes the cleaning solution. Have you ever heard people say? “Don’t get your carpets cleaned, because the soaps they use attract soil. And it’s going to look worse in two weeks.” Those are people who used a carpet cleaner who did not properly rinse the carpet.
And finally Step 6: We use an air mover to rapidly dry the carpet. Why do we want to rapidly dry the carpet? Well it’s more convenient for the customer. But have you ever had someone say? “I got my carpets cleaned and it looked great for 2 weeks. But then all the spots came back.” There is an infinite amount of soil in your carpet pad. As the carpet dries, it carries soil from the bottom of the carpet, to the top. That’s why the spots mysteriously reappear. If you can dry the carpet quickly enough, this doesn’t happen.
Why does Rainbow International go to so much trouble to clean carpet? Why do we take 6 steps, to do what everyone else tries to do in one or two? Because we have this crazy notion that any job worth doing, is worth doing right.
I’m Jim Belton with Rainbow International. Whenever disaster strikes you, be it a flood, or fire or your children’s soccer team dragging an acre of mud into the living room, remember, There’s Always a Rainbow After the Storm.