The Third Step of Carpet Cleaning

At Rainbow International, we recommend that our customers utilize our 6 step, Superior Carpet Cleaning. People frequently ask me why our Superior Clean includes 6 steps. Why don’t we clean all carpet using two or even one step like our competitors? This is the third of six blogs to answer this question.

The third step of our Superior clean is the application of a heated cleaning solution. This is a critical step in the carpet cleaning process. The cleaning solution is designed to bring the soil in the carpet to a liquid state. Once the soil is in a liquid state, it can be extracted with the carpet wand.

Moving the soil into a liquid state is not always achieved by simply getting the carpet wet. Many soils form chemical bonds with the carpet. For example, oily soils form powerful bonds with most carpet fibers. They are resistant to mix with water. The scientific term for this is hydrophobic. If this sound like a scary term, it is for good reason. In Latin, hydrophobic mean the fear of water. There are several excellent cleaning solutions that are specifically designed to break the chemical bond between oily soils and the carpet.

One of the most important skills a carpet cleaner can learn is the identification of soil content. There is more art to this than science. Broadly speaking, most soils fall into three categories: oil based, particulate and organic. Some carpet cleaners rely on a single cleaning solution to remove all of these soils. In my experience, this is a great mistake.

At Rainbow International, we always carry four different cleaning solutions. One is specifically designed to break down the bonds between oil and the carpet. One is specifically designed to remove fine particulate soils such as fine clay and top soil. A third is specifically designed to breakdown organic soils such as urine, fecal material and vomit. We use the fourth cleaning solution to perform our green, environmentally safe cleaning.

Another important factor when cleaning carpet is the temperature of the water being used. Heat increases the performance of virtually every cleaning solution. Broadly speaking, the hotter the better when you are dealing with oil based or particulate soil. Cleaning solutions targeted at organic stains are more complex. Many of them use enzymes to break down protein based soils.

Enzymes are alive. They are frequently dormant until activated by warm water. However, most enzymes will die when subjected to extreme heat. The carpet cleaning technician must take great care that he does not get the water so hot that he inhibits the power of the cleaning solution by killing the enzyme.

The final factor regarding the effectiveness of the cleaning solution is time. The cleaning solution should be allowed adequate time to break down the soil in the carpet. This is referred to as dwell time. However, the cleaning solution will become dramatically less effective if it is allowed to dry on the carpet.

The third step of carpet cleaning is critical to maintaining your carpet investment. A skilled carpet cleaning technician will be mindful of the kinds of soils in each carpet that he treats. He will utilize heat to achieve the maximum cleaning ability of the solution. He will take the extra time and effort to insure that the solution has had time to dwell in the carpet.

I am constantly amazed by the number of carpet cleaning companies who do not even utilize this step.

Rainbow International provides expert cleaning services in Charleston, North Charleston, West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, the Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island.