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Q: I have a great truckmount and I buy the best chemicals, but some of my commercial jobs and apartments just don’t look that good when I’m done. Is there something else I can do in the cleaning process that I may be missing?
— Robert, Weston, FL
Dedicated cleaning professionals want the best equipment, tools and cleaning solutions they can find, and that sounds like what you have done.
But for some jobs, more is needed. The traditional steps of cleaning, such as prevacuuming, prespraying, agitation, rinsing, grooming and drying sometimes are not enough to get the results you desire. You might need to increase the intensity of one or two of those steps.
Many cleaning technicians use a carpet rake or groomer to work in the prespray. Some don’t use any type of agitation tool. Of course, it isn’t necessary to use agitation on the carpet where furniture has been placed, or in low traffic areas. But, in open areas and where there is ground-in soil, agitation is important.
That’s where you should start concentrating your efforts if you want better results when you clean. Use a carpet rake or groomer more frequently. Better yet, consider one of the different electric powered tools on the market that you can use for more concentrated and aggressive agitation. Some use rotary scrubbers, others use cylindrical brush machines. A few will pull out larger scrubbers for cleaning open areas of heavily soiled carpet.
As far as utilizing more chemistry to make your job easier, you can use a shampoo solution with a scrubbing machine, and then follow it up with hot water extraction. In essence, you are using two methods of cleaning on one job.
All of this takes a little more time as you prep the job for extraction, but the actual extraction (rinse) will actually go much faster, with better final results.
Something else you can do is use encapsulation chemistry with your hot water extraction cleaning method. There are prespray and rinse combinations available.
This will aid your cleaning process because soils are “encapsulated” in the chemistry, and more soils are removed via regular vacuuming even after the job is done. The carpet generally stays clean longer, as well. Wicking is reduced, and you will have fewer callbacks.
Other products to consider if you aren’t getting the results you wish are citrus solvents to add to your prespray and oxidizing agents to add to your prespray and rinse. Both of these can be used on jobs considered to be “restoration cleaning.”
There are many other steps you can take, such as increased heat, added contact time for your chemistry, more frequent cleaning on your regular accounts, etc. But for most jobs, increased agitation with a few additional chemicals in your cleaning arsenal will pay off nicely.