Knowledge for you and your carpet cleaning professional

paulj0557April 25, 2009

As a professional carpet cleaner I can testify on behalf of all of us who utilize safe effective cleaners. The fact is most commercially available cleaning solutions sold at janitorial stores are safer than many of the home remedies the green conscious folks rave about. Sure these all work, and believe me it costs a whole lot less for a gallon of ammonia than a gallon of urine-gone, but when any cleaner is used properly, and the residue properly extracted, they pose no threat to your pets and humans.

As far as which carpet cleaner works best I suggest this process. First Call around to various carpet cleaners. The independents are often more prepared to dedicate the proper time to getting your carpet cleaned right. I use a three stage process where I first vacuum before anything. Then I pre-spray the carpet with a more concentrated solution using a Hydroforce. This gets the fibers heated and lubricated, and yes just as when air hits an ice cream cone a chemical reaction is going on to break down the filth. The world IS chemicals. Chemists have developed systems to make this breakdown happen. Generally they fall under safe catagories like surfactants, emulsifiers, encapsulates, but all of the stuff we carpet cleaners get from our local suppliers like Hesco and Kleanserve are indeed safe. Lawns and carpet are two totally different worlds. Just because we both drive vans, wear uniforms and spray stuff on the ground that's where the similarities end.

My second step is AGITATION. If the floor is semi-dirty I rely on the pressure and heat, along with some

'chemicals' from my wands spray jets to agitate the carpet fibers into stage that's ready for rinsing. However, if the carpet is very dirty I go to my second stage of agitation with a spin bonnet. This is a heavy buffer like machine. In fact a Bonnet IS a buffer, but with a different disc on it. It's actually called a BLOCK in the industry. The 'buffer' is actually called a SLOW SPEED MACHINE. If your carpet is much dirtier than normal ask your carpet guy to bring his slow speed machine, or bonnet, but never call it a buffer. The term buffer is reserved for hard floors and a slow speed machine is still not called a buffer. A buffer is high speed. It requires a higher speed to polish floors, but a slow speed machine has high torque and can be used for stripping floors, bonneting floors etc. A buffer is just a buffer. A slow speed does everything else, even buffs, but not a very good polisher though. Funny.

Now with a floor that is very worn out and dirty it really does require a factor that even the biggest stanley Steemer truck CAN'T fix with their magic steam wand. TIME, or as it's commonly referred to in the field DWELL TIME.

Dwell is HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR A CHEMICAL, AND OR PROCESS to REACT TO THE CARPET. One thing that using a PRESPRAYING and using a BONNET does is INCREASE DWELL TIME. It's approximately 15 to 20 minutes. That's right. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes for a carpet to be properly prepped, and or agitated, to be cleaned enough for rinsing. So many carpet cleaners do anything they can to get in and out to the next house that you get slighted. Guys like me spend the proper time cleaning your carpet and at the end of the day I make less money because of it, but at least I know I did it right.

My final step is rinsing. I use straight hot water ( bordering on the temperature of steam, and yes the vapor is steam, but what hit's your carpet is in the form of water. If someone is spraying steam on your carpet then this is not good. I have owned carpet cleaning vans with ultra high power and they are impressive, but they are very inefficient compared to portable units with EQUAL POWER. Let me repeat that. Portable units with equal USABLE power to a truck is more efficient. The debates can go on and on, but if you are getting the same vacuum with the same cubic inches of airflow, AND the same water pressure at the same temperature, who cares if he's in a truck or a car with a trunk, or a station wagon? If you're worried about electricity usage it's only a dollar or so worth of power with portable compared to 5 or 6 with a truck. Yes, the customer pays for both in the end if that's how you are looking at it. Bottom line I leave your carpet fresh and deep clean for about 3 rooms for $69. I'm a Best Value carpet cleaner.

Vacuuming is the most underrated task for making a carpet last. AIRFLOW is just as important as SUCTION ( vacuum) when it comes to sweeping your floor. Air is hard to see so a good analogy for understanding how it works in a vacuum cleaner is to compare it to how water works. Imagine putting a straw in a glass of water. Let's say the straw is 10 millimeters across it's opening. Now when you inhale, relate the SPEED at which the water moves to SUCTION (vacuum). And relate HOW MUCH (volume) water is getting moved to AIRFLOW. Now what happens if you suck on the straw with the same exact Speed ( suction, remember), but you make the opening of that straw 20 millimeters across instead of 10 millimeters. Well, something most vacuum cleaner manufactures don't explain is that VACUUM INCREASING is equal to AIRFLOW DECREASING and visa verse. Remember though it takes both suction and airflow ( or water flow in this case) to get that water ( or dirt) where you want it right? It's only natural that if you suck on that straw at the same draw of suction(vacuum), but the SIZE OF THE OPENING ( 10 to 20 millimeters)INCREASES then the AMOUNT of AIRFLOW DECREASES. So what does that mean in this experiment? Without making it too hard to understand try to see the relationship to the vacuum's POWER to lift that water up the straw. It's only natural that if you make the opening of the straw bigger by two times across you are also doubling the amount of water and also doubling the weight of this water right? So if you are pulling ( inhaling[vacuum]) at the same draw you are only going to get half as far up the straw at 20mm in the same TIME as you were able to lift 10mm. Remember it is proportional.

So with this information laid out above let's see how those tiny little vacuum cleaners can pick up a bowling ball.

Okay, I'm going to wing it here. I understand the concepts of how VACUUM and AIRFLOW work together over SPACE and TIME, but I have never really applied this to a gimmick like lifting a bowling ball.Let's try.

So you have a funnel. It has an opening big at one end and small at the other. The ability to lift something with vacuum is measured in a measurement called WATER LIFT. Incidentally, vacuum cleaner motors ( and hence vacuum cleaners- that's the only functioning ingredient on one besides the beater bar) are measured for their power in both VACUUM and AIRFLOW. The actual Measurement for Vacuum is INCHES of MERCURY ( I believe square inches up a tube). So to spare you many more technical details I'll let you in on something. You can make a vacuum cleaner that can have vasts amount of VACUUM , but it is tremendously vital that there be an equal amount of AIRFLOW, or what you end up with is a vacuum cleaner that acts like your car acts when you start out in 4th gear. AH' THAT'S IT! The answer to the bowling ball gimmick! You see, that TIME factor we referred to? Well, in this gimmick that is what is being played with. If you maintain vacuum over time then it eventually catches up to equal the amount work needed to suspend the ball. Just like the transmission in your car. I've dealt with this stuff in real life so let me be the first to tell you that you can relate a good vacuum's performance to that of a car with a very quick gear range. If you've go a high amount of airflow AND a high amount of vacuum then when you touch the hose with a big opening to the floor it will 'SNAP UP' the dirt, BUT if you have a vacuum with a high amount of vacuum and a low amount of airflow, yes it will be like getting onto the interstate in 5th gear- you'd as soon dump your passengers ( like all of the dirt flying back to the floor!) as to wait for your cars power to catch up with itself.

It's about having a stable system. If the vacuum's going to be high then the airflow has to be to. To have both then the motor MUST be big.

Good vacuum cleaners:

Filter Queen- The first cyclone vacuum, simple and powerful

Rainbow D4 - Water separation, big military size motor, will run forever, but ALWAYS SPIN THE SEPARATOR BY HAND BEFORE POWERING UP!

Kirby G4- why the G4? Because it's identical to any Kirby made since then outside of looks and a couple of useless features. If any salesman tells you different then say, " Look my friend is a vacuum cleaner expert and he compared his old Kirby Heritage 84' with a new Sentria using the filter test right in front of 2 salesmen and had identical results! As far as better filtration, foohy! The paper bag is your best filtration- every time you throw away the bag you get a new filter because THE BAG ISSSS THE FILTER!

Hoover, Panasonic, and Eureka are all three highly designed and trustworthy vacuums. The Panasonic's made with the Kenmore name for Sears with the powered beltless rollers are some of the best engineered vacuums to come along in years. Panasonic uses a light sensor for their dirt finder and Hoover uses a microphone. Both are far more advanced than the human eye and if you vacuum regularly with one of these you will increase the life of your carpet by years.

My ultimate combination for carpet care.

Once every week: Vacuum deeply

hint- lock your arm to your side and use your legs to vacuum, not your arm sawing back and forth.

Once a month:

Get a Kirby Shampoo attachment for ANY secondhand Kirby and use any quality encapsulate cleaner ( about $20 gallon) enough for a year or two.

Once a year:

That Kirby paid for itself ( Heck a G4 with every attachment including the shampoo kit is only about $250 on Ebay) because now you only need a steam cleaner to come in about once a year instead of once every 4-6 months.

Alright, so yes you could blow $500 on a Dyson, but why? You can get a Kirby, or a Panasonic, AND a Rainbow d4 or a Filter Queen Majestic for the same price on Ebay!

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Hoover, Panasonic and Eureka are all three highly designed and trustworthy vacuums? You have got to be kidding yourself. And the dirt finders are a joke whether it be the microphone or light sensor.
And by the way, the Kirby Generation models do clean better than the older models, they have a better designed brushroll that has more aggressive agitation and they have better airflow as well. While I believe the Kirby is overpriced, it has way more airflow than the other vacuums you mentioned and will clean cirlcles around Filter Queen, Rainbow, Panasonic, etc! when it comes to vacuuming carpet. Having said that, it is terrible as a shampooer as all it does is brush soap into your carpet leaving a residue that attracts dirt. Those that use the Kirby shampooer regularly have tons of soap in their carpet which you will notice if you bring in a quality extractor because there will be tons of suds. It is also not a user friendly vacuum as it is hard for most to hook up the attachments. Also,the newer bags do hold dust better than the older single ply bags so they have improved in filtration as well. I wouldnt buy a Kirby new at the price they get for them and I would never use one to shampoo my carpet. But they do a great job of vacuuming carpet which is really all they were designed for in the first place. Shampooer and the other gadgets were added on to try and add value to the machine.
And for those of you that didnt know it, Hoover is now owned by Dirt Devil so when you buy a Hoover these days, you are really buying a chinese made Dirt Devil with the Hoover name on it. At least the Kirby is American made

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:00AM
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