Carpet Cleaning Methods – Surface Versus Deep Cleaning

From the moment a carpet is installed, its beauty and life are on a downhill slide. Unlike dirty resilient tiles or hard floor surfaces, carpeting cannot be completely revived. It can be compared with a new car which has a terminal life span. Therefore, proper carpet maintenance is the key to the extension of the life of a carpeted floor surface.

Before wall-to-wall Carpet became popular, cleaning was handled primarily by professional carpet cleaners. The cleaner would pick up the carpet, put it in a truck, and take it to the shop. At the shop, the cleaner would measure the carpet carefully and then place it on a concrete floor to vacuum it thoroughly. The carpet would then be scrubbed with a rotary floor machine equipped with a solution tank and a shower feed brush. This process was accomplished with a profusion of soap or detergent and water. When the operator thought that the carpet reached maximum cleanliness, the carpet would be very thoroughly flushed with water and then suspended on a rail in the air to dry. Another weighted rail would be on the lower end of the carpet to stretch it back to its original dimensions. When the carpet was completely dry, the back was resized to replace the sizing lost in the scrubbing procedure. After this step, the carpet, all clean and beautiful once again, was returned to the owner. It was good for another few years of traffic. Although this cleaning method is still employed today, it is probably used to a lesser degree since wall-to-wall carpeting has become popular.

Wall-to-wall carpeting cannot be removed to provide it with a thorough scrubbing. Therefore, one must resort to a variety of alternative methods to achieve this same end. Basically, this consists of three steps: a thorough vacuuming, spot cleaning of the surface to be scrubbed and the scrubbing-cleaning operation. The cleaning operation may be performed in a variety of ways, generally divided into two classifications: surface cleaning and deep cleaning.

Surface Cleaning Systems

Surface cleaning systems include:

o A rotary floor machine used to scrub the carpet surface.

o A rotary floor machine equipped with a yarn pad. This system is like taking a wet, soapy turkish towel and rubbing the carpet surface.

o A dampened dust mop, which is like using a smaller soapy wet rag over the surface.

o Foam-type carpet scrubbing machines. These machines apply foam onto the carpet surface followed by a revolving or rotating brush. Then the foam is either immediately vacuumed up by the same machine or is followed by a second person with a vacuum pickup.

o Fine wood-flour sawdust or clay-type material impregnated with solvents which are spread upon a floor, worked into the carpet by brush action machine, and then vacuumed up. This seems to work well, especially on oil-based soils. The drawback is that some of the particles may keep coming out of the carpet to haunt you.

Buckles or Wrinkles in Glue-Down Installations:

If carpeting is glued directly to the floor, there are several common causes of buckles that can easily be corrected. An insufficient amount of carpet adhesive – or none at all – might be in the area of the buckle. Sometimes, it may be the result of an initial failure to properly press that portion of the carpet down into firm contact with the spread adhesive. Moisture problems subsequent to installation can also account for buckling.

Depending on the construction of the particular carpet, the buckles can be removed by slitting the affected area and applying a moisture-resistant compatible adhesive to the floor. Alternative solutions are the use of a hypodermic needle to get the adhesive under the carpet without slitting it, or by steaming and rolling the buckle with a carpet roller

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