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Saturday, October 10, 2015


We are using a 175 rpm floor scrubber with a brush to clean our carpet. Will this process cause damage to the carpet?


Answer # 1:
Although the shampoo process has been in use for many years, certain types of carpet construction and fibers may allow for one sort of damage or another. On some finer, cut pile yarns you may see some change in texture and appearance over time as the yarn tips unwind (bloom). On looped pile wool you will see immediate damage do to fuzzing of the face yarns.
If the carpet is new you should read the manufacturer’s warranty information to make sure they don’t advise against shampooing or bonnet cleaning.
Another issue with the standard rotary shampoo process is detergent residue and soil build-up. Rotary shampooing spreads soil around so that it's not visually offensive, but doesn’t actually remove the soil or detergent residue unless you follow up with a rinse-extraction process. Even with the new encapsulation process, the soil removal takes place during vacuuming once the carpet is dry.
A systems approach to carpet cleaning which includes prevention, vacuuming, spotting, regular interim cleaning in high traffic areas, and periodic deep cleaning of all areas is the most effective maintenance program for carpet.
Bill Griffin

Answer # 2:
Damage may occur in two situations:
1. If the scrubbers are being used without sufficient lubrication (in the form of carpet shampoo), causing damage due to friction between the brush
tips and the fibers.
2. If the carpet contains a buildup of gritty soil that acts like sandpaper between the fibers when it has been suspended by the action of the scrubber and shampoo. If using a shampoo method, it is important to also periodically employ a deep extraction process, especially in the high traffic areas, to remove the gritty soils that build up under the surface.
John Downey

Answer # 3:
One of the oldest methods of carpet shampooing is with the use of a rotary machine such as you describe driving a shower-feed carpet brush. Properly used, it is not likely you will cause any damage. What does proper use involve?
1) A new brush should be “broken in” by running it wet on a concrete floor for 30 or 40 minutes, long enough to dull any sharp edges on the nylon bristles. The bristles will take a set so that they are dragged across the carpet rather than being pushed into it.
2) Always use the brush with a shampoo solution, which will provide lubrication for the bristles as well as cleaning action for the carpet.
3) Avoid running across loose seams or other worn areas where the brush can cause further damage. Make shampoo passes parallel to the seam.
4) Resist the temptation to soak the carpet by using an excess amount of shampoo from the tank. The advantage of using the rotary machine is that you can provide a lot of agitation to a modest amount of moisture if you control it. Feed shampoo through the brush on a side-to-side pass and the work it in by moving the machine forward and backward in a circular pattern. This will allow the brush to hit the fibers from several directions and accelerate the soil release.
5) Do not skip the rinse extraction step when using this method. Rotary shampooing is not a substitute for initial dry vacuuming, and it is not going to remove the loosened grit, grime, and detergent residues, along with ice melt, coffee, soda, and who knows what else you set free from the fibers. These are the things that, if left in the fibers, will truly damage the carpet! Use a hot water rinse extraction to remove them and the carpet will stay cleaner much longer.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN Associate Editor for ATEX