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Monday, November 30, 2015


I recently took a newly created position as Property Manager at my church and found that we have two water extractors. In the past, they have rented carpet cleaners to clean the carpets. Can you clean carpets with extractors? What is the process and does it do any damage?


Answer # 1:
Hot water extraction is the number one process used by professional carpet cleaning companies, machine rental companies, and the method preferred by most carpet mills for restorative cleaning.
The primary concern is cleaning with methods that allow short drying times. Ideally, your church would have two types of extractors. A self-contained unit with autofill/pump out or a power-head brush unit for large rooms, halls, entry areas, and fellowship halls where food is served. Secondly, an
extractor with a wand is ideal for carpeted sanctuaries to clean between the pews and for small areas such as crowded offices.
Here is an abbreviated description of the process which begins with moving required furniture and a thorough vacuuming. Mix, according to instructions, a premium or approved carpet cleaning pre-conditioner or extraction product in a pump-up or electric sprayer. Spray about 15 minutes ahead of the machine operation and apply the solution heavy to heavily soiled and light to the lightly soiled areas. This application process allows for adequate dwell time without drying of the cleaning chemicals.
Extractors should be pre-serviced to ensure adequate pressure and suction. Add an approved carpet rinse additive to the extractor supply tank with extremely hot water. The acidic rinse will flush soap residues from the
carpet and prevent unsuspected browning of light colored carpets.
Additionally, mix the rinse additive product 1:5 in a spray bottle for coffee, tea, and water stains. One other helpful product to have is a solvent spotter for grease, oil, tar, chewing gum, etc. A complete spotting kit may
be helpful, but spotters should be rinsed from the carpet by hot water extraction. Use all required safety measures when handling chemicals.
Begin cleaning in the back of each area, working your way out the door. One or two passes over each area may be required. When using the wand, pull it toward you with the trigger on and shut it off about 2" inches before the end of the pull stroke. Exert heavy pressure as you push the wand back to the starting point. With a self-contained unit, pull up on the handle as you move the machine back. In both cases this will force the vacuum shoe deep into the carpet and create a vacuum seal that will greatly improve the recovery rate and reduce the drying time. Recovery rates should exceed 80% (8 gals. of soiled water recovered for each 10 gals. of clean water applied). Overlap each wand or machine pass by 1-2 inches.
Inspect your results, since soil damaged areas may require a brush pre-agitation or even a bonnet buff pre-scrub prior to extraction. Keep in mind the extractor is primarily a rinse machine. If drying time is critical and carpet mill cleaning instructions allow, consider using a dry bonnet under a rotary floor machine to immediately dry the carpet after the extraction process. Finally, increase the air flow, open windows, reduce A/C temp or place air handler blow driers to improve dry times. Place wet floor signs adjacent to
For a more detailed training, the IICRC now has authorized carpet cleaning schools on-site or on-line for the Apprentice/Basic Skills program. This is a four hour program that leads to a diploma for carpet techs. A web search
should locate this info. If you want to test a new carpet cleaning technician, we have a free test on our web site. However, no one has ever scored 100%. We highly recommend the new approved IICRC schools.
Gary Clipperton
National Pro Clean Corp.
(719) 598-5112

Answer # 2
Strictly speaking, a water extractor does just that, it extracts water. The usual form is a heavy pickup head on a wand with that attaches by hose to a wet vacuum. Its purpose is to remove flood water or heavy spills from carpets.
The difference between a basic water extraction wand and a hot water extraction (rinse) machine is that the latter has a means of injecting rinse water into the carpet as well as a head for removing the water by vacuum. Look for a spray nozzle(s) as well as a vacuum slot on the wand or on the machine base, if it is self-contained.
A self-contained unit will also often have a moving brush of some sort for working the cleaning solution into the fibers as the machine moves along.
So, if your machine allows you to spray the carpet and then extract the dirty solution, you can use it to clean the carpet.
You may add a shampoo solution to the carpet to loosen soil in a number of ways. Spray it on with a hand-held pressure sprayer, work it in with a small shampooer, or add it to the extractor itself and inject it with the solution. The first two are preferable because they allow the solution more time to work before it is vacuumed out.
After allowing 5 to 10 minutes of soil release time, use the extractor to spray water into the fibers and flush out the loosened soils. You should move slowly to allow the machine or rinse wand to do the job. Extra passes with the nozzle and no spray on will aid in drying the carpet.
If you wish to contact us with more information on the make and model of the devices you discovered, we can be more specific. It seems unlikely that you would have two on hand if they were only for flood water extraction. However, neither type will harm the carpet.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN Associate Editor for ATEX