Yes, that’s right. I said imagine taking a shower, because cleaning carpet correctly is extremely similar to washing your hair in the shower. Just the other day I was at a client’s home, and they were complaining because they’d had another cleaner in about a year before, and he was in and out, zip, zip, zip.
Now, when I’m in there, they’re showing me this one room that really hadn’t been used very much at all, but the whole carpet looked bad. They just were not happy with it.
This is my favorite kind of client, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they are looking for quality work to be performed! There are a lot of myths out there about carpet cleaning, such as once you get it cleaned, it’s going to look worse, quicker. Some people think that having your carpet cleaned is actually BAD for the carpet. These are not true, if your cleaner is conscientious, and careful.
Let’s Debunk a Carpet Cleaning Myth
So you might ask yourself, why do these myths exist? It’s because, quite often, of the processes used during the cleaning. Many cleaners run a last step chemical injection system, and they’ll put one of two things in their rinse water. They’ll either have an acid rinse, which is supposed to neutralize any residue they might not completely rinse out of the carpet (this usually occurs when they’re moving the wand really quickly, and not enough time is taken to flush all the residue out of the carpet), or they’re running a detergent that will provide a boost of cleaning power. I’ve tried both, and I’m not really a fan of either method.
The detergent will help get the really dirty stuff out of carpet by giving an added boost of “cleaning power” to the water coming out of the cleaner’s equipment. Sounds like a GREAT idea, doesn’t it? Take a moment, and imagine that you have soapy water coming out of your shower head. So you get in, and you get cleaned up, rinse hair out with that soapy water, and get out. Towel it off, and you’re gonna feel slightly sticky…bleh.
Time to Talk Shower Residue
You’ve got all that soapy residue in your hair for the rest of the day, and it’s actually going to be ATTRACTING dirt by “cleaning” everything it comes in contact with, so that by the end of the day your hair will be dirtier than it was to begin with! Same thing with carpeting. When a cleaner does this, he’s usually trying to avoid steps like prespraying the carpet, and increase his speed on each job, to make more money per hour at a lower price point.
The acid rinse is better than the detergent, because it is designed to neutralize the cleaning agents put down during the pre-spray process, and keep them from getting dirtier, quicker, as described above. When the residue is neutralized, it will no longer actively clean other surfaces. This is a somewhat more widely used process, and still allows the cleaner to move quickly, and provides a “fudge factor” for if and when they’re moving TOO quickly. Imagine getting your hair all lathered up, and then running it under the shower for just a few seconds. What’s that? You didn’t have time to rinse out all the shampoo? Don’t worry…the water coming out of you shower head has a shampoo neutralizing agent that will keep it from attracting dirt.
I think this is a better method than the detergent, because your carpet won’t ACTIVELY clean your shoes off every time you walk across them, but I still don’t like it. Can you imagine leaving stuff in your hair, like that?
Rinsing: The Final Carpet Cleaning Step
Last is the clear water rinse. No additional cleaning agents, or anything in the water, and the idea behind it is to put the water in the carpet and suck it back up at the same time. Just like standing under the shower head, with nice and clean water coming out, and letting it rinse all the shampoo out of your hair, if your cleaner takes the time to do it correctly with a clear water rinse, your carpet will be SO soft and clean when they’re done…
I feel better already.