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When choosing someone to clean carpeting, the consumer can become very confused. The prices vary as do the different methods. Each cleaner claims that his methods are best.

DRY CLEANING – There are 2 types, bonnet cleaning(chem dry) or dry compound cleaning(Host or Capture).

Bonnet Cleaning - a method where the carpet is vacuumed, then a solution is sprayed on top of the carpeting from a low pressure sprayer, then a cotton pad is attached to the bottom of a rotary machine and the carpeting tips are wiped with the bonnet. This method was developed for commercial carpet maintenance. It is now being sold as a annual cleaning method. There is no rinse in this method and it is not a deep cleaner, spots tend to resurface because it is more of a "tip cleaning method". This method is not effective on a carpet that is appreciably soiled.

Dry Compound Cleaning - a carpeting is vacuumed, a powder is scrubbed into the carpet and vacuumed again. This method also has no rinse. The powder that is used is very hard to vacuum out of the carpeting and a "build up " can occur after a few cleanings. Alot of residue remains in the carpeting and residue can attract soil.

Dry cleaning methods donot use a rinse. Rinsing is healthy, over the course of a year skin folicles, sweat, soil from outside, hair drops into the carpeting and is driven into the backing with foot traffic. If you donot rinse, these materials remain in your carpeting. When a carpet is appreciably soiled rinsing is required. Most carpet mills require the rinsing of the carpeting every 12 - 18 months to maintain your warranty.

These methods are similiar to putting soap in your hair and wiping the soap off with a towel - sound like a good idea?

SHAMPOO – A method in which an alkaline detergent solution (usually 8-10 pH) is scrubbed into the carpet to loosen soil, followed by wet dry vacuuming. Very little soil or shampoo is recovered in the wet-dry vacuum tank.

STEAM CLEANING (also referred to as hot water extraction) – A system where an alkaline detergent solution (9-11 pH or higher) is sprayed into carpet under pressure to loosen soil and then a majority of the solution is extracted by means of a vacuum system.

COMBINATION METHOD – A system where the carpet is first shampooed to loosen soil and then given a rinse with a steam machine (truck mounts give the best rinse) to remove soil and alkaline residue. A recent study found this to be the best method for carpet cleaning.

For the consumer to make a wise choice in picking a cleaner, he must first understand what constitutes good cleaning and what problems can develop from poor cleaning. We will try to explain the benefits to look for and the potential problems to be avoided.

Soil on carpet is normally acid and must be neutralized with an alkaline solution to remove. Neutral is 7 pH, shampoo is usually 8 – 10 pH, and steam is usually 9 – 13 pH or higher. Shampoo because of the brush, is made milder than steam solution. The biggest problem with either method is the alkaline residue left by cleaning solutions that are not rinsed from the carpet fibers after cleaning. You cannot clean and rinse with the same solution.

Alkaline hydrolysis is a condition of potential damage of fibers brought about by alkaline cleaning agents not rinsed from fibers after cleaning. The major effect is the weakening and breakdown of the plasticizers found in natural and synthetic fibers. The plasticizers give the fibers elasticity and bendability and allow them to spring back after being stepped on. This condition may not be apparent for many months after cleaning and is usually blamed on poorly crafted carpeting. This problem can be avoided if the carpet is rinsed with neutral or mildly alkaline solutions after cleaning.

Another problem caused by residue is the rapid resoiling rate of the carpet. This necessitates cleaning more often compounding the alkaline residue problem and true cost.

Quality is hard to judge - price can be very misleading. The cheaper cleaner may be leaving an alkaline chemical in your carpet a thousand times stronger than one rinsed from the carpet by another cleaner. One cleaner will spend a considerable amount of time on the detail work, traffic areas, stains, while another will spend very little time. The more expensive cleaner is well worth the additional price if he is paying attention to detail, putting extra effort into traffic areas, has the professional knowledge to work on stains (and uses it), and most important rinses the carpet with a separate neutral or mildly alkaline solution after cleaning or loosening soil.

The cost of good cleaning is worth the price when you compare that price with possible premature replacement.

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Dunne Cleaning Specialists Inc.
3050 S. 25th Ave - Broadview - Il - 60155

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