Tag: carpet cleaning

How Clean Should I Expect a Carpet to be After Carpet Cleaning?

How clean should a carpet be after it has been freshly cleaned? No other question will perplex most carpet cleaners as this very question, and with good reason.

The dictionary definition of clean is free from dirt, marks, or stains. So should a carpet be free from dirt, marks or stains once it is cleaned? Hardly! Hardly you said? Indeed. Let me explain.

No other question in the world of cleaning is so controversial as to define what is an acceptable level of clean, but we must recognise that complete of exhaustion of soil from a carpet is limited by sheers physics and time contraints. We can only ever reduce the level of soiling in a carpet.

Let me give some real-world examples to illustrate this before a semi-technical explanation.

Example 1. Take your dirty car to a DIY pressure cleaning car wash, and give it a thorough blast and clean. Let it dry in the sun. Then re-wet a section of the car with some water some water and wipe it with a white cloth. You will notice that there is some level of soil transfer to the cloth.

Example 2. Throw a freshly cleaned load of laundry back through the washing machine, and collect the effluent from the second wash in a bucket. I bet its still got some dirt in it!

Unfortunately, we can not get even close to the level of clean that either of the examples above are able to achieve on a fixed, wall to wall installation of carpet, unfortunately. Here is one semi-technical explanation as to why.

For the illustration, I will let you imagine a cup full of urine. Yuk! If I empty the cup and rinse it once with water, would you be prepared to drink from it? Of course not! You instantly recognize that a small amount of urine has clung to the inside wall of the glass, and some small quantity of urine is still going to be present after one rinse.

When we clean a carpet with an extraction wand, the same limitations are at play. The individual carpet fibre is under vacuum, and the soil embedded emulsion closest to the fibre moves at the least velocity due to parasitic drag. This is not intended to be a discussion on fluid dynamics, but in fact the physics governing fluid motion guarantees that some level of soil will always remain. With the carpet cleaning process, we are essentially undertaking a process of DILUTION, NOT complete EXHAUSTION/REMOVAL.

The quantity of soiling that is removed from a carpet, and the quantity of soil that remains is difficult and impractical to measure. The best practical tool we have to getting acceptable soil reduction levels is utilising the steam cleaning (hwe) process cleaning system recognised in the standard AS/NZS 3733 Textile Floor Coverings – Cleaning Maintenance, which is the most effective soil reduction process, through to the lesser capable dry cleaning (low moisture) systems, coupled with experience (to know which system is of best fit). There exists no acceptable and recognized method for concluding whether a carpet has been cleaned properly other than to review the regime undertaken by the carpet cleaner, and compare it to the standard. Re-wetting a carpet and wiping it with a white cloth will yield some soil transfer on a freshly cleaned carpet for all the reasons specified above, and is NOT an acceptable measure of the quality of a carpet cleaning service. In fact, AS/NZS3733 tacitly acknowledges that soil will be removed from a freshly cleaned carpet, by stating the carpet cleaning process needs to be followed up with post vacuuming upon drying of carpets AFTER cleaning. The purpose being to remove unrecovered dry soil.

The take away message in all of this is that regular carpet maintenance, which includes bi-weekly vacuuming (preferably with an upright, cylindrical brush vacuum or equivalent), and periodic professional carpet cleaning (cleaning before large quantities of soil are visible), is the best way to promote hygiene, appearance and longevity of a carpet, and to keep soil load to a minimum.

Very Low Moisture Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning

Mighty Clean Carpet offer a particular type of carpet cleaning service that incorporates a technology called “Encapsulation”.

Encapsulation utilises a specific, polymer based detergent, that dries down to a non-sticky substance. Encapsulation detergents can be used with the steam cleaning (more correctly known as hot water extraction) system, but are more typically incorporated into dry cleaning (more correctly known as low moisture) cleaning systems.

How is Encapsulation performed?

Typically, encapsulation, when used in a low moisture cleaning regime, is either sprayed or shower fed onto the carpet. A mechanical means of agitation brings the encapsulating detergent into contact with the soil in in the carpet, helping separate it from the fibres.

Is the soil removed?

Low moisture encapsulation can be performed in a variety of ways. One way is to use bonnets. Bonnets are a type of fabric pad, which have both scrubbing and absorption properties. When encapsulation is performed with bonnets, the detergent is brought into contact with the soil and scrubbed, and some of it is absorbed and removed. Encapsulation can also be performed with non-absorbing scrubbing pads and brushes. In this instance, the soil is scrubbed into the solution, and the solution is left in the carpet to dry. The encapsulated soil is removed subsequently through regular vacuuming.

If encapsulated soil is still in the carpet, does it look clean?

Providing the soil load has not reached a certain threshold, and the soil type is compatible with the detergent, the answer is yes – the carpet does look clean. Essentially the soil is brought into contact with the detergent, and distributes itself over larger volume of carpet. The reduction is soil intensity in any given area is one of the reasons the carpet looks immediately clean. The polymers in the encapsulating detergent also help (temporarily) repair scratches on the fibre which make carpet look dull, and have a crystalline structure which reflect light.

So is the soil still in the carpet after cleaning?

Yes, but it is wrapped in a very fine polymer coating, and distributed in such a way that it is not visible (when performed in the correct situation). The next dozen or so vacuuming cycles will typically snap and chip the dried up polymer, completing the cleaning cycle.

What advantages does encapsulation offer?

Encapsulation can allow for large areas of carpet to be cleaned quickly, quietly and efficiently. There are enormous reductions in water usage (compared to extraction cleaning), and in some instances the residual polymer provides some protection and barrier to future soiling.

In what instance would you use encapsulation, and wouldn’t use it.

Very low moisture encapsulation was designed as a commercial carpet cleaning system, where carpets are frequently vacuumed, and require rapid drying times with good visual outcomes. Deep spills and soils are not addressed as well with encapsulation, and encapsulation is not suitable for pathogen control (removing blood, urine, faeces or vomit) from carpet. The soils we encounter in most instances domestically, require extraction cleaning. Domestic carpets are typically lived on (sat on, layed down on, crawled on). In most instances domestic carpets are better suited to deep extraction cleaning, although there are exceptions to this.

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Mighty Clean Carpet Cleaning Penrith is a leading provider of carpet and upholstery cleaning in the Penrith area. Our philosophy is simple: To deliver the most safe, most effective, and affordable carpet cleaning service.

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