It’s become rare indeed to find carpet cleaning technicians vacuuming carpet before cleaning, especially if they are cleaning the carpet with an extractor. One reason for this is that carpet cleaning is typically charged by the square foot, not the amount of time it takes to clean the carpet. So this means that the more carpet cleaning “jobs” the technician can complete in a day, the more productive they are.
However, the technician may be doing themselves and their customers a disservice by not vacuuming carpet first and then cleaning. While this can be especially true when using the extraction method, it can be true as well when cleaning carpets using other techniques such as encapsulation.
First of all, as much as 80 percent of the soil in carpet is dry soil. The most effective way to remove dry soil is with a vacuum cleaner, not an extractor.
Vacuuming carpet first before extracting has other benefits as well, including the following:
- Some of the dry soil in the carpet may be heavier and larger soils such as gravel and sand; it may be difficult to remove these soils from the carpet using an extractor.
- Vacuuming helps loosen deeply embedded soils and “fluff” carpet fibers. This will make it easier for the extractor to remove all types of soils from the carpet.
- Wicking can become more of a problem. This is when soils in the carpet drift to the top of the carpet as it dries. This can be eliminated with effective vacuuming.
- Because vacuuming removes dry soils, this can reduce the number of times the extractor’s recovery tank may need to be emptied; this is especially true if the machine is a single-tank extractor.
- Vacuuming helps the technician get “closer” to the carpet; during the vacuuming process, the tech may notice paper clips, pins, elastics, even small toys that might damage the extractor, block a hose, and cause downtime.
- Depending on the amount of dry soil, there is the possibility that the now wet dry soil, as a result of using the extractor, can “smear” or spread soil over the cleaning path; compare it to using a dirty mop to clean floors. The mop is now spreading soils instead of removing them.
- The entire carpet cleaning process will move along faster. According to one carpet cleaning expert, ten minutes of carpet cleaning can reduce cleaning times by as much as 20 minutes, sometimes more.
With all its benefits, there are a few more things we must add.
When vacuuming, it is essential to use a commercial grade vacuum cleaner. An upright will be best for the job unless it is a loop-pile carpet. In such cases, a cylindrical-type vacuum cleaner, for instance, a canister, may be the better option.
Further, vacuum in slow, overlapping strokes, especially in heavily trafficked areas. Ultimately, these steps will make the entire carpet cleaning process easier, faster, and leave the customer happier and more satisfied with the job performed.
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