Developing a Planned Commercial Carpet Maintenance Program


Commercial Carpet Cleaning

Analyzing Building Use and Floor Plan

To set up a Planned Commercial Maintenance Program several aspects need to be taken into Blueprint 3consideration.

1. The type of building involved, single or multistory, size of building. This will determine to a large extent the type of carpet cleaning equipment that will be used.

2. The type of commercial activity involved needs to be considered. This will determine the length of time between cleanings, how much time is allowed to complete the cleaning,  and whether or not the building or area can be shut down during the cleaning process.  The type and amount of traffic has a bearing on the cleaning schedule.

3. The exterior of the building is an important area for planned maintenance. A lot of soils are tracked in or carried in with air currents. Proper cleaning of parking lots and entrance aprons to buildings, entrance mats both exterior and interior should be planned.

4. A floor plan of each level of the building needs to be considered and areas assigned a category for proper cleaning schedules to be determined. Potential sources for a copy of the floor plan include an evacuation plan and blueprints.

Note on a facility map the primary areas of concern:

-     Track-off areasBlueprint

-     Funnel areas

-     Main traffic areas

-     Spot prone areas

5. The next step in the analysis is that the type of floor covering in each area needs to be determined. Where they are located in relation to each other and in the building should be taken into consideration.  A hard surface floor preceding carpet will require the carpet to be vacuumed and cleaned more frequently, due to soils being tracked off of the tile floors.  As you proceed further into the building, or in the case of a high rise, up the floors in a building, it is especially important to note the type of floor covering. The first are where carpet is the dominant floor covering reallyHard Surface Floors 12.13 serves as a giant “walk-off mat” for the rest of the building and will need to have more frequent deep, restorative cleanings. The square footage of each area needs to be known.

A. Hard surface:

Concrete:  Sealed, unsealed, polished, stamped. Painted, type of paint, waxed, condition, grade level.

Vinyl: Type, Manufacture, Condition, Previous maintenance, Manufacturer’s recommended maintenance

VCT or Resilient tile: Type, Condition, Age, Asbestos content, intended use, types of floor finish needed, types of floor machines that can be used in that location.

Wood: Type – solid, engineered, laminate. Type of finish, condition

Ceramic tile, Saltillo

Terrazzo – polishing techniques

Stone – geology, construction, polishing techniques

B. Carpet:commercial-carpet-tile

  • Type of carpet,  type of construction, type of fibers, style, dye methods, manufacturer’s  cleaning recommendations, type of installation.

Components of a Planned Maintenance Program

1. Soil Prevention: Attention should be given to the exterior of the building to see that the parking lots are being properly maintained and cleaned. The entrance of the building needs to be power-washed to prevent dirt from being tracked in. Proper mats should be utilized outside the entrancewalkoffMatsImage and inside the entrance of the building and properly maintained. One way to properly maintain these mats is to use a professional cleaning service for mats. These mats need to be large enough to allow people to make about three to four footsteps across the mat to properly clean shoes. All potted plants need to have plastic protectors placed under them to prevent stains on the carpet.

2. Daily Maintenance: Most areas need to be vacuumed daily and check for spots.

3. Interim Maintenance Cleaning: This is the carpet cleaning that is done in between corrective or restorative cleaning. This is accomplished by low moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning or surface hot water extraction cleaning. Other methods employed may be absorbent pad, absorbent compound, or dry foam shampoo carpet cleaning. This is done on an as needed basis.

4. Restorative or Corrective Cleaning: This is accomplished using a truck-mounted or high performance portable hot water extraction machine. In some severe cases the carpet can be cleaned with a shampoo system first which gives superior agitation and then followed with a HWE to insure complete removal of the detergents.

Recommended Cleaning Frequencies

Soil and Traffic Level Vacuum Spot Removal Appearance Maintenance


Restorative Cleaning

Private offices, cubicles


2+ times

per week

As needed 2-4 times

per year

1 times

per year


Interior hallways, shared offices, conference rooms


3+ times

per week

As needed 4 times

per year

2 times

per year


General entrances, lobbies, main hallways


1+ times

per day

As needed 4-6 times

per year

2-4 times

per year


Severe climate general entrances, food service

1+ times

per day

As needed N.A. 12+ times

per year


Assign Area Designations

Each area of the building needs to be assigned a category based upon the amount of traffic it receives or type of area it is. Then a maintenance program can be established based upon each area. Always consider the profile (high-medium-low) of the area by understanding the usage and importance of an area: areas that customers go; VIP offices, conference rooms, etc…

Note that in your cleaning schedule, all procedures that are in red and underlined are the variables in method and frequency which may be employed. This also can be used to customize to the specific equipment and brand being employed.Blue  print 2

Putting the Plan on Paper

  • Prepare and use drawings. Color code each room of carpet to the category it fits best.
  • You can use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word® to customize procedures
  • You can use a graphics program (Microsoft Publisher®, Adobe InDesign) or even a painting program to make the color coded map.
  • You will note in each section below that the terms and words that are italicized are those that are variable to your specific client and to your company. These are the areas where you customize the quote to fit your company and the facility you are bidding on.

Category 1:  Severe Traffic Areas:

Examples: Airports, Entries to Hospitals, Malls & Theaters

Cleaning schedule:

  1. Vacuuming: All areas need to be vacuumed with a commercial grade vacuum cleaner on a daily basis. Consider use of a pile lifter monthly. Vacuums which use HEPA filters are recommended.
  2. Spot Cleaning: All areas need to be spot cleaned as needed by a trained professional using proper techniques to insure the use of proper chemicals, agitation, and rinsing. Standard procedures do not require pre-spotting, rather the carpet should be cleaned normally then spots cleaned after, if residue remains.
  3. Interim (Appearance) Maintenance Cleaning: Carpet needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis using a low moisture encapsulation cleaning system.
  4. Restorative Cleaning: This should be performed on a monthly basis to remove any residues from Interim Maintenance Cleaning procedures, to remove deeply imbedded soil, refresh the texture of the carpet and for overall indoor air quality. This should be done utilizing a Hot Water Extraction truck mounted equipment or a High performance portable machine.


Category 2:  Heavy Traffic Areas:

Examples: entrances, showrooms, lobbies, corridors, stairs, hallways, retail sales floors, executive offices, clerical office areas, food service areas, elevators, channeled traffic flow areas, break rooms, mail rooms

Cleaning schedule:

  1. Vacuuming: All areas need to be vacuumed with a commercial grade vacuum cleaner on a daily basis. Consider the use of a pile lifter on a monthly basis. Vacuums which use HEPA filters are recommended. .
  2. Spot Cleaning: All areas need to be spot cleaned as needed by a trained professional using proper techniques to insure the use of proper chemicals, agitation, and rinsing. Standard procedures do not require pre-spotting, rather the carpet should be cleaned normally then spots cleaned after, if residue remains.
  3. Interim (Appearance) Maintenance Cleaning: Carpet needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis using a low moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning system.
  4. Restorative Cleaning: This should be performed on a quarterly basis to remove any residues from Interim Maintenance Cleaning procedures, to remove deeply imbedded soil, refresh the texture of the carpet and for overall indoor air quality. This should be done utilizing a Hot Water Extraction truck mounted equipment or a High performance portable machine.

Category 3:  Medium Traffic Areas:

Examples: some hallways, shared offices, conference rooms

Cleaning schedule:

  1. Vacuuming: All areas need to be vacuumed with a commercial grade vacuum cleaner on a daily basis. Consider the use of a pile lifter on a quarterly basis. Vacuums which use HEPA filters are recommended.
  2. Spot Cleaning: All areas need to be spot cleaned as needed by a trained professional using proper techniques to insure the use of proper chemicals, agitation, and rinsing. Standard procedures do not require pre-spotting, rather the carpet should be cleaned normally then spots cleaned after, if residue remains.
  3. Interim (Appearance) Maintenance Cleaning: Carpet needs to be cleaned on a monthly basis using a low moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning system.
  4. Restorative Cleaning: This should be performed every six months to remove any residues from Interim Maintenance Cleaning procedures, to remove deeply imbedded soil, refresh the texture of the carpet and for overall indoor air 1uality. This should be done utilizing a Hot Water Extraction truck mounted equipment or a High performance portable machine.

Category 4:  Light Traffic Areas:

Examples: Private Offices & Cubicles

Cleaning schedule:

  1. Vacuuming: All areas need to be vacuumed with a commercial grade vacuum cleaner on a weekly basis. Vacuums which use HEPA filters are recommended. .
  2. Spot Cleaning: All areas need to be spot cleaned as needed by a trained professional using proper techniques to insure the use of proper chemicals, agitation, and rinsing. Standard procedures do not require pre-spotting, rather the carpet should be cleaned normally then spots cleaned after, if residue remains.
  3. Interim (Appearance) Maintenance Cleaning: Carpet needs to be cleaned on an as needed basis using a low moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning system.
  4. Restorative Cleaning: This should be performed every six months to remove any residues from Interim Maintenance Cleaning procedures, to remove deeply imbedded soil, refresh the texture of the carpet and for overall indoor air quality. This should be done utilizing a Hot Water Extraction truck mounted equipment or a High performance portable machine.

Each Customized Program Should Include:

  • Color Coded Map
  • Written Procedures Plan
  • Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annual Procedures
  • Follow-Up On Every Job
  • Emergency Response Plan
  • Water Damage and Intrusion Plan



Pre-Inspection Procedures for Restorative Cleaning of Stone, Tile & Grout, and Finished Concrete Flooring Surfaces

Talking with customerAfter you have had the chance to carefully study, practice and understand how to identify the type of hard surface floor you are being asked to restoratively clean (see previous blog entries), it is time to consider the specific procedures necessary before you start the job itself. This is often referred to as the “pre-inspection” phase. Pre-inspection is the most important part of any restorative cleaning job. As the old adage goes, a problem identified during the pre-inspection process belongs to the customer. A problem revealed during the cleaning process itself belongs to you. During the pre- inspection process, there are five very important goals to accomplish:

  1. Evaluate the floor by identifying pre-existing conditions.
  2. Increase your chances for a successful outcome by under-promising and over-delivering.
  3. Recognize conditions that could be created or revealed during cleaning and keep them from become problems.
  4. Point out repairs and corrections and floor restoration that might need to be performed that exceeds the parameters of the restorative cleaning job that. This opens up additional income earning opportunities for your company or a referral partner you outsource these jobs to.
  5. To be sure your scope of work and pricing accurately reflects the work you will need to perform.    

Pre-Inspection Guidelines

  1. The first thing to evaluate is the INTEGRITY of the floor and installation. Check for –
    1. Lippage or uneven installation of the floor with some of the tiles or stone being higher than others. Variations of 1/16” are acceptable.
    2. The only means of correcting lippage is to grind the affected tiles until they are all even. Lippage can not be corrected by cleaning procedures and in some cases, severe lippage may prevent you from being able to effectively clean the floor .
    3. Loose tiles or stone can be located by tapping the floor with a rubber mallet or a wooden handle. A hollow sound indicates the tile is not firmly attached to the underlayment. Record the number and location of any loose tiles.
    4. Note any cracked or damaged tile or stone.
    5. Look for missing, cracked and loose grout. This may come out during the cleaning process. Missing or damage grout can be repaired for an additional fee.
  2. Moisture underneath the tiles could indicate a serious problem.
    1. A moisture meter can be used to compare moisture levels before and after the job.
    2. Excess moisture indicates a leak or other source of water under the flooring and also an increased likelihood of efflorescence.
    3. Checking moisture levels also indicates when the floor has returned to normal moisture content and is ready for seal.
  3. Additional Pre-inspection procedures –
    1. Check for wax or topical coatings as discussed earlier. If there is a coating that needs Hard Surface Floors 12.13to be removed, allow for the extra work in your schedule and pricing.
    2. Determine porosity of the stone or tile. A porous floor will require more preconditioner. The floor will absorb more water and require longer to dry.
    3. Porosity also influences the amount of sealer that must be applied. Apply less sealer than the floor will hold and you have not provided the most effective application. Apply more sealer than the floor will absorb and the excess will dry on the surface forming a milky, white haze.
    4. Look for signs of efflorescence – a precipitate that has the appearance of a white, chalky powder-like substance on the surface of the grout or stone or porous tiles such as saltillo.. Some efflorescence will look like crystals. This type is more difficult to remove.
    5. Scratches, abrasion and other indicators of wear are not removed by cleaning! This means a clean floor may not have the same level of gloss it once did.
    6. Abrasive wear is common in softer stone.
    7. Correcting scratches requires polishing which is a separate and additional service from cleaning.
  4. Your pre-inspection may reveal that a job poses potential problems beyond your experience or skill level. Know when to walk away from a job that could be unprofitable or holds risks you are not willing to accept.
  5. Preparation and Set-up
    1. Determine all areas that need to be prepared and protected prior to starting the cleaning job – Door ways, floor transition areas, stairwells, appliances, walls, furniture
    2. Always take into consideration any carpet or wood floors that are that adjoin the floor being cleaned. Protect with a double layer of plastic to prevent damage from overspray or splashes.
    3. CAUTION! Acid cleaners can permanently damage stainless steel. Keep any stainless stell appliance or fixture or brass fixture from coming in dirct contact with any acid cleaning solution you use on the job
    4. Review the steps necessary to do the job. An ounce of prevention prevents call-backs and damaged property!
    5. Make sure your customer has signed for and approved all the options you have discussed.
    6. Be realistic about extreme situations. Under-promise and over-deliver!
  6. Now you are ready to proceed to the cleaning job itself. Specific step by step procedures for cleaning stone, tile, and finished concrete can be downloaded by clicking here.




How long should a carpet take to dry after hot water extraction cleaning?

On an industry bulletin board or Facebook Forum, this topic can bring out thoughts, arguments, excuses, defense mechanisms and more like no other. How important is how long the carpet takes to dry to the residential or commercial carpet cleaning customer? One only has to look at the fact that there are at least 6 different carpet cleaning methods, most of which were developed for the primary purpose of making the carpet look better and to reduce drying times. Secondly, entire franchises and cleaning systems have been developed around the principle that their method or system dries faster than the other carpet cleaner in town method or system does. So what is the answer?

How long should a carpet take to dry. The answer may not be the one you were looking for – it depends.

“It depends – what kind of answer is that?” Glad you asked.

How long a carpet takes to dry after cleaning is related to the cleaning method used, the application of that method, the chemistry used to clean the carpet,the equipment used, the type and construction of the carpet, the type and degree of soiling, and carpet owner considerations. Even more importantly, drying time is always directly related the ventilation and airflow in the building or home during and after cleaning. The humidity of the indoor and out door environment are also extremely crucial considerations

Let’s start with a basic principle that is often overlooked. All things being relatively equal between one professionally trained and truckmount equipped carpet cleaner and the next, I would propose the number one consideration in drying time is the carpet owner themselves. Why are they getting their carpet cleaned? Do they want it just to look better or do they want it healthier? How often do they get it cleaned? What are their expectations? Quite simply, the owner of an extremely soiled carpet that is not professionally cleaned on a regular basis has some high expectations about how clean you can get the carpet and how much better they want it to look after you clean it. Because of that, you may use more chemicals and more “wet” passes to get it clean than you would normally. That will virtually always extend the drying time. If the most important part of your job is clean carpet and appearance improvement, then drying times may be extended.

Let me put this in a way I think you can relate to – if drying time is an extremely important consideration for your customer, the number one thing they can do is to have their carpet cleaned more often! Carpets cleaned on a regular basis will always take less time to dry, regardless of all of the other contributors.

The second way the carpet owner is the number one reason on how long a carpet takes to dry is whether they allow the drying time reductions you have set up to operate. This can include ventilation and airflow through the area, open windows, and keeping the airmovers you set up pointing in the right direction and running. If you clean a commercial building late at night and minutes after you leave (or even while you are there) everything is shut up and the ventilation or air conditioning system shuts off, the moisture can’t evaporate and drying times will be extended.

So what can you contribute to reducing drying times?
1) Select the right truckmounted equipment and use it whenever possible. Make sure the solution pressure and water flow rates are balanced by the vacuum recovery capabilities of the truckmounted unit. If the job dictates the use of a portable extractor, the same principles of balanced solution flow and vacuum recovery apply.
2) Airflow – Most cleaners have experienced the benefits of using 2″ vacuum hose as far into the home or building as they can and the use of a 2″ wand instead of a 1.5″ wand. The science behind these ideas tells us they should reduce drying times.
3) Heat – The use of hotter water as you extract increases evaporation rates and reduces drying times
4) Choose the right prespray - select a prespray that matches the soiling conditions of the carpet and the construction of the carpet. One of the reasons why CleanMaster and other chemical companies offer so many choices is because of this principle.
5) Wand selection – The use of laminar flow and slotted glide scrub wands like the Evolution wand has been demonstrated to reduce drying times versus a conventional scrub wand. On extremely soiled carpet, the use of a RX-20 Rotary Jet Extractor will greatly reduce your drying time as compared to a scrub wand.
6) Accelerate the drying process – after you have cleaned a room, set up centrifugal (snail style), axial, or directed flow airmovers across the carpet to speed up evaporation rates and reduce drying times. According to Dr. Michael Berry’s Book – Cleaning for Health, Protecting the Built Environment, using an air mover across the carpet after cleaning has another benefit. Ventilation and airflow are important in releasing trapped gases and aerosols from the soil suspended during the cleaning process.
7) To prevent wicking of soils and reduce drying time on some carpets after hot water extraction cleaning, you can run a dry bonnet across the carpet

Top 10 Reasons to have a FreshWater Tank on Board Your Truck

What advantages does having a freshwater tank provide to your carpet cleaning and restoration operations?


Now more than ever, we recognize that room in your van is at a premium. With so many cleaners and restorers diversifying into hard surface cleaning, rug cleaning, water damage restoration and more, the need to haul more equipment and customer belongings is greater than ever. So when examining whether to make the extra investment required to mount a fresh water tank or hose reel/freshwater tank combination in your van, finding the right mix of how to use your space for greatest benefit is very important.

We asked a group of experienced professional carpet cleaners who had made te decision to start carrying freshwater with them, what the most important benefits they discovered that led them to that decision. Here is a summary of their top 10 reasons:
10) No stumbling around in gardens and behind thorny bushes trying to find a hose hook-up
9) On commercial jobs, you won’t spend 45 minutes looking for a water hose hook-up only to find out you don’t have the right adapter
8) You can ensure that your freshwater comes from a clean, consistent source
7) One less hose to have to run
6) Easier and faster set-up, quicker and more efficient tear down on every job
5) Completely self-contained operation
4) Reduce job cancellations on sites where water access is locked up or water has been turned off.
3) Make sure you have water available on restoration jobs where availability might be in question
2) Water rationing in drought stricken areas may require it (as you are allowed to use water when your customers usage may be extremely limited)
1) Choosing the right kind of tank means you don’t have to take up any floor space in the van that your truckmount is already not taking up.

Here are just some of the choices you have with HydraMaster:
70 gal Sub-Mount Tank – Fresh Water Supply

110 gal. over-the-wheelwell poly tank

125 gal. HydraCradle Tank

85 gal. Roto-Molded R-M Tank

120 gal. Horizontal Tank

Why you still want to use a Urine Pretreatment on virtually every pet urine job

Deodorizing treatments for pet urine contamination have come a long way in our industry. There was a time when cleaners used some strong solvent based deodorizer and hoped the incredibly sad-dogpowered fragrance would overwhelm the atmosphere. Today, there are many different effective treatments in your arsenal – enzyme/bacterial deodorants, encapsulating and bonding deodorizers such as CleanMaster Multi-Phase, Oxidizing treatments such as CleanMaster USR with Multi-Phase, and various other solvent and water based deodorizers. Chances are, you already have picked out a favorite or two that you use consistently.

We know that urine contamination is a “quadruple threat.” It needs to be neutralized, deodorized, and sanitized. Plus, we need to get out the stain that may have resulted either from the color of the urine “re-dyeing” the carpet or the resulting alkaline salts attacking the dye structure of the carpet.Urine contamination is not only an odor issue but a staining issue and a health / contamination issue.The client who appreciates all four of these problems is willing to spend more for proper corrective action. You already know that customer education is an effective sales tool.

So with all this new chemical treatment technology, can’t you just skip the urine pretreatment step and go right into using your tried and true favorite deodorizer and/or stain remover? The answer is yes, and no. If you have been on enough jobs with a lot of urine contamination, you have already encountered the sticky, almost greasy feeling mess that often accompanies a build-up of pet urine. upsYou may or may not know that lipids are oily cholesterol in the urine.Repeated use of the same spot by the dog or cat will result in an oily build-up that prevents water based solutions from penetrating.The carpet will feel sticky or oily. The fact is, if you are fortunate, your enzyme deodorant may include lipase enzymes which are designed to digest the lipid build-up. However, it will usually take hours for that to take effect and be complete. Your favorite “cide” type encapsulating deodorizer does not contain any ingredient which will dissolve or break down these oily lipids. Neither does your oxidizing treatment. Your $25-$80 per gallon deodorizing treatment is going to have trouble penetrating this build-up of lipids in the carpet. It is going to have to work extra hard to try and do its job. A specially formulated urine pre-treatment like CleanMaster UPS is designed to neutralize the resulting alkaline salts in urine contamination. More importantly, it is formulated to break through and dissolve the sticky, oily mess that is keeping your deodorizer from working faster. Using a urine pretreatment will virtually always greatly speed up the treatment process of your other favorite treatment chemical. A 2-3 minute  application of CleanMaster UPS will save you time, decontaminate the area, and reduce the amount of expensive deodorizer you have to apply. It will virtually ALWAYS save you time and save you money.

Not every acid spotting solution works effectively as a urine pretreatment. A great Urine pretreatment like CleanMaster UPS  is a special synergistic blend of acid neutralizers, detergents, odor counteractants, and decontamination deodorizers for use as a urine contamination neutralizer and to dissolve and break down the oily, sticky lipids. It will effectively dissolve and dislodge alkaline salt residues that build up in urine deposits and neutralize sticky and gummy  lipids and contamination.

Cleaning the “New” Softer Carpets

By:          Doyle Bloss, Marketing and Brand Manager, HydraMaster   Rick Evans, West Coast Regional Manager, HydraMaster

With the assistance of Charles Rollins and Darrell Hagan, Shaw Industries – Product Care and Maintenance

What are these “softer” carpets?

They are incredibly thin denier (thickness) cut-pile and loop carpets presented in a plush, high pile density format. They range in ounce size from 50-100 ounce (apartment grade carpet is generally 20-28 ounce). They are typically designed for high-end residential settings. However, some hospitality companies are considering for using in high end hotel rooms.

The formats for the carpets differ from carpet mill to carpet mill. Shaw Industries product is identified as Caress®, made of type 6 nylon. Invista manufactures StainMaster® Trusoft® which is made of type 6,6 nylon. Mohawk’s Smartstrand® is made of PTT polyester fiber. Beaulieu sells Bliss SoftSense® which is also made from Polyester.

They are relatively new product offering with Shaw introducing Caress in January of 2013. However, they are gaining market share in the carpet market rapidly. Many old-time carpet cleaners believe this is because they have finally identified and marketed one of the main reasons why people buy carpet – softness. The ads for these carpets reflect this, showing happy families with their pets playing, laying, rolling, and jumping on their new soft carpet. When you get a chance to visit a retail showroom and feel this carpet for the first time, the softness of the fiber strikes you instantly. With many of these carpets now being installed for over a year, your chances of having to clean one increase daily.

Difficulty in Vacuuming

This softer carpet provides obvious benefits to the homeowner, particularly one who enjoys the floor(s) of the room it is installed in. However, just as your hands and toes sink into the thick soft pile, so does the cleaning head of your typical vacuum cleaner. More power just means more fiber getting sucked into the head reducing or stopping airflow through the vacuum. This makes vacuuming more difficult to do.

The carpet manufacturers themselves have even a bigger concern than vacuuming taking longer. They are even concerned about texture damage to the ends of the thin carpet fibers themselves. In fact many of the same vacuums they have recommended in the past (such as those that have passed the CRI Seal of Approval Program for Vacuums – ) they do not recommend for these softer carpets. For example, Shaw Industries now does specific testing of vacuums for use on Caress carpet, and they approve and recommend a specific group of vacuums  –

Here is an update on Shaw Industries research on vacuums from Darrell Hagan – the Manager of Product Care and Maintenance:

 “Vacuums work best when the brush roll is turned on vacuuming this soft carpet.  I believe the key is airflow, as you mentioned.  One thing in common with some of the vacuums is the plate underneath the vacuum head has slots which allow air to flow underneath the vacuum to keep it from sealing off on the carpet.  Also, vacuums are being modified to have pressure relief valves to reduce suction which allows the vacuum to move across the carpet.  The difference in the soft carpet vs. traditional carpet is that suction isn’t the key, we believe it is the agitation of the brush roll that is key to cleaning the soft yarn carpets.”

Potential Issues Related to Professional Carpet Cleaning

While the evaluation of issues that vacuums might have with this softer carpet pile can teach us some things related to how various carpet cleaning wands and agitation methods might work or not work on this type of carpet; this conjecture was not enough to satisfy the Product Care and Maintenance folks at Shaw Industries. Recently, Charlie Rollins and Darrell Hagan for Shaw Product Care and Maintenance flew to HydraMaster headquarters in Mukilteo, Washington to do some testing on the interaction of various cleaning tools (specifically hot water extraction wands and power wands) with this softer carpet. I had been in contact with Charlie and Darrell asking them questions about this, and with HydraMaster being one of the leading innovators and developers in carpet cleaning wand technology; it only made sense to start their testing here. Specifically, Shaw and HydraMaster wanted to look at three areas for evaluation:

  1. The use of Rotary Jet Extraction on these types of carpets with the RX-20.
  2. The Evolution Wand – how did the built in molded glides assist or restrict cleaning of these carpet fibers and what were the differences between a 1.5” wand and a 2” wand.
  3. Was there chemistry which stood out in performance to assist cleaning these carpets, specifically in the area of presprays used as a lubricating application to make the wand easier to move across the carpet?

Specifically, the testing team was looking to see the effects that cleaning these types of carpets with existing technology in truckmounted equipment and cleaning wands might result in changes in:

  • Productivity
  • Texture Change/Damage
  • Drying Time
  • Spots and Stains
  • Any Specific Tool Related Issues

 The Testing

  • 60, 70 and 100 ounce cut pile Shaw Caress carpets were used in the testing.

Picture of carpets

  • A HydraMaster Boxxer XL Truckmount was used. We were cleaning 150 feet from the truck, with the solution temperature at the wand constantly being monitored with an in-line pressure and temperature measuring device. Temperature settings on the machine were purposely varied from 180-245°F.

Boxxer xl

  • The first thing we tested were HydraMaster’s sister company, Advance Commercial Vacuums, leading models and how they performed on vacuuming the carpets.

Advance vacuum

  • We tested with various types of conventional scrub wands

Conventional scrub wand

  • We tested cleaning with both 1.5” and 2” versions of the Evolution Wand with molded glides

Evolution wand

  • Finally, we tested with the RX-20 Rotary Jet Extractor


Results and Findings

Overall, the results of our testing alleviated or reduced any fears or misgivings about the “cleanability” of these carpets. We found the carpets overall to be very responsive to vacuuming, cleaning, and spot and stain removal. Certainly one of the reasons for this is the high quality of the carpets themselves. A 60, 70, or 100 ounce carpet does not come inexpensively. I will tell you after completing the tests, everyone at HydraMaster involved in the testing were ready to go home and put this carpet down in their living rooms. The luxurious feel of these carpets can simply not be denied. We can see why these carpets are gaining market share fast.


We did find that one of the things we anticipated held true. Certified and trained professional carpet cleaners have long known that plush cut pile carpets virtually always requires some specific care considerations. As with all plush, cut pile style carpeting, special attention must be given to monitoring the potential for scrub wand jet streaking.

Wand marks 2Wand marks 1

Variables include

  • Type and number of jets on the wand
  • Proximity of the jets to the carpet pile
  • Angle of jets to the carpet pile
  • Wear on the orifices of the jets themselves – make sure you replace your jets at regular intervals recommended by your wand manufacturer. If the orifice becomes too large, this can contribute to jet streaking.
  • Temperature of solution being produced at the wand jet tip
  • Taking a dry stroke or pass only
  • Post cleaning grooming


Productivity Best Practices

General cleaning considerations

These practices were developed after repeated tests to see how to increase cleaning speed, avoid any agitation/texture change related issues, and a very important item considering the plushness of these carpets – reducing drying times. Can you clean these carpets safely and effectively with “normal” cleaning procedures? The answer is yes. These procedures are designed to speed up the process without compromising quality cleaning.

  • Carpet grooming with Grandi-Groomer is highly recommended after cleaning (faster and more effective than grooming brush)
  • Carpet density mandates using airmovers post cleaning to reduce drying times

Using Cleaning Wands

  • 2” scrub wands are very difficult to move across a 100 ounce carpet connected to a truckmount.
  • Dry strokes (vacuum only wand passes) are absolutely necessary
  • Use of the Evolution wand reduced drying times in comparison to conventional wands.
  • Glided wands will be an absolute must! Slotting in the glide is important too.
  • A Continuous overlapping wet pass, followed by continuous overlapping dry pass cleaned the fastest, worked best, and dried the fastest

Using Rotary Extraction Tools Such As the RX-20 Rotary Jet Extraction® Tool

  • The RX20 worked extremely well on 60 and 70 ounce carpets. Use on a 100 ounce carpet required a great deal of strength and stamina. See chemical prespray directions below, as the use of a lubricating prespray helped considerably.
  • Swirl “marks” groomed out right away and are not a concern
  • There was no visible physical texture change from rotary action. Even at abuse level (no water lubrication) there was no pile texture damage visible. (Of course, we did this to measure “worse case scenario,” you should never operate any rotary extraction tool without water or prespray).
  • The use of a rotary extraction tool is highly recommended for productivity and reduced drying times on 60 and 70 ounce carpets.

Cleaning Solution Consideration

The use of a high quality carpet prespray is a must when cleaning these types of carpets. The prespray helps to lubricate the carpet so that the scrub wand or rotary extraction wand flows more smoothly across the carpet. As a general rule, detergent free or soap free formulas such as CleanMaster HydraFREE DFC will not provide the level of lubrication you want on these soft carpets. Since these carpets are made of either nylon or polyester, you can use most of your favorite carpet presprays. However, we had great results cleaning our test samples after soiling built up with CleanMaster Fast Break HD and CleanMaster PolyBreak as presprays. We also found that if you wanted to use an alkaline extraction rinse, HydraClean worked extremely well. If you prefer an acid neutralizing rinse, our studies showed that a solution which does have detergency in it, like CleanMaster ClearWater Rinse worked extremely well.

From a spot and stain removal point of view, the high quality of these carpets means that they are more likely to resist staining from common spills than an apartment grade nylon or polyester carpet. When a staining material such as children’s fruit drinks was applied, it usually extracted out during cleaning. When we purposefully tried to stain the carpet, and agitated the spilled material down into the carpet and waited 48 hours before treatment began, we had excellent results removing stains with CleanMaster RedBreak 1 or CleanMaster KnockOut 1, depending upon the composition of the staining material. At no time, other than with mustard was acceleration with heat from a steam iron or wallpaper steamer necessary. That certainly does not mean these carpets are “stain-proof,” and we know your customer’s children will answer the call to eventually provide a more difficult stain, but based upon the limited testing we did on these types of carpets, they certainly responded well to spot and stain removal treatments. We also found that using a sub-surface spotting extraction tool, such as a Water Claw® or FlashXtractor®, on larger liquid spills helped reduce any chances of spilled materials wicking to the surface of the carpet pile later.

One final thought and finding related to spot and stain removal – due to the plush nature of the carpet pile, if grease and oil spilled contaminants were rubbed into the carpet, or “ground-in” with foot traffic, it was important to agitate solvent spotters and gels into the affected area to increase speed and efficiency at removal. We believe this same principle would hold true if these carpets are subjected to long term high levels of oil based soiling and traffic; i.e., that using the right prespray, and mechanical agitation such as using a Counter Rotating Brush (CRB) will be necessary to increase cleaning speed and effectiveness, especially with those made of polyester carpet fiber.

So what is A Professional Carpet Cleaner to Do?

The good news is you are already likely equipped with all of the tools and chemistry needed to effectively clean this carpet. More importantly though, you may need to slow down and approach these carpets with a kinder, gentler set of procedures. You may have to clean them with a little more thought and observation as to how the cleaning tools are going across the carpet and what kind of texture change is occurring from your cleaning tools. Without a doubt, drying time is going to be extended if these carpets are allowed to reach an unacceptable soiling level. You can get them clean, but it will take more wet passes. The manufacturers of these carpets recommend cleaning every 12-24 month basis with hot water extraction cleaning. Some require this as a provision of their texture retention or stain resistant warranty. Educate your customers to this fact so that their cleaning frequency does not allow the carpet to become extremely soiled. This will allow them to get the full benefit of these soft, plush, and luxurious carpets. Then everyone is happy.

Asphalt Oil Tracking and Carpet Cleaning

Brand New Commercial Carpet + Freshly Treated Asphalt Parking Lot Outside = Bad Combination.

HydraMaster Quake HD + HydraMaster HydraBoost CT= Good combination

 asphalt parking lot


You have probably seen it without even realizing what the problem was. Yellow or dingy traffic lanes on glue down commercial carpet that has not been installed that long. One of the most common problems facing commercial buildings that adjoin asphalt parking lots when it comes to commercial carpet maintenance is asphalt oil tracking. The worst tracking occurs when the parking lot has a special coating of oil applied. Before it completely dries, people are walking across the parking lot picking up oil and soil and pebbles on the bottom of their shoes. Even if walk-off mats are installed, some of the soiling eventually gets walked on or tracked on to the carpet. Even if the parking lot is not coated, in especially hot weather, oils usually weep out of the asphalt, causing the same problem. These oils that get tracked onto the carpet become oxidized and turn the carpet yellow or dingy.


The professional cleaner often comes up with his super powered truckmount, expecting that they can clean anything. They throw their favorite prespray at it, and still the yellow or dingy look is obvious even after cleaning.


The answer lies in the right combination of cleaning chemistry, aggressive agitation, and hot cleaning solution temperature. Even the most powerful grease and oil cutting prespray like HydraMaster Quake HD needs help with oxidized oil build-up on carpeting. To remove the oxidized oils, simply mix up HydraMaster Quake HD according to directions, and add two ounces of HydraBoost CT to each gallon of mixed traffic lane cleaner. Apply the prespray/booster combo as hot as you can, preferably though an in-line injection sprayer. Agitate it in, preferably with a counter-rotating cylindrical brush machine. If you do not have a machine like that, use your carpet groomer or brush to agitate the mixture in. Allow 3 to 5 minutes of dwell time. For best results, extract with a HydraMaster truckmount with 220 degree water solution temperature utilizing an HydraMaster RX-20 Rotary Jet Extractor. If you don’t have an RX-20, then take an extra wet and extra dry stroke across the carpet.


The ingredients in HydraBoost CT will almost work like magic in combination with your prespray to break down and strip off of the carpet the oxidized oil build-up from the asphalt oils.