Why HydraMaster is your best choice for Restoration Equipment…

HM-RestorationCollageHydraMaster Restoration equipment is based on a 45+ year track record of HydraMaster reliability, durability, and dependability. Everything we make has to be part of this reputation. The HydraMaster restoration product line is rooted in the reality of the restoration equipment income earning marketplace. The large majority of water damage HM5000-Singlerestoration jobs are billed to and paid for by insurance companies. Rather than focusing exclusively on industry focused technical standards, the HydraMaster product range seeks to find the right mix of drying performance with the level of income that the equipment can produce, and that insurance companies are willing to pay.

The restoration equipment market today seems to be dominated by two opposing forces. First are US Based companies who were the pioneers of establishing the restorative drying industry who work hard to make sure industry standards of care see the science of restoration in a way that fits their product performance. The other are foreign manufactured equipment focused seemingly on making airmovers, dehumidifiers, and air scrubbers as inexpensively as possible to try and wrestle market share from the pioneers. Performance and quality control take a back seat to flooding the marketplace (pardon the pun) with multiple varieties of the same equipment at an inexpensive price.

IMG_9920The quality, conscientious restoration contractor is caught in the middle. In truth, he/she can charge the insurance company the same nightly rental rate for an inexpensive, foreign made  1/3 HP airmover as they can the cream of the crop airmover from the pioneer company. What they don’t know about is quality of construction, safety considerations, warranty and technical support, and more when it comes to that less expensive piece of equipment.

The HydraMaster line of restoration equipment provides both domestically produced HM3000_Masked_0743and foreign made airmovers, air scrubbers, and dehumidifiers, ozone generators, and flood extractors. The equipment is manufactured to our exacting standards with quality control people and mechanisms in place whether the equipment is made in the United States or overseas. Here’s what you can count on when choosing HydraMaster Restoration equipment:

  • Uncompromising Performance – When it comes to CFM, gallons per Hour of water removed, or fail-safe electronics and certification that you need to safely and effectively operate in a wet environment, we take no short cuts. Low amp usage for daisy chain capability and reduced power usage, GFCI breakers and ETL Certification for safer operation, and rugged and reliable design and construction for longevity make our product line your best choice.
  • Hassle-Free Warranty Service – on the rare occasion something goes wrong HM_HassleFreeBadgePATHSoutside of regular maintenance, HydraMaster’s legendary technical support and hassle free warranty support kick in.
  • Phone Technical Support – Our HydraMaster Technical Support line puts you in touch with our highly trained, patient and reliable tech support team to talk you through your operations, maintenance and troubleshooting questions. They are available Monday through Friday from 7am – 5pm (PST)
  • Competitive Pricing – Our equipment is not the most expensive, and it is not the cheapest either. We demand a high level of performance, safety testing, and quality no matter what factory it is made in.

Would you like to know more about our restoration equipment? Click here

 

 

Why Portable Extractors are Gaining Increasing Popularity with Restoration Contractors

I was recently speaking with one of the top executives at one of the largest restoration OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfranchises in the world. He spoke eloquently of the fact that he was seeing a trend in many large restoration companies going back to high performance portable extraction equipment as a “replacement” for the truckmount in their restoration equipment arsenal. It wasn’t your typical argument over whose “dog is better and bigger in the fight” that so often dominate the discussion of what kind of equipment to use in our industry. It was really an intelligent conversation about what makes the most sense (and cents) from a logical business management standpoint.

So why is there a trend toward portable extractors with some large restoration contractors? It certainly is not because they can’t afford truckmounts. Many of these companies do multiple millions of dollars in revenue. It certainly is not because they don’t understand the full capabilities of truckmounts. Most of them have operated a variety of slide-in and direct drive truckmounts in the past. I think it is actually an evolution of sorts in the on-going development of restoration companies.

The advantage of having a strong and reliable heated portable extractor is invaluable. Undeniably one day, just about any restoration contractor will run into a restoration job at a multi-level facility – one where you they won’t have the ability to run hundreds of feet of hose from a truckmount to the area where the work is being done. In addition, there are many industrial, government, or commercial buildings where for security reasons they have a closed door policy. They don’t allow doors to be ajar for long periods of time. A strong, reliable portable extraction unit like the FloodKing may be exactlyflood-king-moving_HydraMaster what they need. But most restorers already have a portable for those types of jobs. Why are portables gaining a foothold as the primary carpet cleaning and water extraction machine in some companies?

It has to do with how they invest their money into their capital equipment. The big advantage that most restoration equipment has over any type of extractor (truckmount or portable) is that it creates revenue without the use of labor. In other words, it is taken onto the job site, set-up, plugged in, and it starts earning money. For an extraction machine to make money, there has to be someone “attached” to it (a technician), operating it and using it to extract water or clean carpeting or hard surface floors. Some restorers simply don’t have a lot of situations where they have a need for cleaning capability from an extractor. Their thought is – why would I invest $60 – $80K in a truckmount and van, if we only use it on a few jobs per week, and sometimes it sits for weeks at a time. If the large restoration company does not offer carpet cleaning services , and uses their equipment for extraction and restoration only, it simply makes better sense (and perhaps cents) to invest in a portable extractor rather than a truckmount. If the restoration company does a lot of extraction and job clean-up (carpet cleaning, hard surface cleaning, pressure washing, etc…, ), plus they still offer carpet cleaning services, then a truckmount almost always still represents the right decision.

So what is the right kind of portable for the restoration contractor? Restoration PEX500-blue-Rtcontractors who need extraction capability constantly and cleaning ability occasionally certainly want to invest in a portable with strong cleaning capability. That is what makes the PEX500 the portable of choice for those restorers. The PEX500 provides you with the extraction power of dual 3-stage pex-loadingBluevacuums with unrestricted airflow. When cleaning, the combination of the most powerful heater available in a portable and an adjustable solution pump up to 500psi gives you truckmount like cleaning capabilities. But it is the “easy” transport design of the PEX that makes t so ideal for restoration. Built in a “dolly-style” format, the PEX is the very easiest to load and unload from a vehicle high performance extractor built. Add to that it is the easiest to go up and down steps. This makes it the perfect choice for the restoration contractor taking it to a wide variety of homes and businesses. Many restoration contractors choose the HydraPort 400 High OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerformance Extractor from HydraMaster. The HydraPort 400 gives you the cleaning power of adjustable pressure up to 400psi, and in inline heater. It does this in a very economical package that is perfect for the occasional cleaning job and for extraction. For extraction only capability, the FloodKing is the ideal restoration choice. The innovative design has increased the efficiency of the airflow by top mounting dual 3-stage vacuums, thus eliminating stand-pipes and bends into the tank. This significantly reduces restrictions in airflow and increases efficiency. Powerful yet efficient, the 3-stage vacuums only use 13 Amps of power with one cord which is ideal HM_FloodKingfor flooded sites where power may be limited. The FloodKing’s ergonomic and lightweight design makes it easy to handle by one person with little or no bending or stooping. Large rear wheels carry the FloodKing up and down stairs or nearly anywhere you need it to be, to complete the job with little effort or strain. To increase productivity, two (2) diaphragm bilge pumps automatically and continuously remove the waste water from the 9 gallon recovery tank through a standard 3/4″ garden hose at 10.5 GPM, thus eliminating the need to stop and empty the tank.

What is the right decision for your company? HydraMaster has a complete line of truckmounted and high performance heated portable extractors. Use our experience to help make sure you make the right investment for your company. Would you like more information? Let us know here.HM-PortablesCollage

 

 

 

 

Why are HydraMaster Direct Drive Truckmounts the Number #1 Choice for Restoration Contractors?

HydraMaster has long been the leader in the manufacture of Direct Drive Truckmounts.Ziggy 1 The HydraMaster CDS is the truckmount champion for restoration professionals. It has been the industry’s leading van-powered restoration cleaning systems for over two decades. Now, the restoration contractor has a choice with the HydraMaster CDS xDRIVE truckmount, mounted in a Ford Transit for even more room for all their restoration gear.

The question for you may be why? What makes a direct drive truckmount the perfect restoration choice?

  1. Reliability – You need your Truckmount to be reliable and dependable. The last thing you need is for your machine to go down in the middle of a large restoration job where downtime is already working against the home oCDS in 4 Wheel drive vanr business owner. HydraMaster Direct Drive truckmounts are designed and proven to be the most reliable truckmounts on the market.
  2. Ease of Training and Operation – Direct Drive Truckmounts are the easiest truckmount to operate so your training curve is greatly reduced and you can have newly hired technicians being productive in the field faster.
  3. Security and Noise Reduction. With the CDS or CDS xDRIVE, you can close the doors on your vehicle while running the equipment. You won’t be upsetting any neighbors and the police because when you close the doors of your van, you won’t be much louder than an idling van. Plus, with your vehicle totally locked up, you can operate securely knowing no one is pilfering around in your vehicle while your technicians are extracting water in a building
  4. More Room. Space is so important on a restoration work truck. You have to have IMG_9860retroom to haul all of your restoration gear. The more gear you can fit in your vehicle, the more you can put on the job. And that means revenue. With an extended GMC van you have 170 cubic feet of space for what every equipment you need for that restoration job.  With a mid or high roof Ford Transit you have even more room – plus you can stand up in the van! The CDS and CDS xDRIVE have the smallest footprints of any truckmounts in the industry and will leave you with the most room of any truckmount on the market.
  5. Versatility – Versatility in cleaning AND extraction – your truckmount is a beast when it comes to all of the cleaning challenges you may face on a restoration job: carpet & upholstery cleaning; hard surface floor cleaning; sidewalk, porch and entry way cleaning; water extraction; and pressure washing. Both the CDS and the CDS xDRIVE handle all of these challenges and more with no problems.
  6. Sanitization – You work so hard to sanitize surfaces that have been affected by water intrusion with disinfectants. Have you ever considered the incredibly important sanitizing effects of hot water from your truckmount? Indoor air quality tests performed on behalf of the EPA in the 1990’s showed a massive reduction in biological contamination in carpeting simply from being cleaned with a truckmount. Add to that fact the recent tests in 2014 that showed a reduction in allergens and mold spores in carpeting when cleaned with a truckmount. Maintaining consistently hot cleaning solution across a textile or hard surface improves the healthfulness of an already compromised indoor environment.
  7. Productivity – extracting or cleaning a hard or soft surface does require labor to do the job. A truckmount allows you to do it faster and better. A truckmount with maximum vacuum and heat that consistently runs at its highest level like the CDS or CDS xDRIVE makes you even more productive. Another often overlooked advantage is when you combine the extraction power of a HydraMaster Direct Drive Truckmount with the massive recovery capabilities of the RX20 Rotary Jet RX20Extractor. In fact, studies done of extraction tools, and their capabilities in standing water extraction demonstrated that the RX20 was the number one performing cleaning and extraction wand in its abilities to extract the most amount of water. Only a ride-on extraction only tool and a stationary sub-surface extraction tool extracted more water. The RX20 give you fantastic cleaning power, PLUS the ability to extract more water on a restoration job.
  8. Protects the Contents of Your Van from the Elements – Have you noticed that weather does not necessarily cooperate with you needing to extract water on a job site? Or clean up the mess? Rain, snow, wind, hail, sleet, and even extreme cold are not match for your CDS or CDS xDRIVE truckmount. Why? You can close up your van and operate with the doors closed. You don’t have to worry about the contents of your van getting wet, dirty, or being frozen. They are all snug and protected inside your warm running vehicle.

Nothing beats the performance of a Direct Drive truckmount from HydraMaster on a DSCF0098restoration job site. With the extraction performance you get from a Truckmount you will be able to extract all water possible, do it in a timely and efficient manner and be able to place your drying equipment faster and move onto the next job quicker.

Would you like more information about HydraMaster Direct Drive Truckmounts and how they can fit perfectly into your restoration work? Click here for more information.

Communicating with your customer before the residential cleaning job

Great! Now you have the job booked! So what should you communicate with the Technician with customercustomer prior to the visit? There are different names for it, and many different ways to communicate it (a printed sheet when you book the job, direct mail, email, in social media, on your website); but essentially you are asking them to take some steps prior to your visit to make things on the job site go easier and faster. Now easier and faster is certainly a benefit for you. But you need to think about what is in it for your customer. Before you give them a long “to-do” list, part of this communication needs to be about explaining why taking these steps is a benefit to them.

imagejpeg_1001The most important benefit to having them prepare the home for your visit needs to recognize that reducing the amount of time the total job – from set-up to cleaning to tear down to drying- is a big advantage to them. They want their home back to normal as fast as possible. Reducing the time the job takes reduces the inconvenience of not being able to use their home in a normal manner.

So what can you include in your precleaning communication? Feel free to copy paste and use any or all of these into your own communication. Comments to each listing are in italics.

We are so pleased that you have chosen our company to provide your carpet and/or hard surface floor cleaning services. Prior to our arrival, there are a few steps we would ask you to take so that the cleaning process goes as smoothly as possible. These steps will allow us to provide you with a faster and more efficient cleaning and reduce the amount of time it will take before you can return to fully enjoying the comfort of your home:

  • Any carpet that we will be cleaning should be thoroughly vacuumed prior to our arrival. Removing the dry soils before we apply any cleaning solution greatly improves the cleaning results. If you’re unable to vacuum before we arrive for whatever reason please let us know so that we can set aside time to vacuum the carpet. (This should be edited to match how your company operates. Even if you pre-vacuum on 100% of the area you are cleaning, it is still a good idea to suggest this to your customer)
  • Another helpful consideration is that we would ask you remove any knick-knacks, breakables, collectibles, vases, lamps, pictures, small end tables, and plants out of the areas we’ll be cleaning before we arrive, and secure other breakables as well.
  • Our truck mounted carpet cleaning machine produces a cleaning solution that reaches temperatures of 200-230 degrees. Please ensure that you, your children and/or pets are out of the area we are cleaning or clear of our hoses while we are working. We want everyone to be safe in your home while we are working. (If using a portable or a low moisture system, adjust this wording)
  • Remove any small furniture items or fragile items that you are able to move, such as dining room chairs, magazine racks, ottomans, etc. Please pin up (or use a clothes hanger to hang away from the floor) any full-length draperies or skirts on upholstered furniture that may be touching the carpet.
  • Please make sure that children’s toys are picked up and stored in an area off the carpet or floor we will be cleaning.
  • Please note that your electronics, pianos, china cabinets, sectional sofas, beds, entertainment centers, aquariums, and antique and fragile furniture cannot be moved by our technicians. If you would like the carpet or floors under these areas to be cleaned, you should make arrangements to move these items prior to our arrival. Alternatively, we can clean carpet underneath such items when sufficient room is available, or we can clean right up to the edge of these items. (This is another item you will want to adjust to your specific policies. It is also a good idea to check with your insurance agent on what you are and are not covered for)
  • During our pre-inspection or pre-cleaning walk-through, please advise us if you have any areas that require special attention, and spots or stains or pet “accidents” that you are especially concerned about. (If you use a Seal-a-door or other door covering device during cleaning, this would be a good place to add that you do that and why – security and keeping warm in or out)
  • Be aware of and plan for your outside door being ajar during the cleaning process. Put your pets in a safe, quiet place where our cleaning crew won’t disturb them. (If you use a Seal-a-door or other door covering device during cleaning, this would be a good place to add that you do that and why – security and keeping warm in or out)
  • If it is convenient for you, we would appreciate being able to park our van close to the door in your driveway or parking lot where our hoses will be entering. Please note: For safety reasons – we will NEVER park inside a garage or carport. Our cleaning equipment is powered by a gasoline motor and outside parking will ensure proper ventilation. (If you are not using a truckmount, then you would eliminate this item)
  • As a general rule, so long as it is safe for out technicians to operate, we will continue to clean during rain or snow. In the case of severe inclimate weather, we may ask you to reschedule for safety reasons. (Adjust this to the climate you work in)
  • We prefer to hook up our truckmounted equipment to your outside water faucet. Please clear the area so we can access your faucet safely and easily. In special circumstances, if required we can access a faucet in your home. (Again, use this one only if you are operating a truckmount)

After completing your checklist, you want to reassure your customer what a smart investment they are making in having booked your company to clean their carpet or hard surface floors. You also want to reiterate that if they have questions or concerns before, during, or after the job, how to communicate with you and to encourage them to communicate with you.

Consider something along the lines of:

We are looking forward to the privilege of working with you as a valued client in providing you with a cleaner, safer, and healthier home. Our state of the art equipment and processes, operated by our trained and certified cleaning technicians, will provide you with the cleanest clean. Our reputation as a superior company is not just built on how well we clean your carpets and floors, but also in how we provide a superior hassle-free customer service experience. Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns.

 

The Goal of Upholstery Cleaning

In pursuing how to properly clean upholstery, we learn about how upholstery is IMG_0174constructed; i.e., we learn about fiber content, weaves, finishes, and construction of the fabric can all affect the outcome of the cleaning. You have to be concerned about the quality of your cleaning results (usually appearance improvement); shrinkage; browning; yellowing; weak or fugitive dyes that may bleed; spots and stains; and change in the texture of the fabric.

Your expertise in carpet cleaning gives you an excellent base knowledge to move on to upholstery cleaning, but it does not make you expert upholstery cleaner.  One reason for this is that with carpet you are dealing with only a few fibers or blends, and there are only a few basic methods of carpet construction.  In furniture cleaning, the fibers, blends, and construction of the fabric are much more varied, (in fact most upholstery fabrics are blends of more than one fiber).

You will have to be aware of many more possibilities when cleaning upholstery than with carpet.  Where carpets are tougher and meant to handle years of abuse, most imagejpeg_1001furniture fabrics are delicate and designed for their decorative effect rather than their durability and “cleanability”.  We say this not to scare you, but to make you aware that a little added expertise is required to handle most of today’s furniture fabrics.  When it comes to pre-testing and cleaning upholstery, you have one main goal: remove as much soil as possible, without changing the color or texture of the fabric.  If you forget this, and you are too aggressive, you may find yourself in a situation that is difficult to correct. Perhaps even more importantly, the goal of upholstery cleaning, like any service you provide has to be to make money doing it. To quote one of my mentors, industry instructor, Doug Bowles, you need to “make money, while staying out of trouble.”

Part of learning how to correctly clean upholstery lies in learning how to identify the fiber content itself. There are plenty of reference articles out there about how to do a burn test or chemical test to do this. Keep in mind, however, that identification of the fiber content is not the only prerequisite for cleaning that fabric. Trying to identify a blended fabric by burn testing can be confusing.  Try testing a nylon-rayon blend with a cotton backing coated with latex for stability, and let us know how it comes out.

It is important to know that you can clean a fabric successfully without knowing the exact fiber if you follow the basic rules of cleaning, and if you TEST your cleaning method to be sure that it is safe for that piece. Pretesting is important because it provides useful information about dyes, finishes, and construction.

So very often it is important to come back to the basic goal of upholstery cleaning: remove as much soil as possible, without changing the color or texture of the fabric. With this as our main driving factor, regardless of the fabric being cleaned, there are three important rules you can remember in cleaning upholstery.

Control your moisture – Many cleaning related problems are directly related to over-wetting.  You should always avoid over-wetting. Use the proper tools and cleaning procedures and you can avoid most of these problems. The best way to do this is to either use a low moisture upholstery cleaning tool, or even better use a shearing effect tool that IMG_0159cleans across the face of the fiber rather than shooting water down into it like the HydraMaster DriMaster 3 Upholstery tool. Issues related to cleaning upholstery can be dramatically reduced simply by using the DriMaster 3.

Control your pH – Too high of pH can cause bleeding, browning, and other types of problems.  Most times you will be using a mild alkaline, and at times a neutral or even an acid chemical may be needed. You would not clean upholstery with your carpet scrub wand. It is usually better not to use your carpet cleaning chemicals to clean upholstery with either. Products specifically formulated for upholstery cleaning like HydraMaster-CleanMaster FabricMaster Fine Fabric, Upholstery CollageFabricMaster HD, WoolMaster, Natural Orange and Rinse-Out are specifically formulated for the specific soils that characterize upholstery soiling.

Speed up your drying – Most problems occur during the drying step, not instantly.  By

 

reducing the dry time of the fabric, you will greatly reduce the chance of bleeding, browning, or wicking.  An air mover can be your best friend in cleaning upholstery. Your technicians are much more likely to use a lighter weight, easier to carry airmover like the HM1000 Micro Airmover from HydraMaster.

For specific how to step by step instructions on many of the most commonly encountered upholstery fabrics, see our hands-on upholstery cleaning reference guide by clicking here.

 

Why Do We Clean Upholstery?

IMG_0159The reasons may vary from company to company:

  • Our carpet cleaning customers expect it of us.
  • We do not have to develop the market. Our carpet cleaning customers often ask us or expect us to be able to clean their upholstery
  • Properly trained, we can make good money at it.

According to two different industry surveys, people who have had their carpet cleaned by a professional said that upholstery cleaning was the “add-on” service that the technician most often tried to sell to them. Why would upholstery cleaning be the most likely “add-on sale”? It is an “easy” sale, and the customer expects us to be able to do it!

But I want you to think about that for a minute. Think about all of the other service menu items your company could offer as an “add-on sale?”

  • Fabric protection
  • Tile & Grout cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Restorative cleaning for stone surfaces
  • Wood floor recoating and renovation
  • Rug cleaning

The diversification choices available to the professional carpet cleaning contractor are wide and varied. Yet upholstery cleaning is the most likely “add-on” service most are likely to offer. Now compare upholstery cleaning to other add-on services. Isn’t upholstery cleaning one of the highest risk and potentially the lowest profit margin add-on service we provide? The truth is that most upholstery is easy to clean. What should stop us in our tracks though is the fact that the very small risk of cleaning an upholstered piece that does not resupholsterypond to cleaning properly still exposes us as cleaners to a very large potential loss.

Is upholstery cleaning really that complicated? Preview the technical talk that you may have learned about related to upholstery cleaning for just a moment. These are all things we may encounter when cleaning upholstery

(1) Weaves

(2) Textures

(3) Cellulosic man-made fibers

(4) Polymer based synthetic fibers

(5) Natural fibers

(6) Multiple layers of fabric

(7) Incorrect cleaning codes

(8) Unstable dyes/coloring

(9) Thoughtless manufacturing techniques

(10) Fabric manufacturer ignorance (marking the foam underneath with a permanent marker whose ink may transfer when the outside fabric gets wet qualifies as one example to me)

What should our attention is that fact that occasionally when we clean a lot of upholstery; we get “caught.” You can do everything “right” and still have something go very wrong. You can do what you are taught to do, in accordance with industry standards of cleaning, and still have the upholstered fabric respond in a negative way. If you clean enough upholstery, you will eventually have to “buy” a piece when that happens. You can have all of the liability waivers and pre-inspection forms in the world, but eventually you will have a situation where re-covering or buying the couch is less expensive than a long drawn out fight with a customer. You either need to make sure you have the right kind of insurance coverage to help you in this situation, or you need to charge enough and set enough money aside to deal with this when it happens. Preferably you should do both. But there-in lays another challenge.

The increased “value” (price) needed to justify the time and effort it will take your company to clean the piece safely and correctly (in accordance with industry standards of care) isn’t always manifest in the perceived “value” the furniture has to your customer. How is the “value” defined or determined? Did they purchase the sofa from a high end furniture retailer for thousands of dollars, or is it a “hand me down” sofa from Aunt Edna they got for free?

 Do not kid yourself! It is true that almost every stitch of fabric out there can be cleaned, BUT not everyone wants to pay you enough to do the pre-testing, and follow the right cleaning procedures in cleaning it. You may have to learn how to say “NO, THANK YOU!” Just because we can clean a certain piece of upholstery doesn’t mean we should clean that piece of upholstery!

Now there are some really unique upholstered fabrics out there that can’t be cleaned and that you would be best to walk away from. Some fabrics are just plain not cleanable, by any method, using any system! The truth is though…that most upholstery cleaning related problems are caused by us – when we overwet the fabric and/or use too aggressive of a pH in our cleaning chemistry.

What are some of the basic differences between cleaning carpet and cleaning upholstery?

  • “Thickness” of the fabric. Upholstery is a thin fabric. Carpet is a much heavier textile.
  • Layers – some upholstered fabric has more than one fabric in its construction.
  • Construction – upholstery is most often a woven fabric. Carpet is usually a tufted textile.
  • What’s behind it? Carpet has a pad or cushion and usually a wood or concrete subfloor. Upholstery has foam cushion and the wood, metal or plastic framework of the furniture.

What are the basic differences in soiling conditions between carpet and upholstery? Upholstery is most affected by the following types of soil:

  • Skin and body oils
  • Dead skin
  • Hair treatments/sprays
  • Airborne oils
  • Pet hair
  • Food and beverage spills
  • Skin lotions and treatments

The Goal of Upholstery Cleaning

As you learn more about how upholstery is constructed, you will learn about fiber content, weaves, finishes, and construction of fabric. Any or all of these components can have an effect on the cleaning process. You have to be concerned about the quality of your cleaning results (usually appearance improvement); shrinkage; browning; yellowing; weak or fugitive dyes that may bleed; spots and stains; and change in the texture of the fabric.

Your expertise in carpet cleaning gives you an excellent base knowledge to help you out when cleaning upholstery, but it does not make you expert upholstery cleaner. One reason for this is that with carpet you are dealing with only a few fibers or blends, and there are only a few basic methods of carpet construction.  In furniture cleaning, the fibers, blends, and construction of the fabric is much more varied, in fact most upholstery fabrics are blends of more than one fiber.

You will have to be aware of many more possibilities when cleaning upholstery than with carpet. Where carpets are tougher and meant to handle years of abuse, most furniture fabrics are delicate and designed for their decorative effect rather than their durability and cleanability.  We say this not to scare you, but to make you aware that a little added expertise is required to handle most of today’s furniture fabrics. When it comes to pre-testing and cleaning upholstery, you have one main goal: remove as much soil as possible, without changing the color or texture of the fabric.  If you forget this, and you are too aggressive, you may find yourself in a situation that is difficult to correct.

Three rules to successful and safe upholstery cleaning

It is important to know that you can clean a fabric successfully without knowing the exact fiber if you follow the basic rules of cleaning, and if you TEST your cleaning method to be sure that it is safe for that piece. Pretesting is important because it provides useful information about dyes, finishes, and construction. Three of the most important rules you can remember in cleaning upholstery are:

Control your moisture – Many cleaning related problems are directly related to over-DM3 3_4 front drama with hosewetting. You should always avoid overwetting. Use the proper tools and cleaning procedures and you can avoid most of these problems. This is where the HydraMaster DriMaster 3 Upholstery tool can make a HUGE difference. With the DriMaster 3 Upholstery Tool, the cleaning solution is applied in a thin, flat fluid stream for even application. The constant solution flow is trained by the patented injector bar and slotted vacuum port system, which means there is no spray jet to clog. The cleaning solution shears across the fabric rather than directly spraying into it, which greatly minimizes the likelihood of over-wetting the fabric. In addition, the immediate vacuum recovery of solution flow means less residual moisture, which leaves the fabric cleaner and dryer.

Control your pH – Too high of pH can cause bleeding, browning, and other types of problems. Most times you will be using a mild alkaline, and at times a neutral or even an Upholstery Collageacid chemical may be needed. In addition, remember that the soil you are trying to clean from upholstery is quite different than typical carpet soil. Review the list above. HydraMaster has formulated a line of cleaning solutions that are specifically designed to safely and effectively clean the various types of upholstery you will encounter. Check out the complete line here.

Speed up your drying – Most problems occur during the drying step, not instantly. By reducing the dry time of the fabric, you will greatly reduce the chance of bleeding, browning, or wicking.  An air mover can be your best friend in cleaning upholstery. AHM1000 Upholstery Drying HM1000-3quarterviewsmaller, lightweight airmover will be more likely to be carried into your customer’s homes by your technicians and are small enough the airflow can be directly applied to the upholstery and its cushions. The HydraMaster HM1000 Epic Micro Airmover works perfectly for this and costs a great deal less than conventional airmovers.

For more information about the most effective ways to clean upholstery, you can download our FREE cleaning app for your smartphone, tablet or computer. If you would prefer something more conventional, feel free to download our free cleaning procedures guide for upholstery you can print out here.

Wastewater Disposal – What’s a cleaner and restorer supposed to do?

lsWhy should I be concerned about the wastewater resulting from my carpet cleaning services?

Several times a month, we get a question about where the wastewater (or recovered material) generated from operating a truckmount, portable. or even low moisture carpet cleaning system should be disposed of. It does not take long when perusing on-line forums or Facebook groups made up of cleaners and restorers to hear the story of a carpet cleaner who has found trouble with local law enforcement agents over what is the illegal dumping of wastewater from a waste tank into the storm sewer system. Stories are told of large fines being levied against the cleaning company. This always generates a lot of questions from other carpet cleaning companies about what the proper way to dispose of wastewater is.

We could give you our opinion, but it is always better to hear from independent experts:

“Wastewater from carpet cleaning may contain dirt, soap, oil, grease, solvents, and other toxic chemicals (that pre-existed in the carpet). These common pollutants can enter our waterways and harm the plants and animals that live there”

Good business practices for Carpet cleaning and wastewater disposal – State of Washington Department of Ecology

“There are at least five areas of potential concern regarding wastewater disposal: Synthetic fibers, solvent spotters, pesticides, phosphates, and industrial soils”

Wastewater Disposal Procedures – Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), Copyright 1994, Third Edition 2010

It is unethical and ILLEGAL to dispose of your wastewater into the storm drain system

“Storm drains discharge directly into lakes, creeks, and waterways untreated. This is illegal dumpingwhy it is dangerous and ILLEGAL to dispose of carpet cleaning wastewater into the storm drain system (including driveways, parking lots, and street gutters). Carpet cleaning businesses must implement appropriate best management practices (BMPs) to prevent these pollutants from entering storm drains or ditches.”

Good business practices for Carpet cleaning and wastewater disposal – State of Washington Department of Ecology

“There shall be NO discharge of wastewater to storm water management systems or onto streets, curbing or drains feeding these systems”

Wastewater Disposal Procedures – Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), Copyright 1994, Third Edition 2010

So what is the best way to dispose of wastewater resulting from my carpet cleaning services?

“Disposing wastewater within a sanitary sewage treatment system is allowed in most municipalities (consult with local regulations). Under most conditions, this is the preferred method of wastewater disposal.”

Wastewater Disposal Procedures – Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), Copyright 1994, Third Edition 2010

“Arrange with the client to allow you to discharge into the toilet, bathtub, or utility sink that flows to the sanitary sewage treatment system. If this is not possible, plan to transport the wastewater off-site and dispose of it properly and an authorized discharge point.”

Good business practices for Carpet cleaning and wastewater disposal – State of Washington Department of Ecology

They HydraMaster Automatic Wastewater Disposal System (AWDS) is the most efficient HM_AWDS_Masked-112957smway to transfer your wastewater back into the home or business you are cleaning so that it can be disposed of into a bathtub, toilet, or industrial sink where it enters into the sanitary sewage treatment system. Stay compliant – Stay Safe! Transporting 70-100 gallons of wastewater back to your facility or another disposal site adds hundreds of pounds of weight to your van potentially causing additional wear and tear and increases your fuel consumption.

Best practices for carpet cleaning wastewater management to help protect the environment and be a good citizen of your community:

  • Check with local and state authorities for any special provisions on wastewater management to ensure you are in compliance with regulations
  • Make sure that your equipment is well serviced and that all filters are operating properly. Maintain tanks, hoses, and fittings to prevent wastewater leaks or accidental discharges
  • All recovered wastewater should be pre-filtered to remove synthetic fiber and other non-biodegradable materials, prior to disposal with your AWDS.
  • Train all operators and cleaning technicians on appropriate carpet cleaning best management practices as well as pollution prevention and wastewater discharge requirements. Never discharge wastewater directly into the street, curbing, parking lot, or any area leading to the storm sewer system. Never discharge wastewater directly into natural bodies of water or to land surrounding natural bodies of water.
  • The pH of your wastewater should range from 5.5 to 9
  • Use your AWDS system to transport your wastewater into a home or business where it can be properly discharged into the sanitary sewage treatment system.

For more information, you can also watch this video.