Presprays. Preconditioners. Traffic Lane Cleaners. They go by many names, but whatever you call them, they are the main cleaning solution in hot water extraction carpet cleaning, and a key part of most all carpet cleaning methods. Chances are if you have been cleaning carpets for very long at all, you have a favorite prespray that you swear by. You may have a favorite based on the soiling conditions or the carpet construction you are being asked to clean.
With hot water extraction cleaning, the prespray is the “work horse” of the cleaning procedure. They deflocculate soils, dislodge soils, emulsify soils, dissolve soils, and emulsify soils. They strip soils away from the carpet surface. The suspended soils are then carried away suspended in the rinse (extraction) water. Presprays are the fundamental cleaning solution for the suspension of soil. Remember when they taught you in your first carpet cleaning school that 79% of soil in carpeting was particulate soiling, and that particulate soiling was best removed by efficient dry vacuuming? What keeps us as carpet cleaners in business is the other 21% of soiling. It does not take a rocket scientist, a testing laboratory, or an X-ray fluorescence gun to figure out what kind of soiling in carpeting provides the greatest challenge to any carpet cleaner: grease and oil in a restaurant carpet; oil and/or salt from an ice melt product that gets tracked off; a spilled sugary drink; and airborne oils that settle onto the carpet. Anyone who ever cleaned a carpet that is impacted with these types of soils knows that removing them are what separate the good from the great in carpet cleaning. A lot of agitation and a lot of water based flushing will get particulate soils out of the carpet that the vacuum won’t get out. It’s the grease and oil and the sticky stuff that earns us our stripes and that is where the use of the carpet prespray shines. Presprays are commonly comprised of surfactants and solvents that do a better job of breaking down and dissolving these problematic oily and sticky based soils. Today’s more advanced formulations contain an integrated blend of specialized polymers, encapsulating surfactants, and organic sequestrants that help get the carpet cleaner faster, and help it to resist soiling and stay cleaner longer.
Typically presprays should be used in conjunction with a compatible extraction detergent or a neutralizing rinse agent to insure proper removal of soil and to leave the least amount of residue in the carpet. The prespray should be selected in accordance with the carpet soiling conditions and construction of the carpet. You should apply the prespray ahead of the area you are cleaning so it will have sufficient dwell time. Most often, the prespray is applied with an in-line injection sprayer, a pump-up sprayer or an electric or battery powered sprayer. However, do not apply it so far ahead of where you are cleaning that it will dry before you get there. If it does dry, do not re-apply more chemical, use your wand and re-wet the area. To make any prespray work more efficiently, consider the use of manual or mechanized agitation, either with a carpet grooming rake or brush, or a counter-rotating cylindrical brush machine after you have applied the prespray.
The professional carpet cleaner has a wide array of different formulations of presprays available for their cleaning arsenal because they encounter a wide variety of carpets, installed in a wide variety of soiling conditions and environments. There are presprays specially formulated for neglected, trashed and heavily soiled carpets such as CleanMaster Blitz with GreaseBreaker, or Quake HD.. Some are made specifically for restaurant carpets with high levels of food based oil and grease such as CleanMaster SoilBreak. There are presprays made for cleaning wool carpets such as CleanMaster FastBreak HD or WoolMaster. There are presprays manufactured within industry guidelines to be considered “greener” such as CleanMaster Release with OxyBreak. There are ultra-concentrated presprays you can safely and effectively use on virtually any type of carpet such as CleanMaster FastBreak HD. There are even prepsrays specifically formulated for olefin, polyester, and triexta carpets such as CleanMaster PolyBreak that can deal with the oil loving and water repelling characteristics of these types of fibers. Whether you choose to specialize by having several products on the truck specific to the different conditions you will encounter, or you want to keep it standardized and simple and use one solution for virtually all carpets, your local HydraMaster distributor can steer you in the right direction. The goal of any prespray is to make you clean faster and remove more soil from the carpet.