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.

Many Names. One Purpose. Faster More Effective Cleaning

ImageImageImageImagePresprays. 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.




Cleaning Up from the Winter Grime

ImageA good portion of the country is about to emerge from one of the most prolonged winters in a long time. In many parts of the country residential carpet cleaning was brought to a virtual standstill for weeks on end. Preventive cleaning and maintenance rhythms of commercial accounts were disrupted. The main people who were happy were snow plow operators and ice melt manufacturers. The good news is that in many parts of the country, spring is poking it head out from behind the bushes. The even better news for carpet cleaners is that all of their customer’s carpets took an absolute beating from all the cold, foul weather and with a good marketing program in place; the phone will start ringing off the hook. “Spring cleaning” is going to be unavoidable this year for many carpet owners.

The grime of all of the outside soil, slush, ice melt and more being tracked onto the carpet has left it in what amounts to a filthy state. Now it is time for you to step up.

So what can you expect? First the level of particulate soiling being brought in on the bottom of boots and with all the snow and slush Imageon people’s shoes will require an extra vacuuming pass or two with a high efficiency vacuum. Obviously the carpet has been exposed to a higher level of soil than typical. CleanMaster Blitz with GreaseBreaker and Quake HD are your prespray answer for these extremely soiled carpets. My personal favorite is Blitz with GreaseBreaker . There is no better prespray for filthy carpets, and since it already has the “booster” built in you are ready to go. At less than 79 cents per mixed gallon it is cost effective too.

If you have a build-up of ice melt compound in the carpet, a few steps will effectively deal with that.  Ice Melt has a tendency to clean up well on first impression, but oily residues left behind not extracted will often lead the carpet to re-soiling. Following these exact steps will effectively remove these oxidized oils from the carpet. First, mix CleanMaster UPS one part solution to four parts water. Spray that mixture down over the contaminated areas and allow it to dwell for 2-3 minutes. Then extract with extremely hot water. Then add two ounces of CleanMaster HydraBoost CT powder to your mixed gallon of Blitz with GreaseBreaker, Quake HD, or FastBreak HD. Apply the boosted with oxidizer and effervescent prespray to the entire area to be cleaned and allow to dwell for 5 minutes. For commercial accounts, extract the area with CleanMaster HydraFree DFC or HydraDri. For most residential carpets, extract the area with CleanMaster ClearWater Rinse.

The time is right to turn the winter doldrums into the spring explosion of business. Do you have a soiling issue specifically related to the long winter? Let us know what it is, and we can provide you with the best steps to deal with it.

The 7 Most Common Misconceptions about Carpet Cleaning Chemistry – Part 3


Misconception #3 – You must use “Stain resist compatible” chemistry only, on warranted carpets


When Du Pont introduced Stainmaster® (now owned by Invista) carpet in 1987, the spot and stain warranty that was tied to it really forever changed the carpet cleaning industry. It was really the first time that the downstream performance of a carpet was actually tied to a cleaning related measurement. The chemistry used to make the carpet stain resistant was not permanent, and using the wrong cleaning chemistry could actually reduce its performance and useful life. The carpet cleaning chemical world was basically divided into two worlds – stain resistant compatible chemistry and that which was not (generally measured by a pH above 10). Cationic surfactants and optical brighteners were also eliminated from chemistry referred to as “stain resistant compatible.” Virtually all residential carpet sold since 1987 is warranted for stain resistance. Some is made of nylon (like the original Stainmaster®) and some today is made from polyester, olefin, or triexta fiber. Most of these carpets still have warranty provisions which recommend or require using carpet cleaning chemicals with a pH below 10.


So what does a professional cleaner really need to know and understand? Is your world still divided between stain resistant compatible chemistry and that which is not? Well the truth is the chemistry used to make a nylon carpet stain resistant has changed quite a bit since 1987. It is probably time for a fresh study of what affects higher pH solutions and cationic detergents may still have on the chemistry that makes the carpet stain resistant. In addition, today many carpet manufacturers refer to the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval testing program to find approved carpet cleaning chemistry that is “approved” for use on their carpet. Some of these cleaning solutions and some of the cleaning solutions used in the “system” testing that have passed CRI SOA testing have a pH above 10.


Our recommendation for cleaning residential carpet, especially nylon is simple. Quit worrying for a moment whether the chemical is stamped or marked with a stain resistant compatible claim and use some common sense. You can safely assume that virtually all carpets installed in a residential setting now have had a stain resistant warranty tied to them at one point. If the carpet you are cleaning is less than five years old, then it may or may not still have a warranty tied to it. The warranty is only an issue however, if the homeowner has “lived up to” the other provisions of the warranty. Those same warranties also often require the carpet be professionally cleaned every 12-24 months. The fact is that if a carpet is professionally cleaned on a periodic basis by a certified and trained professional cleaner who knows what they are doing, utilizing cleaning chemistry with a pH under 10, or “green” carpet cleaning chemistry is likely going to get it clean and looking great every time. However, if you are being asked to clean a carpet that is 3 years or older, and it has never been professionally cleaned, the warranty is likely irrelevant. They have already violated provisions of their warranty. Remember don’t make the warranty your problem. It is the carpet manufacturer’s warranty to deny or accept. Simply explain to your customer the recommendations or requirements for periodic cleaning that are likely tied to their carpeting. You are likely going to be judged by your customer by appearance improvement at that point. Use the chemistry that you know will do the best job of getting the carpet cleaned.


Our advice is quite simple, if the carpet is professionally cleaned on a regular basis, use CleanMaster FastBreak HD Traffic Lane Cleaner or CleanMaster Release with OxyBreak as your prespray. If it is an olefin, polyester, or triexta fiber and it has not been cleaned in more than two years, use CleanMaster PolyBreak as your carpet prespray, and CleanMaster HydraFree DFC as your extraction detergent. If it is nylon, and it has not been cleaned in more than two years, use CleanMaster Quake HD or CleanMaster Blitz with GreaseBreaker as your prespray. If it is wool, and it is being properly maintained on a periodic basis, use CleanMaster WoolMaster Rug and Fabric Cleaner as your prespray. If it has not been cleaned in more than two years, use CleanMaster FastBreak HD as your prespray. If you just want to carry one prespray on the truck and keep it simple, use CleanMaster FastBreak HD as your prespray on virtually everything.