Carpet Cleaning Myths & White Lies
MYTH #1. OUR PORTABLE STEAM CLEANING MACHINE IS SPECIAL AND JUST AS POWERFUL AS A TRUCKMOUNT.
Even the most powerful portables made are limited to the amount of power or electricity they can draw from your home. That’s right…they are using YOUR ELECTRICITY to run. They typically also use YOUR WATER, and dump the waste water in YOUR TOILET. The most sophisticated portables have 2 power cords in order to harness more power, but still cannot compete with the raw power of a truckmount. There is ALWAYS a choice that has to be made when designing a portable….do you want HEAT, WATER PRESSURE or VACUUM PRESSURE? There is not enough power to provide peak levels of all three.
REGARDING HEAT – Many portables are not heated at all. They rely on hot tap water from the property they are cleaning. By the time that water reaches your carpet, you’re lucky if it’s warm. High Powered portables may offer a 2000 watt onboard heater. Most blow dryers you use on your hair have comparable wattage! Again, they CANNOT compete with a truckmounted unit. HEAT CLEANS!!
REGARDING VACUUM PRESSURE – Portables use a single 1.5 inch vacuum hose while truckmounts use 2 or 2.5 inch hoses and many have the ability to power 2 separate hoses at the same time! Again…advantage TRUCKMOUNT. A portable CANNOT produce anywhere near the vacuum pressure of a truckmount. That’s why they are forced to use smaller diameter hoses to help make up for the reduced power. VACUUM PRESSURE DRIES YOUR CARPETS!!
REGARDING WATER PRESSURE – Portables average 100-200psi of water pressure. Some high powered portables can approach 500-1200psi but are forced to sacrifice HEAT and VACUUM PRESSURE. These high-pressured portables are typically designed for tile and grout cleaning. Truckmounts easily produce 800-1200psi if needed. Keep in mind if the unit’s vacuum pressure cannot keep up with the water delivery, the result is WET CARPET! A common portable machine has 100 psi water pressure, no heater and a single vacuum unit at a cost of $1000-1500 new. Truckmount units start at around 10 times that cost without the van. Ask yourself this — Wouldn’t we all use portables if they could produce the same results as a truckmount at a cost 10 times less??
REGARDING TRUCKMOUNTS – There are essentially 2 types of truckmounted carpet cleaners. Slide-ins & Direct Drive Units. Slide-in units have their own motor independent of the van that typically range from 10-25 horsepower. The largest units may have 31hp. DIRECT DRIVE Units are powered by the Van’s engine and transmission which provides 300+ horsepower. Ripley Services uses Direct Drives and one of the largest slide-ins produced.
In the end, the choice of equipment is most often dictated by BUDGET not results. Ripley Services chose to make the up front investment in the most sophisticated and powerful equipment available so that we can provide the best results possible to our customers.
MYTH #2. OUR BONNET CLEANING METHOD IS THE BEST CLEANING METHOD FOR YOUR CARPET.
Have you ever had your carpets cleaned or seen advertisements where the technician uses a machine that looks like a floor buffer? The often advertise “dry in under an hour.” While this method is “OK” for commercial glue down carpet it is NOT the best method for residential carpet with pad. It drives dirt and stains deeper into the carpet fiber and prematurely wears the carpet surface by relying on a rotating chemical soaked “bonnet” to scrub and absorb all of your dirt and stains! The best analogy would be choosing to clean your clothing by soaking a towel in soapy water and rubbing it over the surface of your clothes? The maintenance brochure published by the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, suggests not using this method. Quote…”Bonnet cleaning systems employ a rotating bonnet of terry cloth or other absorbent material to agitate the carpet pile and absorb soil. A detergent solution is sprayed onto the pile and then worked with the bonnet attached to a rotary floor polisher. Shaw Industries does not recommend this cleaning system. The bonnet system has very limited capability for soil removal and leaves much of the detergent in the pile since it employs no real extraction. As a result, rapid re-soiling often occurs. Another disadvantage is that the spinning bonnet may distort the fibers of cut pile carpet, fuzzing the pile and leaving distinct swirl marks.” (see SHAW INDUSTRIES) . This method is EXTREMELY inexpensive to perform. The equipment is among the cheapest available of all methods. It is fast and requires very little water or chemicals, but IS NOT the method recommmended by leading carpet manufacturers. However, you can see why a company might choose this method with it’s low up front and operating costs. Hot Water Extraction or STEAM CLEANING is the method most recommended by all major carpet manufacturers.
MYTH #3. OUR CLEANING LEAVES NO RESIDUE.
Many companies advertise NO RESIDUE and still use a soap containing pretreat and a rinsing agent to “neutralize” your carpet. This is what I would refer to as a carpet cleaning “white lie.” If the pretreat chemical contained soap, YOU HAVE SOAP RESIDUE!!. If the cleaning agent needs to be “neutralized” to bring the pH up or down then the chances of RESIDUE from the detergent or the rinse agent is VERY HIGH! MAKE SENSE?? Another twist involves either applying a soap containing pretreat and rinsing/extracting with PLAIN HOT WATER. This also still leaves SOAP RESIDUE!. Ripley Services’ process involves a soap free AND residue free pretreat that is completely clean rinsing and non-toxic. We have no need for rinse agents or defoamers common with soapy pretreats. Companies that use NO PRETREATMENT or offer it as an “OPTION” are even worse. Your carpets will simply be rinsed… NOT CLEANED! Some cleaners will claim that their chemical doesn’t contain soap. It contains “detergent.” Detergent is SYNTHETIC SOAP and leaves an alkaline detergent residue that behaves very similar to the old naturally produced soaps. Bottom line – if your pretreatment relies on a rinse agent to remove it, you have a problem. That problem is SOAP RESIDUE. RESIDUE CAUSES RESOILING.
Why is this important?? SOAP RESIDUE is the leading cause of reappearing stains or rapidly RESOILING carpets.
MYTH #4. DRY CLEANING IS BETTER THAN STEAM (WET) CLEANING BECAUSE IT IS DRY.
This myth relies on the overabundance of steam (wet) cleaners that leave carpets entirely TOO WET. This is a common problem often caused by underpowered equipment or an unskilled technician. It is important that vacuum pressure be adequate to remove water utilized in the cleaning process. The most effective clean comes from the application of a clean rinsing, soap & residue free pretreatment followed by extraction with plain, superheated water from powerful truck mounted equipment to ensure complete rinsing and adequate moisture removal with NO RESIDUE. “DRY CLEANING” can leave significant chemical residue. Often times there is no extraction and excess chemicals and soil are left in your carpet. Dry Cleaning is NOT the method recommend most by carpet manufacturers.
MYTH #5. CHEAPER CLEANERS DO JUST AS GOOD A JOB AS MORE EXPENSIVE CLEANERS.
Yes…and NO. It’s certainly not necessary to choose the highest priced cleaner to guarantee the best results. BUT, choosing the lowest cost cleaner is a sure way to guarantee BAD results and carpets in worse condition than before cleaning! There is a certain price point that a Professional Carpet Cleaner WITH PROPER EQUIPMENT can do an effective job properly cleaning your carpets. That price is NOT $10 a room. Think about it…it takes fuel to get to your home, fuel to run truck mounted equipment, chemical costs, equipment maintenance costs, drive time and cleaning labor. So how can a carpet cleaner afford to do business at the extremely low “TEASER RATES” they advertise. Easy…THEY CAN’T! They either rely on “upselling” the customer with “extras” and high pressure sales or they won’t be in business long term. Ripley Services’ pricing structure is on the low to middle end of the industry BUT we guarantee to out clean anyone at any price! While many consumers make decisions based on PRICE. Repeat customers return based on VALUE. There is a BIG difference.
MYTH #6. YOU SHOULD WAIT TO HAVE YOUR CARPETS CLEANED THE FIRST TIME, BECAUSE IT WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME AGAIN.
The number one enemy to the life and appearance of your carpet is DIRT. It acts like sandpaper wearing the carpet fibers and permanently affecting your carpet’s appearance. Unfortunately, the number two enemy may be a bad carpet cleaner. Proper PROFESSIONAL cleaning with state-of-the-art truck mounted equipment and a soap free cleaning process, that does not leave a sticky residue, AT LEAST once a year PROLONGS the life of your carpet. Most carpet manufacturers now recommend professional cleaning twice a year. Most new carpet warranties now REQUIRE at least annual professional cleaning by a Certified Technician or they void your warranty! Waiting will do nothing but pose potential health hazards and allow some staining to become permanently set. Routine vacuuming and professional soap free cleaning is the best way to protect your investment. Ripley Services recommends bi-annual cleaning (every 6 months) for everyone. Pets AND kids may require more frequent cleaning along with a therapist :-).
MYTH #7. CARPET CLEANING CAN DESTROY MY STAIN RESISTANCE.
TRUE…and false. Many cleaners use soap containing chemicals known to remove factory and after market stain guards. They often use this as an opportunity to “upsell” Scotchguard or similar protectors. While factory stain protectors are by no means permanent, soil and foot traffic do much more to damage the carpet’s stain resistance than a proper cleaning. Ripley Services’ soap free cleaning process does not leave a residue and DOES NOT strip the factory stain protector in your carpet. Additionally, if you do decide to have your carpet treated, we offer THE WORLD’S FIRST EPA CERTIFIED GREEN CARPET PROTECTOR. Carpet protectors simply help prevent stains from setting permanently by bonding with the fibers of your carpet to provide a protective barrier, similar to the barrier wax provides for your car’s paint. Our protector incorporates “encapsulate” technology to not only provide liquid spill protection, but it also makes routine vacuuming much more productive, greatly extending the life of your carpet. Ask for a free demonstration!
MYTH #8. THE “ROTOVAC” IS NEW TECHNOLOGY AND DOESN’T REQUIRE THE POWER OF A TRUCK MOUNT.
The “Rotovac” relies on rotating water jets and vacuum ports versus the stationary design of a traditional wand. The result is an unattractive swirl pattern left in carpets, often times motivating technicians to groom the carpet with a rake to lift the carpet fibers and eliminate the tracks left by the machine. Rotovac offers several models, but they all rely on the same technology of rotating spray jets & vacuum ports. Rotovac is HEAVILY marketed to new businesses as a low cost way to enter the carpet cleaning market, claiming that combining a Rotovac with an inexpensive PORTABLE machine can compete with truck mounted equipment with traditional wands. Many startups have been convinced by slick marketing videos and high pressure sales tactics. Used Rotovac’s are abundant after real world problems not apparent in marketing videos are revealed. Effective carpet cleaning relies on some important fundamentals whether using a Rotovac or Traditional Wand. Heat, Vacuum Pressure, Appropriate Water Volume and Pretreatment Chemicals are key factors in producing results. This is where the marketing hype breaks down. A typical Rotovac has dual rotating heads, each with 3 water jets & 3 vacuum slots. The 6 jets produce more water than the vacuum slots can effectively recover. This problem is exaggerated by the weaker suction of a Portable machine. The result is carpets that have been overly wet, drastically extended dry times and the risk of mold and mildew growth. The lack of HEAT at the levels produced by truck mounted equipment is another hole in the sales pitch. Heat cleans. Rotating jets simply DO NOT clean any more effectively than stationary jets. In an effort to sell “one size fits all” cleaning wands, an important factor is OFTEN overlooked. The number and size of jets needs to be matched to the vacuum pressure of the machine powering the wand. Rarely is an off the shelf wand of any type properly matched with varying equipment. It takes a skilled technician to experiment with jet size to MAXIMIZE and BALANCE water delivery and recovery. A properly balanced setup is capable of recovering up to 90% of water utilized. Rotovac CANNOT produce these results. In the end, lack of sufficient heat, unbalanced water delivery to vacuum ratios, unsightly swirl marks, difficulty of maneuvering the bulky wand and inability to reach into corners ultimately leads most experienced carpet cleaners back to traditional wands and the power of a truck mount. Over-wetting of carpets is a major problem in the carpet cleaning industry. Don’t fall for the hype.
NO SOAP! NO STICKY RESIDUE! NO MYSTERIOUS RETURNING STAINS! NO TOXIC CHEMICALS!