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Carpet care 101: Choose best equipment and detergents

September 19, 2010
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Carpet cleaning equipment — whether it is hot water extraction, absorbent pad, absorbent compound or others — in today’s professional cleaning world usually works great, removing large amounts of soil from carpet.

But choosing the right equipment, along with the right cleaning chemicals, typically referred to as “detergents,” makes the job even better.

It’s like a “one-two” punch in the fight against soil.

Detergency in your carpet cleaning solutions ranks as high as high heat, water pressure and air flow in hot water extraction cleaning systems, which is the most common carpet cleaning method in use today.

It is also very important to other systems, including absorbent pad, shampoo, encapsulation and dry foam cleaning.

A detergent is defined as a synthetic cleaning or wetting agent that has the ability to emulsify oils and soils, containing surfactants that attack soils in solution, making these soils easy to rinse.

In other words, it’s a mixture that sees soil as the enemy, attacking it and separating it from carpet fibers.

A quality detergent is a complement to your effective carpet cleaning equipment.

What is a detergent?

Detergents contain many ingredients that perform a variety of vital cleaning chores.

A quality detergent simply “cleans”; however, there are many aspects to the ability of a chemical to remove soils from surfaces.

These can include:

  • Surfactants (surface active agents, to make water “wetter”)
  • Alkaline builders (to build pH for better neutralization of acidic soils and as a degreasing agent)
  • Solvents (added chemistry for oily soils)
  • Suspending agents (to keep soils suspended after they are “lifted” from the fiber)
  • Emulsifiers (to allow mixing oil and water for easier rinsing)
  • Enzymes (to break down various matter, especially protein and greasy soils)
  • Corrosion inhibitors for your equipment
  • And more

A common mistake carpet cleaners make is to use less detergent, attempting to save money.

That can actually increase costs, as using less detergent means more labor expense.

When preparing for your next carpet cleaning project, analyze both aspects of quality carpet care — equipment and detergents.

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