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The science of cleaning

September 19, 2010
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Benefits and outcomes of the following scientific findings reveal that increasing interim maintenance frequencies as a part of a maintenance program extends the life cycle of carpet, enhances building image, extends restorative cycles 12 to 18 months, maintains a consistent appearance level, and improves the cleaning effect of periodic wet extraction.

Scientific findings
A long-term soiling trial was performed for R.E. Whittaker Company by global cleaning authority Dr. Eric M. Brown, director and chief executive of Cleaning Research International Ltd. and author of five textbooks and numerous manuals concerning carpet maintenance.

Brown’s test analyzes the effectiveness of cleaning chemicals and equipment by measuring the degree of cleanliness with accepted vacuuming and cleaning frequencies, such as daily vacuuming, interim cleaning, and deep cleaning, within given parameters.

This third-party testing undeniably measured the benefits of using low-moisture interim maintenance.

Each cycle of the test simulated carpet being soiled by approximately 10,000 footfalls with pre-measured dirt, residues and tracked-in matter that might typically make it a challenge to keep carpets clean.

This accelerated soiling process was achieved by using a Kappasoil Soiling Machine, which meets criteria set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and applies the same types and amounts of soiling compounds in the same manner.

Adhering to ISO standards is important to keep testing practices equal across the industry.

The testing process began by applying the soil compound on new, clean carpet.

The carpet was then vacuumed and the amount of soiling was measured using a Tristimulus Colorimeter, which measures the change in color between unsoiled carpet and the soiled carpet as expressed by ∆L.

The test included 20 soiling cycles in which one half of the carpet was only vacuumed and the other half was additionally cleaned on every fifth cycle with a LOMAC® twin cylindrical brush machine with Crystal Dry® Extra encapsulation chemistry.

The sidebar "Test Results" is the record of the numerical values obtained.

The larger the value of ∆L, the dirtier the carpet is.

The results are mean values from five measurements on each sample.

After a total of 20 cycles, or 200,000 footsteps, the value of the interim maintenance method became evident.

There was a substantial difference between those samples that were vacuumed only and those cleaned periodically using the LOMAC® interim maintenance machine.

The results
The results of the test, prepared in March 2007, state that “when the carpet is soiled for the first time, there is a sudden change in its appearance. In the case of the sample which was only vacuumed, this change continues to worsen until a plateau is reached, which is an equilibrium between the color of the soil and the color of the carpet. In the case of the carpet subjected to interim cleaning, however, each subsequent cleaning restores the carpet to a value around that obtained after a single soiling.

This means that by regular use of the LOMAC® interim system, the aesthetic appeal of the carpet can be maintained at a satisfactory level over a prolonged period of time.”

Furthermore, after restoration cleaning using hot-water extraction equipment, the recovery of the carpet regularly maintained with the LOMAC® system is significantly better than that which does not have the benefit of this system’s interim maintenance.

Delivering superior results
Many great results can be brought to your facility by substituting an interim maintenance cleaning once a month for ordinary vacuuming.

It is a given that daily vacuuming extends the life of carpet.

However, carpet that appears clean may in fact hold a quantity of dirt — the carpet may be measurably dirtier than it looks.

If you perform interim maintenance on an “as needed” basis or only when the carpet appears dirty, you are allowing unseen dirt to remain in the carpet and cause damage as it is ground down into the fibers by normal traffic.

Poor visual appearance often limits carpet life to five years or less.

Science now demonstrates that utilizing low-moisture interim maintenance as part of a scheduled program can extend the life of the carpet and reduce the time between restorative cycles.

As a result, measurably cleaner carpets will keep the indoor environment fresh and maintain carpet appearance.

Time savings, productivity gains
The low-moisture agitation and crystallization process uses twin-cylindrical brushes rotating at 480 rpm to agitate encapsulation chemistry and lift pile all in one pass.

It requires no more training or effort than a commercial upright vacuum and productivity using the twin cylindrical brush machine discussed in this article can reach 10,000 square feet per hour in open areas.

Additionally, carpet is dry in as little as 20 minutes, so you do not experience long facility down times.

Data for laboratory testing was gathered according to ISO 11378. Visit for a copy of the standard.

For a copy of the complete test report, visit

Dick Whittaker, who founded the R.E. Whittaker Company in 1961, is in charge of new product development and innovation. In 1988, he pioneered the use of low-moisture agitation and crystallization in the cleaning of carpets and is the holder of many other cleaning related patents.
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