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Carpet Care

Thursday's Ask the Experts: Stains on white carpet

January 21, 2010
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Thursday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: I was asked to clean about 1, 500square feet of a small office building''s off-white carpet that is trashed from very high traffic. It looks as if it hasn’t been done in a few years and has red dye, grape juice and food from spills.
I have an apartment complex that has the same problems. I used Matrix Grand Slam SC Traffic Lane Cleaner prespray, Matrix Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent and a fiber rinse, but the carpet doesn''t look that much better. What can I use to make this look good?
Answer #1
My further correspondence with you revealed this: One of the carpets in question is a nylon cut pile, the other is an olefin Berber. Both are residential styles. I was able to determine that the problem wasn''t due to wicking, as the soils and stains didn''t go away and come back.
Essentially, the carpets just didn''t clean up. A portable, self-contained extractor was the primary cleaning tool used, with bonnet cleaning also tried without success.
Based on this information, I believe the lack of success was probably due to the inadequacy of the tools used for the task. In my experience ... — John Downey, president of Downey''s Carpet Care of Granville and founder of Cleanfax magazine
Answer #2
Let me add to John''s appraisal of the situation. When dealing with extremely soiled carpets, several things need special attention that a routine cleaning is not going to require. This sort of cleaning is fiber restoration or reclamation, not basic light maintenance, often termed interim cleaning.
1) Dry vacuuming needs to be heavy and done with a machine that will open up the fibers to accept the detergents you intend to use. Heavy matting may require a power pile lifter, but extra effort with a good beater vacuum will work.
2) The initial prespray of traffic lanes needs ... — Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor
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