One important aspect of bonnet cleaning is the speed of the machine. It is highly recommended that you never use a machine that is over 175 RPM since the higher speed can result in damaging the carpet in short order. While most floor techs have gone to high speed burnishing systems for your hard floors, you probably have some old floor machines sitting in a closet somewhere (they never die), and these are the ones you should be using. Be sure the drive block has the correct gripping surface to hold/control the pad without allowing it to bunch or slide out. 

The commercial market is broken down to roughly a 50/50 split between nylon and olefin carpeting. Olefin has a very low melting point. With a high speed machine, if you “heel” the machine to take out that spot, the chances are pretty good that you will melt the carpet. 

Benefits of bonnet cleaning include: 1) Low labor costs when compared to HWE (Hot Water Extraction), 2) Short drying time resulting in the ability to reopen area to foot traffic sooner than a wetter system, 3) Absorbency of most surface soils and 4) A quick appearance fix for high traffic areas that need more frequent servicing. Limitations of bonnet cleaning include: 1) Poor pile penetration since it is primarily reaching the surface soils, 2) Potential air quality issues due to the chemicals being vaporized in spraying onto surface and 3) Potential heat damage to fibers.

In summary, bonnet cleaning is a great way to maintain your valuable carpet asset. By starting the process at the right time (before the carpet gets too soiled), you can maintain a high appearance level while cleaning a lot of surface in a short period of time (good for your budget). This is an easily implemented part of a total maintenance program. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or