While self-contained extraction is considered the only deep cleaning method for carpets, there are viable alternatives for departments that are concerned about the environmental impact of extraction or cannot afford downtime in their facilities.

“Dry extraction is the lowest moisture cleaning method for carpets,” notes Michelle Ruvola, vice president of The Standards Companies in Chicago. “It uses very little water. You take tiny sponges that are premoistened with detergent and dry solvent and agitate them into your carpet. The compound attaches to the soil, and after a period of time you vacuum it out, so it doesn’t leave the carpet very damp.”

This method is suitable for high-traffic areas that operate 24/7, such as airports, as well as areas that experience high humidity, such as locker rooms, says Dan Ott, co-owner of Facility Supply Systems Inc. in West Chicago.

Distributors also recommend a carpet restoration method using recycling extractors, which avoid overwetting the carpet or using too much solution.  

“This technology atomizes the solution as it comes out of the tool and immediately sucks it back into the tool so you never lose control of that solution, and it doesn’t get into the backing and padding of your carpet,” explains Ott. “You’re recovering around 98 percent of what you put down. The solution is recovered into a single tank where soil is filtered out and then the solution is put back down onto the carpet.”

Ott advocates this method because most of the cleaning solution is recovered, thereby reducing resoiling issues. It also cuts dry times of four to 12 hours down to approximately two hours.

As with any extraction method, using recycling extractors requires proper training so that custodians understand how the process works.

“The industry as a whole tends to have a lot of turnover,” says Tom Murphy, sales manager for RoVic Inc., Manchester, Conn. “So carpet care in general and extraction in particular requires regular training because it’s critical to maintain a clean, safe, healthy building.”
According to distributors, The Carpet and Rug Institute’s website is an excellent resource to help end users identify specific carpet care problems and employ the appropriate cleaning methods.

“We need to be careful that we don’t damage carpet, because it’s a pretty large investment,” says Ott. “Whoever sells you the equipment should come in and do an in-service and training with the end users. Because with proper training, you can make sure people are doing the best they can for the carpet without damaging it.”   

Carpet Care Cleaning Times

Vacuum with 12” Upright Vacuum – 2,239 sq. ft. hr.
Vacuum with a Backpack Vacuum & 12” Orifice Carpet Tool — 7,273 sq. ft. hr.
Apply Carpet Pre-treatment using Pump Tank Sprayer — 5,882 sq. ft. hr.
Apply Carpet Pre-treatment using Electric Sprayer — 13,216 sq. ft. hr.
Extraction Clean using 16” Self-Contained, Self-Propelled Machine — 2,069 sq. ft. hr.
Extraction Clean using 28” Self-Contained, Self-Propelled Machine: Battery — 5,172 sq. ft. hr.

Source: The Official ISSA 540 Cleaning Times

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C.

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Proper Carpet Extraction Methods