In addition to addressing problems due to chemical buildup, customers need to be wary of overusing chemicals or water when extracting carpets. These proper extraction methods are heavily emphasized by experts on proper carpet care.

“Some people think the more [chemical or water] they use the better the extractor cleans, and that’s definitely not the case,” says Michelle Ruvola, vice president of The Standards Companies in Chicago. She advises customers to invest in a quality extraction machine and simply follow manufacturers’ recommendations for dilution ratios and extraction methods.

“Generally, with a good extractor you’ll pull 70 to 90 percent of your water out of the carpet,” she says. “The more suction you have, the better it is for the carpet. If the machine doesn’t have enough suction it leaves a lot of that detergent and water in your carpet, and that will spread underneath to your pad.”

While some housekeepers swear by hot water extraction methods, others say the temperature of the water doesn’t make a difference.

“Some people really believe in heated extraction,” says Dan Ott, co-owner of Facility Supply Systems Inc. in West Chicago. “Others say the chemicals work in any temperature water.”

He believes that heated extraction methods can boost cleaning efficiency by 20 percent, but at a price: “It often requires using two separate circuits to plug into,” he says, “and that draws a lot of power.”

According to Ruvola, hot water may clean better, but it is also taxing on carpet fibers.

“You want to find a happy medium,” she says. “If your carpet is not heavily soiled you may want to use cold water, but if it is heavily soiled you may want to use hot water, because the heat reduces the surface tension of the water, allowing your water to clean faster and more efficiently than cold water.”

Thankfully deep pile, shaggy carpeting is a thing of the past, so grooming after extraction usually isn’t necessary. Once carpets have been extracted, distributors agree that the best thing to do is to leave them alone.  

“Blowers can help expedite the drying process,” says Kevin Harris, president of Aspen Maintenance Supply in Basalt, Colo., “but anytime you extract the carpet you really want to stay off that carpet until it’s completely dry to avoid resoiling.”

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

previous page of this article:
How To Clean Carpets Using Chemicals
next page of this article:
Greener Options For Carpet Extraction