Industry studies have shown that the top concerns of business owners and operators of carpet cleaning equipment are: improving carpet appearance and cleanliness, and shortening carpet dry time after cleaning. Yet with the methods of carpet cleaning historically available to the commercial market, “quality cleaning” and “short dry times” have been mutually exclusive.

Now, there’s a new technology—soil transfer extraction—available to the commercial carpet care industry that provides high quality cleaning, yet greatly reduces carpet dry times by dramatically reducing the moisture left after cleaning. The new technology creates clean carpeted spaces that are ready for foot traffic in 30 minutes or less—without the ill effects of some other low moisture methods.

This industry-leading, patented technology has demonstrated the ability to reduce carpet drying time while maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of the carpet at high levels. In fact, independent testing by the Professional Testing Laboratory, Inc. (PTL) in Dalton, Georgia, has confirmed those assertions.

According to the PTL report, the benefits of this new technology include:

  • Dramatic reduction of moisture left behind in carpet
  • Greatly reduced carpet dry time
  • Cleaning efficacy comparable to conventional extraction
  • No damaging effects to the carpet

This means that the commercial carpet care industry finally has a moisture-based cleaning method designed specifically to solve carpet care issues in the real world—a tool to help cleaning professionals successfully, consistently and quickly clean their carpet—and, most importantly, get them ready for foot traffic almost immediately. For building managers, this means carpet can be clean and remain consistently in use, and for cleaning professionals, this lifts restrictions to how often and when carpet can be cleaned.

Jeff Bishop, administrator of Clean Care Seminars, Inc. and a leading technical advisor to a number of cleaning industry trade associations, has more than 33 years of professional cleaning experience. He believes that soil transfer extraction is the most innovative cleaning process to be introduced in years. “This technology offers what no other carpet care product on the market offers—a clean carpet that’s ready to use in just minutes. It’s the fastest, most efficient maintenance cleaning process I’ve ever seen. I think it’s a guarantee for commercial cleaning success.”

In addition to his administrative duties, Bishop also manages the Dothan Conference Center in Dothan, Alabama. The conference center is 1700 metres squared the majority of which is carpet. On any given day, the center sees between several hundred and several thousand visitors. “In the past, we had to schedule our cleaning at night because the cleaning and drying process took so long, and we didn’t want to disrupt our daytime activities,” he said. “With soil transfer technology, we can clean anytime and more frequently because the technology not only cleans fast but dries fast.”

Closed for cleaning

Carpeted spaces are either “in service” and usable by customers and employees or “out of service” and unusable by customers or employees. Not surprisingly, an out of service carpet costs companies significantly in lost revenue, and long dry times greatly restrict how often and when the carpet can actually be cleaned (typically it’s done at night or on weekends).

There are a number of times during the carpet cleaning process when the carpet is, in fact, out of use—during and after pre-spray application, during the cleaning itself, and while the carpet is drying. With conventional cleaning methods, carpet dry time far exceeds pre-spray or actual cleaning time, so reducing carpet dry time is vital to reducing the total out-of-service time.

Reduced dry times

Because carpet dry times typically account for the largest percentage of total carpet out-of-service time, decreasing carpet dry times has obvious advantages. Until now, however, manufacturers of carpet cleaning equipment have not provided the commercial carpet care industry with products or technologies that both clean the carpet and keep dry times to a minimum.

Bonnet cleaning, which dries faster than other current cleaning methods, does not remove significant soil from the carpet. Additionally, because of the potential damage bonnet cleaning can cause, many carpet mills void their warranties if bonnet cleaners are used. Light extraction cleans only moderately well and still requires several hours to dry. And deep extraction, which provides the highest level of clean, requires an extraordinary amount of time to dry. Both light and deep extraction also increase the likelihood of wick-back and resoiling.

All of the conventional wet-cleaning methods listed above directly apply water to the carpet. Applying water directly to carpet will, rather obviously, lead to a wet carpet. And a wet carpet means increased drying time, which leads to increased total carpet out-of-service time. To decrease dry time and reduce carpet out-of-service time, it seems clear that water should not be applied directly to the carpet.

Targeting soil within carpet pile, soil transfer extraction removes the dirt that diminishes carpet appearance, luster and life span. Unlike traditional carpet care products, soil transfer extraction relies on sprayer units that apply water to two counter-rotating, specially designed fabric rollers that pick up—or transfer—the soil from the carpet. As the rollers turn at a rate of approximately 400 times per minute they are rinsed with a solution spray, and two built-in vacuum shoes extract the soil from the rollers. Very little water reaches the carpet because the carpet is never actually sprayed with water. The result is carpeted spaces that are clean, dry and ready to use in minutes.

The benefits of being dry

There are a number of benefits to faster drying times that go beyond the obvious benefit of putting the carpet back in service sooner. Additional benefits of faster dry times include:

  • increased safety that is achieved with drier carpet and carpet that dries more quickly (there is less likelihood of wet shoes transitioning from wet carpeting to hard floor surfaces);
  • decreased indoor air quality issues with a carpet that is drier faster;
  • decreased potential for wick-back; and
  • decreased potential for re-soiling.

“A clean, dry carpet not only enhances a facilities’ image, but it also extends the life of the carpet and can help improve indoor air quality,” said Bishop. “With so many benefits, I can’t think of a single reason not to incorporate soil transfer technology into any commercial carpet cleaning program.”