A lot of professional carpet cleaners have their own secret recipes for success.
To many of us, carpet cleaning is a mystery science. It is true there is a lot to learn about the subject.
What if you just want a good way of cleaning tough man-made commercial carpets, like in a school, that are heavily soiled, quickly and effectively?
Just to be clear, we are not talking about a fine rug nor a domestic house with nice carpets, we are talking about a school, office or other public use building where you have tough man-made carpets.
Where maybe the carpet only gets cleaned once per year and they are subject to very heavy traffic.
1) Just make double sure it's not a wool carpet
Pull a fibre out of the carpet and burn it with a lighter, have a sniff. If it smells of burning hair and it ashes, then it's wool.
If it smells of burning plastic and you get a blob of plastic on the end, then it is a made-made carpet.
If it is Wool, beware. You mustn't use a strong chemical and it must be woolsafe. Also you need to be really careful not to over wet a wool carpet.
oh and by the way, don't do this near a smoke detector - do it outside if you can.
2) Vacuum thoroughly first
I know what you're thinking, however you would be amazed how many people think they can skimp on this.
First, before thinking about doing anything else, vacuum the carpet to be cleaned.
We are talking about a thorough vacuuming with an upright vacuum cleaner. Spend some time on this, make sure you remove all the loose dry dirt in the carpet.
If you miss this step, your chemical and extraction process will be fighting a far harder battle.
3) Use a Pre-spray
Spray the entire carpet with a good even spray, take care not to over-wet. You do want to put enough down so that it won't dry before you do the next step.
Leave for a few minutes for the Pre-spray to start breaking down the soil.
This is absolutely key. Using a good prespray can off-set the disadvantage of not have a brilliant machine.
4) Use a Defoamer
For the very small extra cost, you should always use a Defoamer. You only need a very small amount for each fill of the recovery tank.
A defoamer cuts out foaming-up in the recovery tank and protects the machine from damage. This is especially important if you don't know how the carpet's been cleaned before, there might be a lot of chemical still in the carpet.
The best way to apply a defoamer is to mix up some defoamer with warm water in a jug or bucket (depending on the amount of cleaning you are doing) and then suck up a bit of this solution before you start and after each emptying of the recovery tank.
This coats the hose and the tank with defoamer and makes it much more effective.
5) Spray Extract
Now make up your solution of carpet cleaner using warm water and fill your machine.
Take care to get this right, if the solution is too strong the carpet will resoil quicker.
Spray extract the whole carpet. Go over again with just the vacuum if needed to get the carpet as dry as possible.
Now let the carpet dry, before allowing the area to be walked on.
That's it. This will clean a heavily soiled carpet very effectively, even with a less than great spray-extractor.