A portable carpet cleaning extractor can be a very effective tool in helping to maintain clean carpets in your home. Portables are available in all sizes and configurations, ranging from a small house hold upright vacuum type to a fairly large commercial type that has on board heaters. These usually can generate high vacuum, and solution pressures in excess of 300 psi. Most house holders either use the small vacuums they own outright or rent a portable from a convenient supplier. With proper cleaning procedures, they are very good for light carpet maintenance. However, they cannot substitute for the powerful truck mounted machines used by professional carpet cleaners now a days.
Here are some useful tips for DIY cleaning with small portable carpet cleaning machines.
As with any other carpet cleaning system, the basic principles of carpet cleaning apply here also. The critical factors are:
- Pre-Vacuuming To Remove Insoluble Solids. This step is most important because small portables are not strong enough to extract all of the dirt and soils, so when the carpet is wet the dirt will turn to slush which will then be just pushed around on the carpet surface and it will look even dirtier than before. Get all the dry soil, dust and dirt out before attempting to deep clean the carpet.
- Heat. The hotter the cleaning solution is, the more efficient it will be as a solvent. Many small cleaning machines are not equipped with a heater, and even the big portables with on board heaters rarely approach the heating capacity of large truck mounted machines. You can try using boiling water to mix the chemicals, but of course, without continuous heating, particularly in the winter, the solution becomes cold rather quickly. Try your best to keep it as hot as possible.
- Agitation. This helps to accelerate the chemical reaction of the solvent, and is a major limitation with many small portables, even those equipped with a beater brush. You could try spraying the cleaning solution lightly on the carpet, after vacuuming, and then working it in with a carpet rake before extraction.
- Time. This is another limitation with some portables which are operated with a one-pass spray and vacuum cycle. Again the solution to this problem, is to pre-spray with a manual pump sprayer you can buy at a department store. Leave the chemical to react with the soil or stain on the carpet, for at least 10 to 15 minutes before extraction.
- Concentration Of The Solvent Used. If you are not familiar with the chemistry of cleaning, just use the chemicals recommended by the machine supplier. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and do not attempt to over concentrate or over dilute the mixture, or to add other chemicals that could cause undesirable reactions.
Great results may be achieved when doing your own deep carpet cleaning with a portable extractor, if these steps are followed. Remember however, that DIY cleaning with a small machine is only suitable for interim maintenance, and annual deep steam cleaning by a certified carpet cleaning professional, using a powerful truck mounted system, is necessary for compliance with your carpet warranty.