Rental carpet cleaning units can be found at just about every home improvement store and every grocery store in the nation. They look easy enough to use so each year thousands of home owners take on the task of cleaning their own carpet. Some of the times it will turn out okay, but often it will end up in disaster. There are several problems with do it yourself carpet cleaning machines.
The first problem, is that these machines are underpowered from the beginning. They come from the factory with an underpowered pressure pump and a weak electric vacuum. The pumps in most cases operate at less than 50 PSI and the electric vacuum motor is typically around the 1 horsepower mark. Professional truck mounted cleaning units in comparison typically operate at 500 PSI for carpet cleaning and have vacuum motors powered by, on average, a 25 horsepower gas engine.
The next problem that you have is that the machines are often used and abused. The next time that you look at one of these machines, think about how may times it has been used. Think about who has been using it and what they have used it to clean. Then, think about whether that machine has been maintained properly and if it has been cleaned out well after each use. Poor maintenance and cleaning can take a machine that had borderline power at the beginning and turn it into an extremely poor machine for carpet cleaning.
Lack of heat is a third problem that these machines have. They depend on the heat that your hot water heater can generate. The average hot water heater is set to 120 degrees. By the time you fill your machine and the water has made its way to your carpet though, it will be well under 100 degrees. Heat plays a large role in making your cleaning chemicals more effective. The higher the heat, the less soap that you will need to use and the better it will work. Professional cleaning units will produce water that reaches your carpet at temperatures over 200 degrees. For every increase in water temperature of 20 degrees, over 100 degrees, the cleaning power of water doubles. So the heat generated by professional cleaners makes the water more than 5 times more effective.
Yet another problem faced by rental cleaning units is the lack of quality cleaning agents. Professional cleaners, these days, have begun to steer away from using heavy soaps and detergents. The reason for this is that soaps and detergents leave a sticky residue on your carpet. This residue will lead to rapid re-soiling of your carpet. Rental carpet cleaning unit cleaning solutions tend to depend heavily on soap and detergent. This means, that you can expect to have to clean your carpet again very soon.
Using A Carpet Cleaning Rental
We do realize however that some people will still use a rental unit. Perhaps you do not believe that rental units are bad, maybe you do not trust carpet cleaners or maybe you are just on a time crunch and have no other choice. If this is the case, there are some things that you can do to increase your chance getting your carpets clean. You will have to depend more on technique, because the chemicals and machinery that you will be using are poor.
To begin, you need to first vacuum your carpet thoroughly. Take your time, and do it right. Vacuum in two directions and go slowly. Makes sure that your vacuum is in good working order and that all of the filters are clean and your bag or dust cup is empty. You want to take your time with this step because dry soil is far easier to remove than wet soil. Get as much dirt out as you can while your carpets are dry.
Now that you have vacuumed your carpet, you can apply the pre spray. You do not want to put the shampoo in the machine. Instead, follow the directions on the bottle and mix the solution in a clean and new pump up sprayer. Spray the carpet with this solution, spraying heavier in highly soiled areas and less on lightly soiled areas. Stick to small areas, cleaning 100 square foot sections at a time. Let the carpet dwell for a few minutes before going to the rinse step.
After you have allowed the solution to dwell, but not allowed it to dry, you will rinse the carpet. Fill the machine with the hottest tap water that you can get. Just water, no shampoo. Now make two rinse strokes on the carpet in opposite directions. If you used a lot of pre spray, you will want to make a third pass. After you have made your wet rinsing passes, make an additional dry vacuum pass to remove as much water as possible.
You are almost done now. Get a portable fan and place it so that it blows on the carpet that you just cleaned. If you have ceiling fans, turn them on. If it is a nice day, open the windows, but if the weather is bad, use your heat or air conditioning to maintain a temperature of around 74 degrees in your home.
Move on to the net section, repeating this process. Once you get the rhythm down, you can expect to be able to do about 200 square feet an hour with emptying and filling time. Your carpets should dry within about 12 hours if you do everything right. Keep checking on it and if it is drying poorly, you need to add extra ventilation. Be sure not to place any furniture or other objects on the carpet until it is completely dry.