Many of us work under wrong assumptions as it pertains to the chemicals we use.
Extraction Chemicals – Emulsifiers, Acid Rinse Agent, Extraction Compounds, Detergent, Sour Rinse: Whatever you call your extraction chemical – be careful – you may be making some wrong choices. Are you making some of the following assumptions?
1. It is better to use just plain water to rinse carpet.
This assumption comes from belief that we are doing our customer a service by leaving “no” residue in the carpet when we use clean water to rinse – a noble assumption. Remember that even water (unless distilled) leaves some residue, and left over soil is perhaps the worst residue of all. Using a plain water rinse may not get you your desired results. One thing that customers want more than anything else is clean carpet. While we should always apply an effective preconditioning solution, you have perhaps noticed that this is not quite enough cleaning power for the heavily soiled areas that need multiple passes. The first time you make a pass, you remove the majority of pre-spray along with a large amount of soil. Problem is, some soil remains and without some continuing presence of water softening and dirt suspension products such as surfactants and builders in the rinse solution, you are ineffective at removing this remaining soil. By using a small charge of quality extraction compound you achieve greater soil removal, you can clean the light soil under the couch without pre-spraying, and you save yourself time by cleaning faster.
2. Any amount of detergent residue is bad to leave on carpet.
An English trade organization commissioned a study several years ago to research the effect of using extraction compounds in the rinse water. They sampled from many of the top selling products and used them in the extraction solution according to directions. They found that the residue from the better ones did not contribute to re-soiling and in some cases contributed to the carpet staying cleaner longer.
We conducted a test here at Carpet Cleaner Warehouse. We cleaned a long, heavily trafficked area with a quality pre-spray followed by extraction. On one end of the hall we extracted using Bridgepoint Point Blue emulsifier at 10 times its suggested strength. At the other end of the hall we extracted with clear water. When dry, the end with the heavy application of Blazin Blue had left a powdery residue. We simply did a dry vacuum as with normal maintenance and then watched the carpet over several months, simply maintaining it with vacuuming. We found no visible difference in the soiling level between the two portions of the hall. Our findings – even heavy residue from a quality emulsifier such as Point Blue does not contribute to soiling.
With this said, please don’t misunderstand us. We suggest that most of the chemistry in cleaning comes from the carpet pre-spray. Heavy detergency in the extraction solution is not necessary. Emulsifiers should be mixed according to directions and used at low to medium dilutions. This will aid in soil removal, speed of cleaning, and with today’s safe formulas will not degrade the home or business environment.
3. A litre of “this” is cheaper than a litre of “that” – so it is cheaper.
Never judge the cost of a product by how much the bottle or drum costs. You need to ask yourself these questions to figure your true costs:
- What is the cost of the ready to use product? One chemical can cost you $60 for a 4 litre container while the other costs $44. The $60 dollar product dilutes at one part to 640. The $48 product dilutes at one part to 448. Which product is cheaper? A little math is in order. Our $60 product makes 2406 litres $60/2406= $.0249 per litre. Our $48 product makes 1684 litres $48/1684= $.0285 per litre. Fact: Our $60 product is about 15% less expensive to use.
- Which product is the easiest it use? Some products are quick and easy to use. They may save you time and thus save you money.
- Which product is most effective doing the intended job? If it cleans effectively it can win you customers. Good chemical solutions are moneymakers.
- Which product is safe and most compatible with my other products? Even if your product meets the test of A, B and C, you must feel it is safe for the technician, the carpet and the customer. Is it compatible with the other chemicals you use? Remember that chemicals are one of the lowest expenses of doing business. Most times we are talking about less than 1% of the job cost being emulsifier costs. Don’t let cost be a factor here. It should be insignificant. Efforts to save 1% or 2% by skimping on products may cost much more in the long run.
4. The better a product cleans, the better the product is.
This is the tough one. We all want products that effectively help us remove soil. What we don’t want are products that de-lustre carpet – that slowly remove colour – that leave sticky, soil attracting residues – that don’t rinse easily – that cause health problems with our technicians or our customers (checkout the article on optical brighteners. Choose quality products from reputable manufacturers and distributors. Bathtub formulas may leave a ring of soap scum around your good name.