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Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

Help wanted choosing type of machine

Posted by harvey (harvey), 28 October 2003
Firstly hello to the Forum i'm new to it today.  I wondered if some of you experienced cleaners out there could help me?
I used to clean carpets 10 years or so ago for a small independent company and now after many years away from the business am considering setting up a new business on my own.  I wondered how good the new floor scrubber tools are in comparrison to the floor wands i used to use, how much time they save etc etc
Plus i wondered how much the average charge per square metre was.
Plus any other helpfull  set up info!
Many thanks in advance.
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 29 October 2003
Hi Harvey
Welcome to the forum.
When you say 'floor scrubber tools' as opposed to 'floor wands' were you referring to the larger self-contained automatic machines like this ( )?
If thats what you meant then they're not really a suitable alternative to the traditional wand type portables. They are good in fixed locations and particularly larger areas but they lack the versatility and can be a real pain to move from site to site all day long.
With regard to pricing, there have been several topics that cover that recently and they shouldnt be too hard for you to find.
Dry systems have grown in popularity over the past 10 years and they have their place but overall the hot water extraction portable is still by far the most common machine being used.
Mike Boxall  
Posted by harvey (harvey), 30 October 2003
Thanks Mike, with regards to the 'scrubber ' i was thinking along the lines of a smaller scrubber floor tool that is flexible enough for normal residential cleaning.  You mentioned Dry Systems, i know absolutely nothing about them,how do they work? where cani find out more and are they worth cosidering, i would think that customers will like the sound of Dry Cleaning.  In the meantime thanks for your help.
Any other help and opinions would be appreciated.
Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 30 October 2003
on 10/30/03 at 21:29:41, harvey wrote:
Thanks Mike, with regards to the 'scrubber ' i was thinking along the lines of a smaller scrubber floor tool that is flexible enough for normal residential cleaning.  You mentioned Dry Systems, i know absolutely nothing about them,how do they work? where cani find out more and are they worth cosidering, i would think that customers will like the sound of Dry Cleaning.  In the meantime thanks for your help.
Any other help and opinions would be appreciated.


Posted by pre-vac_Nick (pre-vac_Nick), 31 October 2003
Hi Harvey,

i found digging around this site its full of little nuggets!!

most of the info you need is in here somewhere Grin
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 31 October 2003
Hi Harvey

All tools in all trades are a matter of personal preference. There are many CC's who swear by the scrubber tools that you talk of. And there's just as many who can't get on with them.

As you say you may be coming back to the industry, and presuming that your capital introduced will have to go a long way, I feel it would not be the best time to invest in a scrubber type tool that you may not even like. I would suggest a wand and a low speed rotary scrubber. The rotary machine is a truly versatile piece of kit. It will agitate pre-sprays, skim, bonnet clean, shampoo, bonnet dry and, at a push, be able to maintain a clean carpet with a dry powder compound. Just an option for you to consider.

Safe and happy cleaning
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 31 October 2003
Ken's summed it up there - much of your choice is dependent on how much you can justify to invest at this stage.
What sort of budget do you have in mind to get you going?
Perhaps a more important question is: do you plan to beat your competitors on price or quality or both?
Posted by harvey (harvey), 31 October 2003
Hey everybody thanks for your help and opinions it is very much appreciated!
Mike with regards to budget i dont have any figure in mind but if i return to carpet cleaning as i think i will it will be because i want a change of career not specifically for financial reasons although i do realise their is a very good living to be made.

Ken Wrote
'I would suggest a wand and a low speed rotary scrubber. The rotary machine is a truly versatile piece of kit. It will agitate pre-sprays, skim, bonnet clean, shampoo, bonnet dry and, at a push, be able to maintain a clean carpet with a dry powder compound'.
Where can i find out more about the mentioned Rotary Machine, does it purely scrub the carpet with no water injection or extraction or?
Thanks again for all your help and info!
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 1 November 2003

The typical rotary scrubber is a standard, run of the mill floor polisher, but working at a lower RPM. It doesn't have any water injection or vacuum attached (unless it's a top of the range specialist high cost unit). If you attach a water tank for shampooing, there will be a drip feed to supply the solution. Victor is one of the biggest names for these machines, but naturally there are many others. If you do decide to go down this route, come back to the forum for specification advice.

Safe and happy cleaning

Posted by A_to_Z_Clean (A_to_Z_Clean), 3 November 2003
hi Grin

"(1)The EnviroDri™ System offers an unrivalled method of deep cleaning all types of carpets from Wool to Sisal, safely without the use of water."  

...(2)The powder is allowed to dry and then sucked into a vacuum. This method leaves dry sponge particles at the base of the carpet yarn. And because the carpet is not rinsed, this method is not very effective.

ok, now i'm  Embarassed Tongue
one is telling me they wery Good, and independent (2) i telling me the powder is crapHuh

So still one company one opinion, another company another opinion
I think i will ask them to send me free samples and try all of them on my carpets Grin Grin
AtoZ Clean

Posted by harvey (harvey), 3 November 2003
Some one on the site posted this address  
This machine looks very interesting, does anybody have any experience of this or this type of machine, it  certainly looks good!
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 3 November 2003

It appears to be a great machine. But only if you're cleaning the likes of an Airport terminal, or a huge department store after they've removed all the stock. You wouldn't want to use it in Mrs. Smiths 12x12 lounge, especially if it's still got the 3 piece and TV/Video still in there Wink
Safe and happy cleaning

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 3 November 2003

I feel that there's no such thing as a poor cleaning system. But any system can be executed poorly, or used in an inappropriate situation.

I'll give you a personal example. Last year, Masonic Lodge, an 80+ year old black and white chequered carpet. No underlay, nailed to the floor. Pile lifted 4 times. treated candle wax with iron and paper, during which soil was wicking up from beneath. Any water system could have created major wicking problems. I used Host Dry Extraction. It wasn't the best clean in the world, but it was the appropriate system to use, and it was 100% safe. We often come across problem cases whereby system X, Y or Z will perform better than A, B or C even though they may not remove as much soil. That's why we're called professionals, because we can apply our knowledge and skills to challenging situations.
Safe and happy cleaning

Posted by Alan_Kennedy (Alan_Kennedy), 4 November 2003
Hi Harvey,
I posted the amtech website on this forum. The machine I bought is the Pro 400 model. It certainly is a terrific machine (I would say that anyway). I'm not sure which machine Ken is talking about but the Pro 400 is certainly portable. (400psi and up to 83ft of hose). I went for this machine because I felt it gives almost TM performance. It is also interesting to note that a lot of the TM boys are buying CFR wands and upholstery tools.

Regards   Alan
Posted by Terry_Burrows (Terry_Burrows), 4 November 2003
Wink bit more info to confuse you HuhI use an ashbys
carpet cleaner wand type, the sensei model small but packs a very big punch Winkgreat suction they are based just by dartford tunnel,this model will set you back about
£1200 ish!but worth it Wink
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 4 November 2003
I agree with Alan about the Pro 400, and if I were to be replacing my portables, that is one of the top 3 or so I would consider. Slightly higher purchase price than "ordinary" portables, but has some unique features.

The model I was refering to in my earlier post was a large self contained walk behind unit designed for large open areas.
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 4 November 2003

Like yourself, I have the Pro 400 (and the 1000) on a short-list, as a back-up machine.

What I cannot so far reconcile is the idea of useing a single-vac machine, produceing only 110" of water lift!

Perhaps one day I'll have a demo.

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 5 November 2003

From what I've heard and seen, forget the usual vacuum set up. The CFR tools work in a different way, so it is considered by them that dual vacs are not required.

Safe and happy cleaning Smiley

Posted by Lionel (Lionel), 5 November 2003
If I was you I would purchase one of the Prochem steempro range, I find these are excellent machines, also you rcv a free easy grip upholstery tool and chemical package.
Posted by Alan_Kennedy (Alan_Kennedy), 5 November 2003

As Ken says, the CFR tools work in a different way, one vac being sufficient for the job. I'm told it can recover over 90% of the solution, and from my limited experience of the machine, thats not far out. That being the case do you need two vacs?

Regards  Alan.
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 5 November 2003

What continues to leave me sceptical is that I have tried my CFR hand tool on one of my machines, with one vacuum switched off, whilst cleaning a particularly dirty suite, and the second half of the same cusion with both vacuums running. The results were noticeably different!!

The other factor which concerns me is that I clean quite a few nurseing homes and often, despite a very heavy pre-spray with B153 urine neutraliser and acidic rinse plus odour neutraliser in the tank, the stuff that I drain out stinks to high heaven. I cannot believe that the pre-recirculating filter system could do much for the stench (abeit diluted) of what would then become  cleaning solution.

Perhaps someone knows otherwise? Maybe the additional ozone generator is the answer?


Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 5 November 2003
If your vacuums are in series John, they don't perform very well as single units. But to be honest, I don't know the answers to your questions. Derek may be able to come up with an opinion, or better still Steve Carpenter.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 6 November 2003
Hi Guys

I have in the past used many different machines most of which had their twin vacuums in parallel.
At one point I aquired an excellent make of machine with its vacuums in series and personally I couldn't get on with it as I felt its performance sadly lacking.

Having said that I know of many who swear by the series system and at a 'day out' earlier this year the two types of setup were run side by side with relatively little difference in drying times.

I have never used my CFR machine in the scenario you mentioned John but I would, if I was doing work on a regular basis in a situation like that, go for the CFR with the added ozone generator built in.

Young Steven Carpenter will be able to give you chapter and verse on how and why.

Posted by Mr._One_Step (Steve Carpenter), 6 November 2003
I too was sceptical of the portable CFR system with its single vacuum and the fact that it recycles its cleaning solution. This was back in 1994 when they were looking for a main distributor here and although I never went down that route or even had a demonstration I found the concept interesting. ‘The cleaning power and flexibility of a truck mounted carpet-cleaning system that could also clean hard floors’. A couple of years ago I was reintroduced to CFR products through Amtech UK and purchased an Altra Pro 1000 (1000 psi) and Pro Station 400 (400 psi). I was amazed at their performance and versatility.

The patented continuous flow tooling injects atomised water in and through carpet fibres and fabrics to thoroughly wash them without the solution penetrating the backing or through into the foam filling in upholstery. Carpets can be rinsed at pressures of up to 1000 psi depending on the model purchased without over wetting or the need to use high temperatures (electric heat exchangers cannot keep up with the water flow at 1000psi). This gives dramatically reduced drying times because most of the solution is recovered instantly.

You do not need buckets to empty or refill the machine, the single tank system can be filled through its vacuum/solution hose and when the machine needs emptying it has a hard floor machine style drain hose, which can be directed over a toilet or drain. As the machine is a single tank design with internal filters it’s important to fill the machine to its fill level for optimum vacuum operation. The water level should be checked every half an hour and topped up if necessary otherwise vacuum performance can be reduced if the machine is allowed to empty. On the third to fifth top up the machine should be drained and refilled with fresh water.

The system actually recycles the cleaning solution up to 7 times through a series of filters that remove the soil with 99% + effectiveness. This combined with the unique continuous flow tooling it can recover up to 95% of the cleaning solution used. This allows the system to deep clean large carpeted areas quickly ensuring rapid dry times with maximum soil removal. The cleaning solution eventually becomes discoloured through the presence of natural water-soluble dyes found in soil from silicates and iron oxides. This doesn’t affect the ‘clean’ because of CFR’s exceptional recovery rate.

If the suspended soils present in the solution/vacuum tank block the filter screen then the pump will automatically shut down so that the operator can empty the machine.

It is a gross misconception that the CFR system cleans with dirty water. If this were the case it would make little difference to the soiled appearance of a carpet. I use this system to deep clean all wet cleanable carpet types, rugs, upholstery, curtains & hard floors that have soil loads from light to heavy.

The Altra 1000 extractor with a CAT 1000-psi pump & single 3-stage vac comfortably operates at 120ft and is well designed and easy to move around. Although it weighs 135lbs you can lift it in & out of a vehicle with ease because of the loading wheels present on the hand bar. With a tank full of water I can easily clean 300 plus metres of heavily soiled carpet and restore its appearance without having to stop and completely empty and refill the machine.

Also odour-causing problems including urine are removed, filtered effectively & deodorised with CFR odour removal products. They also manufacture the system with enclosed ozone assisted cleaning facility, which cleans, sanitises and deodorizes as it cleans. This is particularly beneficial when cleaning in environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, food & beverage processing plants where bio-contamination is a major concern.

The concept is totally different even down to operating the wand in a forward motion with the solution trigger on but it works!



Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 6 November 2003

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

Some years ago I did build a T/M machine with an ozone generator attatched, the gas being pumped through a secondary supply tank. Not totally sucessful, partly due to the unreliabily of the generator and partly due to the fact that (unlike the CFR machine0, mine did not recirculate and consequently the absorbtion rate was certainly lower.

Regarding the serial/parallel configurations, I once had a Prochem steampro which had an external manifold, whereby one could switch between serial ( for maximum vacuum potential) or parallel (for maximum airflow).

I found the paral lel configuration usefull for curtains and the sections of a suite carcase which had no padding behind the face fabric.

For most carpets I used the higher vacuum afforded by serial connection. Best results on carpets when useing the higher air flow option requred a slightly different wand technique, the attack angle being varied to a greater extent than 'normal' on both foreward and backward strokes to unduce greater lateral airflow through the pile - in some respects similar to the wash action of the CFR wand.

since I was used to both options I would say that I would achieve roughly the same degree of dryness with either setup but where there was a high degree of impacted soil at pile-base, my prefered option resulted in an overall cleaner carpet.


Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 6 November 2003

So you don't know much about this machine  Grin

Thank you for taking the time to reply in such depth.

I had not concidered the effect of haveing a small airgap above the solution, thereby reduceing the 'elasticity' of the vacuum system, so accept your assertion that 120 feet opperating range.

Karl may well owe you a drink!

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 6 November 2003
Hi John

I also had one of those Prochem machines with the interchangable vacuum configuration some years ago... I found it worked very well indeed...why on earth did they stop producing these dual system machines

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 6 November 2003
Hi Derek,

Dynafoam make them ! (well made one)  Grin

Posted by harvey (harvey), 6 November 2003
The Amtech Cfr machines look realy impressive high tech machines that would be easy to market with fantastic drying times etc, but a couple of things come to mind;

1) How does cleaning times compare with other powerfull machines?

2) Is it easier work having to push instead of pulling the wand?
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 7 November 2003
Hi Harvey

The concept of the CFR tooling is that the water is jetted into the fibres at an angle under pressure. The fibres get thoroughly rinsed without the penetration into the backing areas.
Once the carpet/upholstery has been cleaned there feels no significant difference as the various fibres are as equally wet as when using a conventional machine and tool.
E.g.  I cleaned a turkish rug yesterday on an ordinary chipboard piece of timber, when it had been cleaned/rinsed neither the back of the rug or the chipboard was even a slighty bit wet... this at 400 psi

As far as the wand being pushed...Yes, it does take some getting used to. After all the years of pulling, it seemed unnatural somehow... the situation after a few months, however, is completely the reverse...the conventional wand now seems unnatural.

Same goes for the CFR handtool... the first time I used it I felt it was such an awkward piece of kit as the tool is quite I use nothing else.

So you can teach an 'old dog' (that's me) new tricks  Wink

Posted by harvey (harvey), 7 November 2003
Thanks Derek,

Can you cover the same floor areas with a CFR machine in similar or slower times than a powerfull HWE machine?
Which CFR machine have got?

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 7 November 2003
Hi harvey

To be honest I do actually find it quicker...

Mind you I do prevac, prespray, agitate and rinse as part of my procedure whichever machine I use.

I have the Pro-Station 400 with a 33 ft hose and combi tool with a 25ft extension hose. I prefer the roller wand to the glide wand....a purely personal preference here.

Posted by harvey (harvey), 7 November 2003

when i used to clean carpets 10 years or so ago, using a wand was quite hard work as i had to work the carpet quite hard sometimes (like scrubbing the carpet with the floor wand), it sounds that with rollers and glides you dont have to phisically work to hard?
Not saying you dont work hard mind you know what i mean though?

Silly question, you all talk about aggitating the carpet! can you explain this a little better for me please
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 8 November 2003
Hi Harvey of the elements of the 'cleaning pie' not to be underestimated.

Rather than scrub seven bells out of the carpet alter your tactics slightly

Vacuum, obviously, to remove the loose soil which constitutes the majority of the soil present.

Prespray the 'chemical', preferably 'warm/hot', and give it 'time' to work.

'Agitate' the chemical.
I, personally, use a host machine with contra rotating brushes but many use the Sebo Duo for this purpose as they are much cheaper to buy.

Rinse out...

You will have completed an extra function but the time taken up will be compensated by the reduced time in which you need to rinse plus drying will be much quicker as you will be using less rinse solution.

There you have it..all the key elements.
Chemical, Heat, Agitation and Time.
(C.H.A.T. The cleaning pie)

I hope this helps

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 8 November 2003
That man from Leicester certainly knows his stuff. How long you been cleaning Derek?

Just a small point though. After applying your pre-spray, agitate first then leave to dwell. If you are using an enzyme solution, you may need as long as about 20 minutes, so make sure it doesn't dry out during this time (no blowers and draw curtains if there's strong sunlight in the room).

If you don't have a Host type of machine, you'll need a carpet brush (a bit like a broom) but not a rake. Brush really well. Especially on larger and  commercial areas, use a low speed rotary machine with a scrubbing or shampoo brush. Even a 3M skimming pad or a bonnet mop will provide excellent agitation prior to extraction. Do all this correctly and you'll never need to scrub again with your wand.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 8 November 2003
Hi Kenneth

I have been cleaning 'nearly' as long as you Ken.

Point taken about dwell times... Enzyme cleaners do need about twenty minutes to be effective...but then I rarely use enzyme I forgiven? Embarassed

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 8 November 2003
No way DB. I want to see you on your hands and knees first Wink
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 9 November 2003
You come across as a 'hard/cruel' man kenneth Wink

Its a good job I know you better...

Have a nice weekend..or whats left of it
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 9 November 2003
Thanks DB

I've had a brilliant weekend. Spent quite a lot of money but it's been superb. All will be revealed in due course.
Ta Ta Smiley

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