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Old 08-25-2008, 09:11 AM   #1
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


Should I rent a machine, or buy one?

Looking for recommendations.....what to avoid, or what works well?

Also looking for suggestions of a good source, and good cleaning products to use?

I looked at some carpet cleaning machines for sale, and I know they are also available to rent. In the past, we've had a carpet cleaning service come in, but would rather do it ourselves this time. We keep saying we're going to tear it all up and put down wood flooring, to help with allergens, but the carpet keeps getting more worn out and it's definitely still here!

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:11 PM   #2
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


Rather than having a rented equipment, I am in the favor to own such equipment because we use them often.


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Old 08-25-2008, 05:04 PM   #3
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


If you're planning to get rid of your carpet and replace it with wood flooring, the last thing you need to be doing is buying a new carpet extractor or shampoo'er. You should rent a carpet cleaning machine.

However, to answer your question should you decide to buy one:

What to avoid: Bissell, Eureka and Hoover "residential" carpet cleaning machines. They simply don't have the pump pressure to blast water deep enough into the carpet, and they CERTAINLY don't have the suction power to pull dirty water out from deep in the carpet.

What to buy: If you want a no-frills machine that will last darn near forever in a residential setting at an unbeatable price, go to TMI, which stands for Timbucktoo Manufacturing Inc.

http://www.timbucktoomfg.com/home.html

I have a Deluxe D-106, which is no longer made, but it has a 5 gallon solution tank, a 5 gallon recovery tank, two three stage vaccuum motors and a 100 PSI pump.

http://www.timbucktoomfg.com/site_products/deluxe.html
http://www.scmdistributors.com/tmi_deluxecruiser.htm

If you're wanting a machine that's better than a rental unit, you could just buy a Cruiser model, which has either a single three stage vaccuum motor or two two stage vaccuum motors:

http://www.timbucktoomfg.com/site_products/cruiser.html

Most rental machines only have a single two stage vaccuum motor, which is really not enough to do a proper job. You can get your carpet clean with one of these, but you pretty well need to make two passes; a cleaning pass and a clean water rinse pass.

I don't think TMI makes anything with only a single two stage vaccuum motor in it.

The Cruiser with a single three stage vaccuum motor or two two stage vaccuum motor is typical of what most small carpet cleaning contractors who are just starting out in the business use.

I got my TMI Deluxe D-106 for about half of what similarily equipped machines made by other manufacturers cost. I've been using it for the past 10 years now with no problems. You can tell that it's "hand made" because of the relatively crude way the bottom was cut to make room for the larger vaccuum motors, but that doesn't bother me.

If you can afford it, get the optional 60 to 500 psi pump on it so that you can use it as a "low pressure" pressure washer too. You wouldn't be able to peel paint off of concrete with it, but you could certainly put some Mr. Clean in the solution tank and spray wash your car with it.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 08-25-2008 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:30 AM   #4
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


Beth:

Much depends on what size carpeting you have to clean. If you have a building with 24 units in it -all with carpeting, then buy yourself a $2000 portable carpet cleaning machine. You'll probably be running it every few weeks, it'll last you 7 years and will pay for itself....

If you have a house with 4 bedrooms and 1200sqft of carpeting, it might be a toss-up between having it done and renting a machine; depends. A company might charge around $200 to do that - but will do it better than you could with a rental.

If on the other hand you have a 2-bedroom apartment with 300 sqft of carpeting that, by your own admission, is worn, dirty and soon to be replaced, it makes no sense to own a machine like that, or any other one unless you plan on replacing the carpet with more carpet. Here, I'd suggest you have them done for you by a pro. Cost would be around $60 or so, but could depend on a lot of things.

Done once a year by a good carpet cleaner, that'll cost $60. Rent a machine from a supermarket will cost you $35 plus a (lifetime) supply of their chemicals, for another $20 (detergent and defoamers etc).

The rental unit will do a so-so job, the pro will do the best possible...so, where's the savings?
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


While we're on the topic of carpet cleaning, I thought I would dispell a few misconceptions about cleaning carpets:

0. Definition: A carpet "shampooer" is one that has a moving brush to agitate the carpet. A carpet "extractor" is one which does not have any form of mechanical agitation of the carpet fiber other than by moving the wand over the carpet fiber.

1. The best way to clean a carpet is not with a carpet shampoo'er or extractor. The best way to keep carpets clean is by regular vaccuuming. That's because most of the soil in a dirty carpet is solids. It's dirt and grit from the bottoms of your shoes or that's blown in through open windows, dead skin cells that have fallen off you and onto the carpet, paper and cloth fibers, plant pollen from open windows and indoor plants and hair from people and pets. All of that is solid matter.

2. Carpet shampoo'ers aren't NEARLY as effective as vaccuum cleaners at removing solid soils from your carpet because they get the carpet wet, and the surface tension of the water in your carpet holds the soil in to the carpet fibers. Next time you're at the beach, try shaking sand out of wet hair and dry hair and find out which one works better. Carpet shampoo'ers are meant for removing dried up liquid spills from carpets. The best way to clean a carpet is to FIRST vaccuum it thoroughly to remove as much solid soil as possible, and THEN shampoo it to remove the dried up liquids spilled on it.

3. You can do a better job keeping your carpet clean if you use your head more than your wallet. If you have a regular vaccuum cleaner with an agitating brush and a wet/dry Shop Vac vaccuum cleaner, you can do as good as any pro cleaning your carpet. Vaccuum regularily, and use the Shop Vac to pull any spilled liquids out of your carpet. Every place listed under Janitorial Equipment & Supplies that sells carpet cleaning chemicals will also sell something called "spotting kits". A spotting kit is a collection of from 8 to 22 different stain removers for removing various kinds of stains from various likes of carpets, upholsteries and draperies. If you have a tea stain on a nylon carpet, just to to your local janitorial supply store and ask for a spotter to remove it. Apply the stain remover to the spot, agitate with your fingers and pull the soiled cleaner out of the carpet with the suction hose of your Shop Vac applied directly to the pile of the carpet. Repeat as necessary. Then rinse with clean rinse water.
If you can read the English instructions on the stain remover, you can use your Shop Vac to remove stains as well as any pro can. Some carpets, like the ones made from DuPont Stainmaster nylon fiber require special chemicals, but any place that sells carpet cleaning chemicals or advertises that they have people on staff that are IIRCC accredited can give you instructions on how to clean Stainmaster fiber. These spotting kits are available individually or in a set of 8 to 22, and they are the same chemicals that the pros use to clean stains out of your carpet. If you can read the instructions and follow them, you can clean stains out of your carpet as well as any pro.

4. If you rent a carpet extractor, be aware that the suction power in the extractor isn't very strong, and the instructions given by RugDoctor and EasyOff tell you to use 5 times as much soap as you need. The result is that you don't get most of the soap out of the carpet, and that soap dies on the carpet pile and dirt tends to stick to it, making the carpet get dirty faster and also making normal vaccuuming ineffective at removing that dirt. If you use as much soap as RugDoctor or EasyOff recommend, you can avoid problems with your carpet getting dirty fast by doing a second pass over your carpet with just clean tap water in the solution tank.

5. If you buy a better carpet extractor or shampoo'er, the very best way to clean a carpet is as follows:

a) Apply an enzyme cleaner to the whole carpet, and a traffic lane cleaner in the traffic lanes. An enzyme is nothing more than a protein that breaks down other proteins. Since many common carpet stains are food stains, which often have proteins in them, breaking those proteins down makes the pieces more readily soluble in water for better cleaning results. Allow the enzyme cleaner and traffic lane cleaner at least 15 minutes to work. I let them work for at least a half hour.

b) Do a regular pass over the carpet with the carpet cleaning solution in your solution tank.

c) Now, go over the carpet with an acidic rinse. People often will use 1 cup of vinegar in a 5 gallon solution tank of clean tap water. Carpet cleaning detergents are slightly alkali in nature, and most foods are acidic in nature, and leaving any residual alkali cleaner on your carpet will attract acidic food spills, causing your carpet to be more likely to stain. The acidic rinse will both neutralize the alkalinity of any residual soap in your carpet and leave the carpet fiber slightly acidic so that it's not as prone to be stained by foods. You can buy acid rinse concentrates at any place that sells carpet cleaning supplies. Seldom will any carpet cleaning contractor do an acid rinse pass on a carpet unless he's wanting to impress you in how good a job he's doing.

PS: There's a dirty little secret in the carpet cleaning business.
Seldom will any carpet cleaning contractor do an acid rinse pass on a carpet unless he's wanting to impress you in how good a job he's doing. If a customer asks about doing an acidic rinse pass because of the alkalinity of the soap, the normal response by the contractor will be: "Ain't necessary Ma'am, I'm using a friable soap."
What's a friable soap? A friable soap is one that is supposed to dry to a brittle crumbly film on the carpet fiber as the residual moisture on the carpet dries up. The whole idea is that the soap won't leave the carpet alkaline because normal vaccuuming will break up and remove the friable soap film remaining on the carpet fibers.
Here's the problem: A friable soam may dry to a crumbly film under clean test conditions in a lab, but you mix that soap with God knows what that happens to be in the carpet, and there's really no being sure of what it's gonna do. So, friable soaps are a double edge sword. If they work, then that's great. If they don't work because of all the other garbage that gets into the soap solution, then you just add to the soil that remains behind in your carpet after cleaning.
Most contractors won't do an acid rinse pass without charging extra. So, if you hire a contractor to clean your carpet, after he leaves, pour a quarter cup of vinegar in a gallon of water, and spray that down on your carpet with a spray bottle. The slightly acidic water will disperse throughout the moist carpet to both neutralize the alkalinity of the residual soap and leave the carpet slightly acidic.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 08-26-2008 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Good equipment to use for carpet cleaning?


Thanks for all the great information, and the education on the science of carpet cleaning!

To answer questions, we have a 3-bedroom house that's all carpeted except the kitchen and the baths. Plan to leave a couple of the bedrooms carpeted in the future, but put a hard floor surface in living room, hallway, and one of the bedrooms...somewhere in the future! So we will have a limited on-going need to clean carpets. The bedroom carpets are not going to get a lot of spills...it will be more the dusty dirt and foot traffic.

We have an old Kirby shampooer that does not rinse...it does pull out dirty water and ick that used to be in the carpet, but leaves behind soap film. May be possible to come up with a rinse system.

We did have a couple of less-than-stellar experiences with professional cleaning, unfortunately. Trying to avoid that situation if possible, even though it's less work when they do it for you and do a good job!

I'm sorry the "residential" machines aren't as good as the Rug Doctor rentals! That reduces our options, but it's good to know before we'd waste money.

Not sure about the sources that you mentioned, Nestor. They have not yet responded to inquiry, and they appear to only sell wholesale. They will have one of their reps call us...I think. If the cost of quality machines is huge, we'll probably just save towards new floors!

Thanks again for information!

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