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Old 05-26-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


Phoned up a place for estimate on cleaning my carpet after the sump pump backed up onto it. They are quoting me around $300, they want to tear it out and clean it on both sides with some antibacterial stuff.

I think this is outrageous - its rain water, most of the water was contained in the underlay and it was thrown out the same night it happened. The carpet airdried levitated on buckets with a fan blowing on high steady for 2 days. I bleached the floor and replaced the underlay, reglued seams.

I think it just needs a $99 special cleanup. I have another place booked for just a regular cleaning but I want some opinions. If I have to do the $300 cleaning, I may as well throw away the carpet and get a new one for that price!

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Old 05-26-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


After doing all of that - now go rent yourself a Rug Doctor and finish the job. That will take the sting out of it for you.

By-the-way...the $300 job is more than fair.

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Old 07-02-2008, 12:05 PM   #3
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Yeah, exactly. Just get a rug doctor and clean it up so it's respectable
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


Got a place to do it for $90, did an excellent job. Been a month and no odors.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by n0c7 View Post
Got a place to do it for $90, did an excellent job. Been a month and no odors.

Rug Doctor about $35.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:01 PM   #6
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


nOc7:

Some information to keep in mind for a possible "next time":

If you ever replace your basement carpet:

1. put in a "pet pad". An underpad meant for pets is made from foam rubber, but they use less blowing gas so that the bubbles aren't interconnected. As a result, pet urine won't be absorbed by the pad, and won't pass through the pad. Similarily, if your sump pump backs up again, you need only dry out both sides of the underpad, and put it back in place.

2. Carpets are typically only made from three kinds of fiber; wool, nylon, polyester and polypropylene. Polypropylene is the only fiber that cannot be conventionally dyed. The only way to make coloured polypropylene fiber is to add coloured particles (called "pigments") to molten polypropylene before drawing that liquid plastic into a fiber (a process called "solution dying"). Since these pigments are thus encased in plastic, you can use bleach straight out of the jug on polypropylene carpets without concern for damage to them. Normally, in the carpet industry, polypropylene carpets are called "Olefin" carpets.
So, if you have pets, you can use bleach on the carpet after removing pet "accidents" to disinfect and sterilize the carpet where your pet had his accident. Similarily, you'd be able to use a Rug Doctor to shampoo your carpet with bleach to disinfect it after a flood. And, it occurs to everyone here, that you would have little to lose by getting one of those car mat size samples of any 100% Olefin carpet and torturing it with bleach just to prove it won't harm the carpet.
Similarily, solution dyed commercial nylon carpets can be cleaned with bleach without harming the carpet.

A note about renting carpet shampooers:

If you ever rent a carpet shampooer from a store, and feel compelled to follow the directions on the Rug Doctor or Easy Off machine, then make sure you do a second pass over your carpet with just clean water in your solution tank.

And, here's why... (and I'm not making any accusations here)

The reason for this is that both of these companies will advise you to use 1 to 2 fluid ounces of carpet shampoo per gallon of solution tank water. A more typical dilution rate for carpet cleaning would be about 1 to 2 fluid ounces of detergent per 5 gallons of solution tank water. Consequently, if you follow the directions Rug Doctor or Easy Off suggest, you'll be using about 5 times as much soap as professionals do in their own equipment.

Now, just like automobile engines are rated according to the number of cylinders and the horsepower, vaccuum motors are rated according to the number of stages and their "inches of water lift". A normal Hoover upright vaccuum cleaner will have a single stage vaccuum motor which will lift a column of water about 30 inches high at sea level. A shop style vaccuum cleaner or a rental carpet shampooer will have a two stage vaccuum motor which will lift a column of water about 55 inches high at sea level. A three stage vaccuum motor, which is what you typically find in entry level professional carpet cleaning machines, will lift a column of water about 80 inches high at sea level. My carpet extractor has two three stage vaccuum motors in parallel, and it'll lift a column of water about 130 inches at sea level (but I never tried it). And gasoline powered truck mounted units will have 6 to 8 three stage vaccuum motors all piped in parallel and will suck a golf ball through a garden hose.
You need this high vaccuum to remove as much of the dirty cleaning solution from your carpet as possible. The higher the vaccuum the more dirty cleaning solution you recover from your carpet after shampooing it, and the cleaner your carpet is when it's dry.

NOW. In the case of a rented carpet shampooer, if you follow the instructions you'll be using 5 times as much soap in your cleaning solution as a professional would. And, because the rental machines only have a two stage vaccuum motor, you leave behind a lot more cleaning solution in the carpet than the pro would. So, what happens? Well, as the carpet dries all that residual soap left in the carpet after shampooing remains behind as a thin sticky film on every carpet fiber in your carpet's pile. The result is that dirt sticks to your carpet like a magnet and normal vaccuuming to remove dirt becomes ineffective. In fact, the ONLY way to remove that dirt soap layer from your carpet is to shampoo it again, and dissolve that filthy soap film on your carpet fibers in more water. And, when people do that, they see that the recovery tank is absolutely filthy, and they conclude that this Rug Doctor or Easy Off machine really got their carpet clean (cuz the dirt had to come from somewhere, right?) In reality, it was the high soap content used to shampoo the carpet in the first instance that resulted in the carpet having too much soap in it after shampooing, and that made it predisposed to getting dirty quickly afterwards.

So, if you rent a carpet shampoo'er, and choose to follow the stupid instructions that come with it, then follow up the normal shampooing with a second pass using only clean water to remove the soap solution left in the carpet. That way you'll remove most of the residual soap in the carpet so that dirt doesn't stick to your carpet, and it can be removed normally with a vaccuum cleaner.

Now you also know why people that think "Well, 1 to 2 ounces per gallon doesn't sound like much. I'll pour half this gallon in and really get the carpet clean!" are just shooting themselves in the foot.

I can always tell when a tenant of mine has shampoo'd their carpet during their tenancy because I have to use 3 or 4 times as much defoamer to keep the foam under control in my recovery tank. Otherwise I'd get soap foam sucked into my vaccuum motors.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-02-2008 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:35 PM   #7
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


Wow, most detailed reply I've seen in a long time. Thanks for the tips. Definitely sounds like you know your stuff.
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Old 07-03-2008, 06:15 PM   #8
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No, it's just that I use professional carpet cleaning chemicals like ChemSpec and Ramsey, and when I saw RugDoctor's instructions saying to use the equivalent of 5 to 10 ounces of soap in a 5 gallon shampooer, I was bewildered and confused.

But, then my sinister side figured out a good reason for them to advise people to use too much soap.
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:14 PM   #9
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Nestor. A carpet salesman I was good friends with and managed one of the color tile franchises, here in Florida, always told his new carpet customers to have their steam cleaners clean the carpet, but insist that they use no shampoo. Hot water only!

I always knew that some professional cleaners use way too much soap, but I am uncomfortable subscribing to his theory.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:21 PM   #10
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HomeDepot:

I agree. You should have some soap in your cleaning solution, but not 1 to 2 fluid ounces per gallon.

If you consider that there's maybe about three gallons of water in the average kitchen sink when doing dishes, that would be like using 3 to 6 fluid ounces of dish washing detergent every time you do dishes in your kitchen sink. Who does that? All you need is a squirt, and your average plate has a lot more greasy soil on it than your average carpet. 3 to 6 ounces is a small to medium size Dixie cup full of dish washing detergent. That's enough to foam up any public fountain in Europe!

Some people might counter that Rug Doctor's or Easy Off's soap maybe isn't as concentrated as the stuff carpet cleaning contractor's use. But, if that were the case, why is it that Rug Doctor's or Easy Off's carpet soap costs more? (Rug Doctor's soap costs about $38 per gallon, but I can buy ChemSpec's Formula 77 for about $25 per gallon?) The fact remains that Rug Doctor and Easy Off know that people are going to buy their soaps and follow their instructions because anyone renting a carpet shampoo'er knows diddly squat about cleaning carpets and will do as they're told. The only issue I have with that is that doing as one is told is very conducive to one having problems keeping one's carpet clean.

A gallon of carpet cleaning detergent should be considered a "life time supply" for a typical homeowner.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-04-2008 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 07-04-2008, 06:19 AM   #11
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Carpet cleaning - sump water


Nestor K is right on. Well said. From a chemical point of view, the amount needed of a surfactant ("detergent" if you like) to affect changes in a number of physio-chemical areas, that all have to do with cleaning is about 0.1%. What I am saying is that below that level not much happens, but at that level, things do. Above that level doesn't really help much and may cause more harm than good.

So in a 20-litre tank (5 gall approx), you need about a tablespoon of surface active agent, or detergent, to turn the water into a 'cleaning solution'. And indeed RugDoctor suggests way more than that so that you use far too much chemical in the cleaning, leaving a residue that absorbs dirt faster than before. Hence you'll be back sooner to rent the machine again.

Also, if the $300 company had any experience in water damage, they might just have applied sound principles that they had to apply to your situation. Thus they might have considered this to be a Category 3 water damage, or "grey" water, or whatever they call it. In that case, there are certain procedures to follow like placing fans for 24 hoours and bacterial treatments. I did a 20x20 basement nylon carpet where a toilet crackad and split about 80 gallons of water onto the carpet. Cost? $700 and two days work, three fans.

You might get away with a $99 cleaning job but if mold develops and your family became ill due to that mold, you could sue him out of business - and that's not a risk most companies can afford.
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:48 PM   #12
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also be ready for a re-stretch later
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:11 PM   #13
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Ccarlisle:

I understand that the difference between a "soap" and a "detergent" is that soaps are made from natural materials (animal fats or plant oils) and a strong alkali.

And, I understand that the word "detergent" simply means that it's a soap made synthetically from chemicals in a lab as opposed to natural materials.

And, finally, I understand that a surfactant is a "surface active agent" that allows droplets of one fluid to become suspended in another to form an emulsion.

Exactly, what is the difference between a surfactant and a detergent? Is it that detergents are one subset of surfactants, and are made for the purpose of cleaning, whereas surfactants in general can have many different non-cleaning applications.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:24 AM   #14
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Nestor:

Again, correct on both accounts in re: soaps and detergents; "soap" is a word we reserve for the product of fats and an alkali viz: Oleic acid+sodium hydroxide= sodium oleate. "Detergent" has come to mean a synthetic product that has the same properties as "soap" i.e. lowers surface tension, forms critical micelles and emulsifies dirt. Sodium alkyl benzene sulphonate is well-known anionic surfactant made from synthtic ingredients derived in part from natural gas and oil.

But a detergent mosttimes is a componded product. That is it may contain builders, sequestering agents, foam stabilizers etc that have less to do with cleaning than with perceived performance. Mostly, detergents all contain "surface active agents" (surfactants for short) that do the most in terms of cleaning, like lowering surface tension etc and all those things that make water wetter. So the vocabulary is such that detergents may contain a surfactant but a surfactant doesn't contain a detergent. So a detergent is a "cleaner" but a surfactant isn't always. There are a number of different sorts of surfactants and 4 major categories of ionic charge to them.

Dishwashing and laundry detergents, hand cleaners, shampoos are all detergents that contain surface active agents; trisodium phosphate is alos a detergent - but doesn't contain a surfactant. But TSP does clean...

Some surfactants (not all) have properties that make them "emusifiers", i.e. that form micelles around a droplet of, say, oil to allow that droplet to stay suspended in the water for a given period of time. You've just made an "emulsion" and may cosmetics are just that: emulsions of an oil in water giving you a nice face cream...

In pure chemical terms, your laundry softener also contains a 'surfactant' (a cationic) but it has no cleaning action - that presumably has already been done in the wash. So detregents and surfactants are 2 classes of compounds whose worlds sometimes intersect but remain separate.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:44 AM   #15
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Oh thanks mate. Very great response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
nOc7:

Some information to keep in mind for a possible "next time":

If you ever replace your basement carpet:

1. put in a "pet pad". An underpad meant for pets is made from foam rubber, but they use less blowing gas so that the bubbles aren't interconnected. As a result, pet urine won't be absorbed by the pad, and won't pass through the pad. Similarily, if your sump pump backs up again, you need only dry out both sides of the underpad, and put it back in place.

2. Carpets are typically only made from three kinds of fiber; wool, nylon, polyester and polypropylene. Polypropylene is the only fiber that cannot be conventionally dyed. The only way to make coloured polypropylene fiber is to add coloured particles (called "pigments") to molten polypropylene before drawing that liquid plastic into a fiber (a process called "solution dying"). Since these pigments are thus encased in plastic, you can use bleach straight out of the jug on polypropylene carpets without concern for damage to them. Normally, in the carpet industry, polypropylene carpets are called "Olefin" carpets.
So, if you have pets, you can use bleach on the carpet after removing pet "accidents" to disinfect and sterilize the carpet where your pet had his accident. Similarily, you'd be able to use a Rug Doctor to shampoo your carpet with bleach to disinfect it after a flood. And, it occurs to everyone here, that you would have little to lose by getting one of those car mat size samples of any 100% Olefin carpet and torturing it with bleach just to prove it won't harm the carpet.
Similarily, solution dyed commercial nylon carpets can be cleaned with bleach without harming the carpet.

A note about renting carpet shampooers:

If you ever rent a carpet shampooer from a store, and feel compelled to follow the directions on the Rug Doctor or Easy Off machine, then make sure you do a second pass over your carpet with just clean water in your solution tank.

And, here's why... (and I'm not making any accusations here)

The reason for this is that both of these companies will advise you to use 1 to 2 fluid ounces of carpet shampoo per gallon of solution tank water. A more typical dilution rate for carpet cleaning would be about 1 to 2 fluid ounces of detergent per 5 gallons of solution tank water. Consequently, if you follow the directions Rug Doctor or Easy Off suggest, you'll be using about 5 times as much soap as professionals do in their own equipment.

Now, just like automobile engines are rated according to the number of cylinders and the horsepower, vaccuum motors are rated according to the number of stages and their "inches of water lift". A normal Hoover upright vaccuum cleaner will have a single stage vaccuum motor which will lift a column of water about 30 inches high at sea level. A shop style vaccuum cleaner or a rental carpet shampooer will have a two stage vaccuum motor which will lift a column of water about 55 inches high at sea level. A three stage vaccuum motor, which is what you typically find in entry level professional carpet cleaning machines, will lift a column of water about 80 inches high at sea level. My carpet extractor has two three stage vaccuum motors in parallel, and it'll lift a column of water about 130 inches at sea level (but I never tried it). And gasoline powered truck mounted units will have 6 to 8 three stage vaccuum motors all piped in parallel and will suck a golf ball through a garden hose.
You need this high vaccuum to remove as much of the dirty cleaning solution from your carpet as possible. The higher the vaccuum the more dirty cleaning solution you recover from your carpet after shampooing it, and the cleaner your carpet is when it's dry.

NOW. In the case of a rented carpet shampooer, if you follow the instructions you'll be using 5 times as much soap in your cleaning solution as a professional would. And, because the rental machines only have a two stage vaccuum motor, you leave behind a lot more cleaning solution in the carpet than the pro would. So, what happens? Well, as the carpet dries all that residual soap left in the carpet after shampooing remains behind as a thin sticky film on every carpet fiber in your carpet's pile. The result is that dirt sticks to your carpet like a magnet and normal vaccuuming to remove dirt becomes ineffective. In fact, the ONLY way to remove that dirt soap layer from your carpet is to shampoo it again, and dissolve that filthy soap film on your carpet fibers in more water. And, when people do that, they see that the recovery tank is absolutely filthy, and they conclude that this Rug Doctor or Easy Off machine really got their carpet clean (cuz the dirt had to come from somewhere, right?) In reality, it was the high soap content used to shampoo the carpet in the first instance that resulted in the carpet having too much soap in it after shampooing, and that made it predisposed to getting dirty quickly afterwards.

So, if you rent a carpet shampoo'er, and choose to follow the stupid instructions that come with it, then follow up the normal shampooing with a second pass using only clean water to remove the soap solution left in the carpet. That way you'll remove most of the residual soap in the carpet so that dirt doesn't stick to your carpet, and it can be removed normally with a vaccuum cleaner.

Now you also know why people that think "Well, 1 to 2 ounces per gallon doesn't sound like much. I'll pour half this gallon in and really get the carpet clean!" are just shooting themselves in the foot.

I can always tell when a tenant of mine has shampoo'd their carpet during their tenancy because I have to use 3 or 4 times as much defoamer to keep the foam under control in my recovery tank. Otherwise I'd get soap foam sucked into my vaccuum motors.

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