Tests have shown that 70 -80 % of the soil in carpet is dry, insoluble, soil. Not only will it not dissolve, extraction cleaning wands do not do well at picking it up. A hot water extraction wand is designed to suck up water. When “prespray” is appliedt, its job is to dissolve the soluble soil and make a suspension in the prespray. A suspension is best described as what happens when sugar disappears in water. It’s not gone, its being held or “suspended” by the water. Much of the soluble material that dissolves or is "suspended" into the liquid prespray is extracted up into the cleaning wand, during rinsing.

A large part of the insoluble sand and hair is left behind, by a cleaning wand.

The best way to remove this dry, insoluble, material, is by carpet vacuuming. It makes little sense to fill up the sprayer with cleaning solution, spray, agitate it in, rinse and extract with a $15,000 or more truckmounted machine, to have a large % of dry soil left behind. I know you can hear the sand going up the wand but, you’re leaving, behind, a lot more!

A simple, relatively inexpensive carpet vacuuming, does a better job at dry soil removal than that truckmount with a wand! It’s a no brainer……….vacuum thoroughly, before doing your cleaning process, no matter which process it is

You are doing an incomplete job, unless a portion of the 74 - 79% that is dry, insoluble, soil is being removed.

ALSO, a certain amount of the soil that will be turned into mud, can be removed by carpet vacuuming. Dry soil is easier to remove, from carpet and upholstery, than mud.


If the vacuum cleaner has a bag, change the bag when it’s half to two-thirds full. Vacuum cleaners work on airflow. As the bag gets fuller there can be less air flow. Bagless vacuums have been shown to give more consistent suction.


Some manufacturers frown upon brushes being used on vacuums. Many CRI approved vacuums, have no brush. However, for a brushless vacuum to be effective you need adequate air flow or “suction”


Much of commercial building maintenance is dry soil containment. A good pile lifter on short cut pile or low loop commercial can literally pull soil from underneath it..This pile lifting can remove so much dry soil, it looks as good as other wet cleaning methods. You’re using a machine that will last 50 years – brushes every 5 years :)  and the customers’ electricity. Do a little spotting of drips and spills and you have provided one visit of maintenance that cost very little.


The dust that’s on the hard furniture, is also on the couch! Regular vacuuming can help keep the upholstered furniture from getting this dust ground in and developing that gray look.

Encourage your customers to vacuum. It will make your work look better, as well as making their carpet and upholstery last longer.


         MAKE MONEY!


        Dennis Klager

           IICRC Instructor


Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager