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Deep cleaning of fitted carpets

The newer and structured kinds of carpets that have come on to the market in recent years require modern cleaning methods and systems that go beyond the well-known wet cleaning methods such as shampooing or spray extraction or a combination of the two.

Owners and users of premises with fitted carpets are given detailed cleaning advice by manufacturers and suppliers to help them with cleaning. It is important to follow these instructions because if a carpet is not cleaned properly at regular intervals, the manufacturer is not as a rule obliged to guarantee it. Recommendations on the choice of cleaning agents can be a great help in minimising complaints. As a matter of principle, the more efficient the maintenance cleaning, the less frequently you have to organise time-consuming interim or deep cleaning. The structured carpets mentioned above require maintenance cleaning using brush-type vacuum systems so as to draw dirt reliably from the base of the pile with the help of the special roller brush. These systems also pick up threads and hairs reliably. At the same time, they brush up the pile to restore the carpet’s overall appearance. Naturally, a stain remover is essential because stains are best removed immediately.

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How textile floor coverings are made

Textile fibres are applied to a number of basic fabrics such as felt, jute or polypropylene by various methods like tufting, knotting, weaving or flocking. Synthetic fibres such as polyamide or natural fibres such as cotton or viscose are used either individually or in a blend. Textile floor coverings can be classified according to their surface properties:

  • looped pile
  • cut-loop pile (possibly with a combination of long and short loops)
  • velour
  • needle felt (intermingled, horizontal staple fibres needled together)
  • low-lop Kugelgarn® with a surface made up of numerous fibre balls
  • The last two are considered to be particularly hard-wearing

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Deep cleaning is wet cleaning

Despite efficient maintenance and interim cleaning, it is advisable to give the carpet a wet deep cleaning once a year, mainly to remove dirt that has accumulated deep in the pile or is stuck to the pile.

Until now, wet cleaning is the only form of deep cleaning. So the user must check in advance the type of floor covering and how it is fixed. Wet cleaning is only suitable for carpets that are resistant to moisture. That also applies, and in equal measure, to the backing material and adhesive. Before starting to clean, it is advisable to make a sketch or take a photo of the premises with furniture so as to be able to reinstate the rooms in their original condition afterwards.

Nowadays, felt is often used as a carpet backing material. It is very sensitive to wet condition. So it must be cleaned with machines that vacuum up a high proportion of the moisture; otherwise apart; from taking a long time to dry, it may emit unpleasant odours.

In any case, before wet cleaning, the carpet must be cleaned thoroughly with a brush-type vacuum and obvious stains must be removed with stain remover.

Spray-extraction cleaners with integrated roller brush

Machines with an integrated brush suction head are increasingly being used to remove dirt optimally from fitted carpet structures. We distinguish between single and double roller-brush heads with a floating suspension that enables them to adjust to the individual type of carpet and depth of pile.

So how does this system work? Basically, by a one-step method that prevents the fitted carpet (e.g. felt-backed) from becoming soaked. The cleaning solution (mixed according on the degree of soiling) is sprayed on to the roller brush via a pump in the machine and then worked into the carpet fibres. The cleaning solution comes into contact with the dirt on the fibre, bonding forces are neutralised and the dirt swells up. The additional mechanical power of the brush removes even heavier dirt from the base of the pile. Along with that already removed from the fibre, it is channelled to the suction stream and then into the dirty water tank. The carpet is cleaned section by section. As a rule, the operator pulls the machine towards him/her, which takes some getting used to. The working speed should be adapted to the degree of soiling.

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Cleaning procedure instructions

Professional, proper carpet cleaning is always performed in accordance with RAL 991 A2. That alone makes it possible to check the cleaning work. RAL 991 A2 defines a proper professional approach as follows:

  1. Check type of floor covering
  2. Check how it is fixed
  3. Vacuum with a brush-type vacuum
  4. Check for stains / remove stains
  5. Deep clean
  6. Check for stains / repeat stain removal
  7. Vacuum with a brush-type vacuum

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Very good extraction

The dead weight of the aluminium spray-extraction brush head and the weight of the fresh/dirty water tank on top of the brush head ensure very good extraction of the cleaning solution that has been worked into the carpet, leaving only a small amount of residual moisture.

The carpet must now be rinsed by the same method in order to minimise resoiling by detergent residues. When choosing a cleaning agent, it is essential to make sure that any residues are crystalline and do not stick the fibres together. This helps to counteract clogging of the fibres and inability to recover with the resulting excessive wear and tear.

For larger areas, machines with a larger tank capacity and (contra-rotating) twin roller systems are used. These can be either pulled or pushed.

Air blower aids faster drying

Another piece of equipment that definitely makes fitted carpets dry faster is a high-performance air blower. This can shorten drying times by up to 50%. However, it is essential to ensure adequate ventilation.

After deep cleaning, the carpet must not be walked on until it is completely dry. Before replacing furniture, or walking on the carpet, it should be vacuumed thoroughly with a brush-type vacuum cleaner so as to pick any remaining detergent residues. Textile floor coverings cleaned in the way described above will regain their original colour and structure, thereby making a considerable contribution towards the premises’ positive appearance.

Gerd Heidrich, Training Manager,
Alfred Kärcher Vertriebs-GmbH
Niels W. Buhrke, freelance journalist

 

The newer and structured kinds of carpets that have come on to the market in recent years require modern cleaning methods and systems that go beyond the well-known wet cleaning methods such as shampooing or spray extraction or a combination of the two. Owners and users of premises with fitted carpets are given detailed cleaning advice by manufacturers and suppliers to help them with cleaning. It is important to follow these instructions because if a carpet is not cleaned properly at regular intervals, the manufacturer is not as a rule obliged to guarantee it. Recommendations on the choice of cleaning…

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