The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has created a national standard and reference guide for professional carpet cleaning. In doing so, it has established the five principles of cleaning that are subscribed to by their members, manufacturers and Certified Firms.
These five principles should be included as part of the carpet cleaner’s service. Beware of cleaners who don’t offer or who charge extra for these services. When looking for a reputable firm, make sure they subscribe to the following:
1. Dry Soil Removal: Up to 70% of the soil in carpet can be removed in its dry state, by the use of professional quality vacuum equipment – before any cleaning solutions are applied to the carpet.
2. Soil Suspension: Soil suspension occurs when soil is separated from the carpet fibers. Professional carpet cleaners apply solutions to the carpet to break soil down and emulsify other soluble soils.
3. Soil Extraction: With dry soil removed, it’s time to extract remaining suspended soils. While there are five primary methods of carpet cleaning, virtually all carpet manufacturers recommend professional hot water extraction. This method allows for the extraction of the soil and cleaning solutions by rinsing with hot water, generally by a truck-mounted extraction unit.
4. Grooming the Carpet Pile: Grooming assists in the drying time of the carpet and allows for the carpet to have an appearance free of swirl or “wand” marks in the pile. Grooming will also provide uniform distribution of carpet protectors such as Scotchgard™ by 3M or “Teflon”.
5. Drying: Often times, the first question consumers ask of carpet cleaners is about drying time. The standard set by the IICRC, is that drying occur within 6 – 8 hours, however, drying time must not exceed 24 hours. Drying longer than these standards presents a variety of problems, such as delamination and can create an environment for growth of mold.