All too often, a carpet cleaning project doesn’t go as anticipated.

You spend a large amount of time cleaning the carpet, using what you thought were the best in equipment and chemicals, and upon completion, the job looks pretty good. But when the carpet completely dries, it doesn’t look that good at all. In fact, you receive a complaint that it looks worse than it did before you cleaned it.

How is that possible?

It’s all about the soil load in the carpet and the physical response of remaining soils during drying. After all, the last part of the carpet to dry is the tips of the fibers, which is where any remaining soils will collect.

There are ways to deal with these challenges.

Dual methods can help

Furniture cleaners often use dual methods of cleaning because they are concerned with the chemical reaction on delicate fibers and dyes.

They might use a shampoo solution with agitation — which is appropriate to the fabric — and then use a light hot water extraction to rinse loosened soils. The result is typically a superb cleaning job. You can do the same for virtually any carpet, especially those with heavy, ground-in soils.

You can use a shampoo solution with a rotary scrubber, and then follow it up with hot water extraction. Or, you can use hot water extraction and follow that up with absorbent or oscillating pad cleaning.

The tremendous cleaning results of doing this come mainly from the extra agitation and soil suspension. And, in the case of the absorbent or oscillating pad cleaning after hot water extraction, you have not only more agitation but also more soil extraction.

More than one technician

When using dual-method cleaning, a two-man team is a smart idea. It is difficult for one person to be cost-effective when having to switch from one cleaning method to another.

With two technicians, one can begin cleaning with one method while the other moves furniture, sets up cleaning solutions and prepares the next method. This way, no time is lost. Cleaning is constantly taking place in the home or business, with minimal non-profitable downtime.

Encapsulation and hot water extraction

Gaining popularity is the use of encapsulation cleaning as a stand-alone system, but also as a cleaning method to be used after hot water extraction.

When a carpet is heavily soiled, and hot water extraction cleaning is used, the well-known problem of “wicking” means an unsatisfactory job after drying occurs. Running an encapsulation system a day or two after the wicking occurs makes the cleaning job successful. This is practical for commercial jobs more so than with residential jobs.

You need to anticipate this and work with the problem instead of hoping it doesn’t occur.

Many cleaners are utilizing encapsulation preconditioners and rinses, which will result in a non-sticky residue that minimizes wicking problems.

Extra agitation

Don’t forget that — even if you use dual-method cleaning — using extra agitation techniques will also give you better results.

The simple use of a carpet rake after applying preconditioner can easily double your cleaning results because the detergent effectiveness is increased and soil suspension is enhanced, making your hot water extraction — if that is your method of cleaning — much more effective.

The use of a cylindrical brush or rotary machine will work detergents into the carpet pile, cutting down on actual cleaning time and increasing soil removal.

And, best of all, more soil removal means less wicking and less callbacks for the dreaded “recleaning” — the type of cleaning that doesn’t pay, but costs.

Jeff Cross is the executive editor of Cleanfax and an industry trainer and consultant, and offers carpet cleaning marketing, disaster restoration marketing and contract cleaning marketing seminars and classes through Totally Booked University, and also IICRC technical training for carpet and furniture cleaning, spot and stain removal and carpet color repair. For more information, visit his technical training website and marketing training website.