The Ultimate Equipment Guide for Your Carpet Cleaning Business
As the leader of a carpet cleaning or restoration business, you have a lot of work on your plate. As it stands, carpet cleaning and restoration are hugely time-consuming tasks that take up hours of manpower, especially if you aren’t working with the most effective materials and equipment. Many carpet-cleaning businesses still use equipment they purchased decades ago because they think it will save them money compared to investing in new equipment. However, between the higher repair costs and lower efficiency levels associated with older equipment, looking to invest in quality equipment that will do the work for you should be on your radar.
Basic equipment to stock
Depending on the size of your business and the cleaning contracts you’re fulfilling, you may not be in the market for industrial equipment, but there are still some basic essentials that you need to have on hand. Especially if you’re a new carpet cleaning business just starting in the industry, these are some items that should always be in your toolkit.
Towels and rags
Every quality cleaning service has ample towels and rags on hand. Make sure yours are ideally suited for the job. Microfiber towels are best for hand drying and spot cleaning, while absorbent shop rags are good to have on hand for quick clean-up jobs.
Stocking the correct cleaning solutions can mean the difference between a deep cleaning and a short-term treatment. There are many different types of cleaning chemicals, so the type you need will vary from job to job, but as a basic rule of thumb, make sure you have a pre-spray solution, an extracting solution, and a spot/stain-removing solution. Things like odor control solutions and pH modifiers can also be helpful in various situations. Keep these solutions stored in their original containers, to ensure that you’ll always have the manufacturer’s label for use instructions and safety precautions with the product.
The drying process is just as crucial as the cleaning process when it comes to carpets. If you don’t dry carpet effectively, it can lead to mold and mildew buildup in the spot-cleaned areas. If you don’t have access to industrial air movers, a couple of industrial fans placed around the treated areas can help move the air and keep it from getting stagnant.
When using an extraction machine, have a bucket filled with clean water and another available for dirty water to empty the machine as you work. Keeping separate clean and dirty water buckets will help make sure that sediment from the dirty water doesn’t get into the extractor and potentially clog the inlet filter.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Not only do you want to take the best possible care of your clients’ carpets, but you also need to take care of yourself and your workers in the process. Wearing things like latex gloves and safety glasses as well as keeping your skin is covered up correctly are all important means of ensuring your employees’ safety while on the job site.
Industrial cleaning equipment essentials
While having the right basic supplies on hand is vital to getting the job done, these items won’t necessarily help you get carpets cleaned quickly and efficiently. That’s where industrial and commercial cleaning equipment comes in. These machines have been fine-tuned to help increase cleaning efficiency and productivity and are a game changer when it comes to taking your business to the next level.
Commercial vacuum cleaners
The potent motors in industrial-grade vacuum cleaners offer much more powerful suction abilities than kit vacuums. These help immensely when removing dirt and dust from carpet, especially longer-hair carpets, such as shag, that are resistant to standard vacuuming. Commercial models are designed to be used up to seven hours a day, giving you the right operations capacity to expand your business as needed.
Industrial carpet cleaners
All the most significant carpet cleaning companies share, at the very least, this industrial piece of equipment in common. Industrial carpet cleaners are the power you need for cleaning heavy-duty messes and all your carpet cleaning jobs. They enhance dirt, debris, and stain removal immensely, giving you the power you need to tackle significant messes. The two main types of carpet cleaners are heated and nonheated, so check later in this guide to discover which type is best for your job.
Hot water extractors
Hot water extractors, also referred to as steam cleaners, are another effective means of fighting heavy stains and caked-on dirt in carpet. It’s important to note that, despite their name, carpet steam cleaners do not actually produce steam. Rather, they spray high-temperature water. The phrase “steam cleaner” caught on decades ago and stuck. Actual vapor steam cleaners are used for cleaning hard surfaces and are not very effective on carpets.
With hot water extractors, high temperatures paired with the in-line vacuum motors help speed up both cleaning and drying. Here, the combined power of heat and extraction takes the need for strenuous manpower and any guesswork out of the equation. The equipment is easy to operate, and different attachments can be added to so that you use the right tools for spot treatment versus covering larger surface areas.
Hand spot cleaning is not an option if you work on a vast carpeted area like a convention center, mall, or hotel. Walk-behind carpet extractors are the ideal manpower solution, as they just take one person to operate and can cover massive amounts of carpet in short periods of time. Coming in both heated and nonheated models, these machines simultaneously spray cleaning solutions while vacuuming. Keep in mind that a wand-based unit remains ideal for deep cleaning. You want to limit walk-behind equipment use to maintenance (more frequent) cleaning rather than deep cleaning.
Using equipment effectively on different carpet types
Now, you don’t need all of these pieces of equipment for every single job you do. Choosing the equipment you use for each job is a task in itself. However, if you prioritize effectively and use suitable equipment on various material surfaces, it can be as easy and effortless as flicking the “on” switch on your vacuum.
This is the most common carpet material you’ll come across. It’s strong and versatile, and the fibers can be woven in different styles to be used across businesses and homes. Thankfully, because it’s a more durable material, these are one of the easiest to clean. Vacuuming should be your go-to for dirt and debris removal, but steam cleaning and extraction are both also effective options for deep cleaning grime and associated odor and spot stain removal.
Polyester, or a combination including polyester, is another common carpet material that is also fairly easy to clean. Vacuuming and spot cleaning are both effective against polyester fibers, but the best option for you is likely going to be hot water extraction through the use of a walk-behind or spot extractor.
This carpeting is more commonly found in indoor/outdoor spaces like business patios, entryways, or home basements and is a very tough carpeting. Industrial vacuums will be your best option against this carpeting; it’s fairly stain and moisture-resistant but can retain dirt and debris. Dry carpet cleaners and heated models are also effective, but avoid wet treatments, as you don’t want to matte the carpeting fibers.
Wool is going to be less common in businesses, as it is more expensive than some other material options, but if you’re a carpet cleaning business that specializes in residential services, you’re likely to come across it regularly. Wool is a softer, less durable carpeting option than some other options, so you must treat it accordingly. Protect the fibers through lighter vacuuming and avoiding heat, focusing more on spot treatments and natural solutions, and only using cold water extraction.
An honorable mention goes to jute carpeting, simply because while it’s less common, it can be challenging to know which cleaning products to prioritize for use on it. It’s a natural rug, and while very durable with its burlap-like appearance and texture, it is susceptible to water. Be sure to use dry cleaning materials and products, and be cautious while cleaning to avoid damage to fibers. If your vacuum has a brushless suction head, this can be a great way to pick up debris without causing unnecessary roughness to the carpeting itself.
Whatever type of carpeting you’re working on, having the right cleaning equipment is essential. Cleaning equipment helps you and your staff tackle messes in the right and most effective way. It helps give you back time that can be spent in other areas of your business. When you’re not spending all your manpower and hours on hand cleaning, you’ll notice that you’ll be able to work on growing the business and taking on additional clients. Ultimately, with the right equipment in hand, your business can soar to new heights.
Author Matthew Baratta is Vice President of Operations at Daimer Industries®, a leader in innovative, technologically advanced commercial and industrial cleaning equipment for major commercial and industrial cleaning and restoration applications. Baratta has extensive cleaning industry knowledge and earned a master’s degree in Public Health. For more information, visit daimer.com.