January 2

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Carpet Cleaning Pre-Sprays


What are pre-sprays

Carpet Cleaning Pre-Sprays

This will be the first in a series of articles covering the different types of cleaning agents carpet cleaners might use to get your carpets clean.

We will cover all of these cleaning agents from a 50,000 foot level, but that should be enough for anyone to get a basic understanding of what these cleaning agents do.

**All Carpet Cleaning Companies Use Chemicals!**

Please do not fall for the advertisements you here from some companies saying  they use chemical free cleaning agents. This is not true! If a carpet is to be cleaned properly there, usually, are a number of cleaning agents used to remove soil, stains, and pet urine. The soil, stains, and, pet urine are not just removed using water. 

What Are Carpet Cleaning Pre-Sprays?

Pre-sprays are used as the initial cleaning agent before any actual cleaning even begins. Pre-sprays are vital to a good carpet cleaning job and are by FAR the largest amount of cleaning agent used on your carpet.

After a carpet cleaner vacuums the carpet(vacuuming should be done) a pre-spray is then sprayed on the carpet. The amount of pre-spray depends on two basic factors:

A. The Soil Load. Soil load is basically the amount of soil in the carpet. The pre-spray needs to address all of the soil in the carpet, or at least a very high percentage of the soil load.

B. The Face Weight Of The Carpet. A heavy face weight carpet is usually going to require more pre-spray to get to the soil load. A lighter face weight carpet is usually going to require less pre-spray because the pre-spray will have easier access to the soil load.

A and B usually go together hand and hand and might sound like the same thing, but they are slightly different.

The idea, when pre-spraying a carpet, is to get the fiber only as damp with the pre-spray as needed - as long as the pre-spray comes into contact in sufficient volume to break the soil down, and suspend that soil, for the rinsing process that will follow.

Pre-sprays, when used correctly, do an excellent job because they allow the carpet to basically
"soak" for five to 10 minutes.

After the initial "soaking" is completed, with maybe some agitation, the rinsing process begins. When a carpet is properly pre-sprayed, given the time to "soak" in the pre-spray, and then rinsed - the cleaning results are usually very good.

A really important aspect to this is that with a good pre-spray treatment NO cleaning agents are run through
the machine and LEFT IN THE CARPET. Good carpet cleaning means the soil, as much as possible, is removed from the carpet and THE CLEANING AGENTS ARE ALSO REMOVED.

Soil is considered anything that is foreign to the manufacture and end process of the carpet. So a cleaning agent could actually be considered soil.

If a carpet cleaning company is constantly running rinsing agents through their machines, instead of just using a good pre-spray treatment, it means the rinsing agents are LEFT IN THE CARPET and the carpet is not actually being rinsed.

You certainly would not want a cleaning agent to be left on your dishes after cleaning, or a bunch of detergent to be left in your clothes after cleaning - but this is EXACTLY what is happening when cleaning agents are run through carpet cleaning machines during the "rinsing process".

This is not good carpet cleaning, especially in a residential setting, no matter what the carpet cleaning company might try to tell you.

To be honest, carpet cleaning companies that rely on running cleaning agents through their machines, and therefore are LEAVING THOSE CLEANING AGENTS IN YOUR CARPET, instead of using good cleaning principles
are not doing a good job of cleaning!

There are circumstances where leaving cleaning agents in your carpet are acceptable, but in almost all cases this should not be done, and is not needed if the carpet is properly pre-sprayed and good cleaning techniques are used.

There Are Different Types of Pre-Sprays

As we mentioned earlier, this article is going go be a 50,000 foot view article. But we will cover a few of the different pre-sprays that are likely to be used on your carpet.


1. High Alkaline Pre-Sprays. These are EXACTLY like they sound - they are pre-sprays on the alkaline side, usually nine or higher. On the P.H. Scale alkalinity starts at 8 and goes to 14. Anything over 10 P.H. voids carpet cleaning warranties - yet carpet cleaners routinely use pre-sprays with high alkalinity in order to get carpets clean.

This is not needed! You can get carpets PERFECTLY clean, even heavily soiled carpets, with pre-sprays below 10 and even with neutral pre-sprays (p.h. of seven) if proper cleaning techniques are used.

2. Neutral Pre-Sprays. These, like alkaline pre-sprays, are exactly like they sound. They have a neutral p.h,
meaning a p.h. of seven.

3. Acidic Pre-Sprays. These, like alkaline and neutral pre-sprays, are also exactly as they sound. They are on
the acidic side, meaning they have a p.h. of six or less.

4. Enzyme Pre-Sprays. These pre-sprays have enzymes in them. The most common enzyme used in pre-sprays in the protease enzyme which does a very good job of attacking and breaking down protein types of soil - in most cases food soil.

Enzymes are NOT alive. They are not a bacteria. Bacteria, a living organism, produces enzymes.

Depending on the type of soil you are trying to clean, some enzymes might be useless because it is not the type of enzyme needed to break down that particular soil.

Enzyme pre-sprays certainly have their place, but are probably not needed as much as some carpet cleaners think they are needed.

5. Pre-sprays Designed To Tackle Oily Situations. These are the type of pre-sprays that can really get out of hand. If a carpet cleaner encounters a carpet with a lot of oil based soil then these pre-sprays can be a huge help in cleaning the carpet.

The problem is that some of these pre-sprays designed to deal with oil can have some bad chemicals in them. Basically the chemicals used in this type of pre-spray are usually petroleum based solvents, and cleaners need to be careful, really careful, in how much they use and the type of solvent they use.

The definition of a solvent, in the cleaning definition, is breaking a substance down. Technically, water is a solvent and the most common solvent in the world. But if you are trying to break down oily soils, water by itself does not work well because...well...water and oily do not mix well.

Water is called a polar solvent. Non-polar solvents are hydrocarbon based.

6. Bacteria Based Pre-Sprays. These are pre-sprays with actual live bacteria and often used in organic soil removal, such as pet urine and feces. The bacteria, in the most simple terms, breaks down the organic matter to basic water. That is a bit simplistic, but for the most part this is what happens.

So There You Have The Most Common Pre-Sprays Used In Carpet Cleaning

We cannot stress this enough: pre-spraying a carpet is one of the most important steps to good family-friendly carpet cleaning.

Using a good pre-spray, and giving it enough time to work, can allow the carpet cleaner to then focus on just rinsing the soil out of the carpet. Take a look at the following video. This carpet was treated with a safe pre-spray, given 10 or so minutes of dwell time, and then rinsed THOROUGHLY using the Rotovac 360, which makes about 600 separate cleaning passes a minute!

The Rotovac 360, along with a good pre-spray, allows us to safely and effective remove soil, and the pre-spray, from the carpet WITHOUT using rinsing agents. Rinsing agents REMAIN in your carpet, which is not a good thing. It's why at Linton's Carpet Cleaning we can say we offer high-quality, safe, family-friendly carpet cleaning you can depend on.

This was the first of several articles we are going to have about the types of carpet cleaning chemicals cleaners typically use to clean your carpets. We hope you learned something from this article. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Linton's Carpet Cleaning In Vancouver, Washington

One of the many reasons our clients trust us, and use us over and over again, is because of the quality of work we do. Part of that quality is the cleaning agents we use, especially the pre-sprays. We use safe, family-friendly carpet cleaning agents, and we go to great lengths to make sure they are properly rinsed out of your carpet. 

This is good for your carpet but, more importantly, this is REALLY good for you and your family. Clean, fresh carpets are great for the family to sit on, lay on while watching TV, and to play games on. Knowing your carpets are clean, and they were cleaned with safe cleaning agents, offers some peace of mind.

If you are in need of carpet cleaning, oriental rug cleaning, or any type of carpet repairs do not hesitate to give us a call to schedule your cleaning.

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