Green Carpet Cleaning – Spot Removal

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,276
    Allen Rathey, President of The Healthy House Institute shares some green tips on spot removal on your carpet.

    Allen Rathey: Hello, my name is Allen Rathey and I am the President of the Healthy House Institute. Today we are talking about removing carpet spots using green cleaning methods. And now we are going to talk about the principles of green cleaning and the principles of carpet spotting.

    First though let's talk about the types of carpet fibers that you may find in your home. Most commonly, you'll find Nylon carpet. Nylon is about 65% of the market. And very likely that's the carpet that you have in your home. Another possibility is Polyester. And you might also have a little bit of Olefin. This happens to be a Berber carpet. And a few of you will have Wool carpet. And the reason this is important is each fiber has specific characteristics. If you were to look at a cross section of a carpet sample, you would see that the carpet actually is a very fibrous material. And understanding that the fibrous nature of carpet allows it to hold a lot of soil, it's very important. If you understand that the strands of carpet, if each of my fingers were a strand that strand would have surface area all the way around the fiber. So each fiber has its entire length of surface area and all these areas become soiled. And that's why it's so important when you are getting into this carpet spotting process to go slow, because we are trying to work with a very complex porous surface with a lot of surface area, a lot of places to trap contamination. So there are a number of things that we would do to begin this process. One thing initially is to identify the type of spot or spill that has occurred. Is it a Protein spill, so is it milk, is it blood, is it feces, is it kool-aid, a red wine? Depending on the base of the components of the spill, we would use a particular line of attack to address that.

    The first step in the process as we think about the spot removal process is really understanding that you first have to remove the dry gritty soil. This is important, because when you have the sand and the dirt and the grit that gets worked into the carpet fibers, it goes way down into the base of those fibers. And when you perform dry soil removal, we are really talking about vacuuming. The Carpet and Rug Institute in their research has determined that the very best vacuums will remove about half of the dry soil with three or four passes. If you go slow, let's say you did eight passes with your vacuum instead of four, you would increase the amount of soil that you are removing from the fiber of the carpet.

    So what happens if you don't vacuum regularly? The carpet starts to ugly out. Why? Because the surface has become roughened, become abraded from the grit and hence the dirt tends to stick better, and the carpet now no longer reflects light. Why? The surface is effectively scratched.

    So next in our spot removal process we need to actually test first before we apply any liquid to the carpet. Then when you've decided it's safe to proceed, you take your green cleaning agent, whether that's a dish detergent and water of some other mild cleaning agent, and you would apply that to the surface, and then you would begin to blot the surface. If you were to take and scrub that spot like this, and apply pressure. I am effectively ripping little tiny threads of carpet from the surface. I am damaging the carpet. So if I blot however, I am not doing damage. I am absorbing the spill. The more you can blot; you are going to transfer more soil to your clean cloth. Once you get to the point where you are no longer seeing any transference, you know that your blotting process has accomplished your mission. So then you want to proceed with a rinse. And that's just clear water sprayed on the surface, take some clean cloth, blot that up.

    Now why is it important to rinse the agent? That detergent has certain agents built into its formulation. Those agents are designed to attract soil. So the key to preventing that is thoroughly rinse that spot, get all that residue out, so that there is nothing remaining on that surface, except clean carpet. Up next will have Liz, she'll talk about prevention, preparation and resources.