Where Does All The Dirt Go?

Where Does All The Dirt Go?

It seems I get asked this question quite frequently. And not just by new clients or prospective ones either. Sometimes, even “long term” customers, who’ve never shown much interest before in exactly how I get their carpet so clean, will suddenly show great interest in “the mechanics” of my VLM (very low moisture) carpet cleaning system. That’s when I get “put on the spot”, as it were. Because of this, I have created what I consider to be a “consumer digestible” explanation of how my particular VLM carpet cleaning system works.

But, before I go into that, let me digress for a moment…

My own VLM carpet cleaning system currently employs a standard 175 RPM 17 inch rotary machine, cotton and blended thick style bonnet pads, thin terry cotton pads, an “astro-turf” scrub pad, a bucket and wringer combo with an immersion heater, a high performance upright vacuum cleaner, several sprayers, etc.

As you can see, this puts me in the category of “Bonnet Cleaning”. Now some of you may cringe when you hear that word!

My guess is that most professional carpet cleaners consider Bonnet Cleaning to be a “maintenance” type of carpet cleaning system (whether they admit it or not). Actually, that opinion would only be partially correct. Properly scheduled and performed “standard” or “surface” type bonnet cleaning procedures can maintain a carpet very well in between what many consider to be “deeper” cleanings (IE: Hot Water Extraction).

Ah yes! There’s that very important word: “deeper”.

How deep, you ask? I say, as deep as your knowledge and your particular VLM system’s potential can take you! And that includes Bonnet Cleaning. I firmly believe that Bonnet Cleaning’s ultimate “potential” for soil removal has yet to be achieved. There are many more ways that the elements of:
(C)hemical action, and

have yet to be applied to Bonnet Cleaning, that one could say it is still in it’s infancy as
far as reaching it’s ultimate cleaning potential! Furthermore, this opinion extends to
embrace all VLM systems.

We must be creative and think “ahead of the curve” in how we utilize the VLM systems
available to us or simply invent some new element within our own system that takes it
to a higher level of performance. I happen to know that this kind of “brain storming” is going on right now, even as you read these words! This is one of the aspects of VLM Cleaning Technology that is really exciting! There is always something new to explore and learn.
Ok, back to my original point about answering the customer’s question: “Where does all
the dirt go?”…

My response (with regard to Bonnet Cleaning) goes something like this:

“What type of dirt?” It is important that your customer understand that “dirt” is a very
broad term. Then, I quickly go on to explain that a good estimate is that 80% of the
carpet soil load is “loose particulate” soil that can be dislodged with a pile lifter or high performance vacuum cleaner. This is why daily vacuuming is so beneficial to the carpet’s longevity.

The other 20% is soil that has accumulated and attached itself to the carpet fiber with a
“binder”. Cooking grease and soot are just two examples of this type of soil.

I don’t want my customer’s eyes to glaze over by my giving too many overly descriptive
details, so I explain that the majority of the remaining soil is “emulsified and suspended”
by the cleaning agent. Then, it is “loosened” even further with the rotary brush. And
finally, it is “removed” by absorption via the cotton bonnet pad.

In actuality, there is a much more complex and scientific explanation for how the soil is
removed, but explaining it to your customers would probably only serve to confuse
them. What they are really wanting is an explanation that they can easily visualize. If
you give them that, they will truly consider you to be “the expert” and feel very lucky
indeed to have you caring for their carpet!

So, the next time your customer asks, “Where does all the dirt go?”, have your explanation “tailored” and ready to go in an easy to visualize format. This can permanently solidify your relationship with them. And that is the goal we should all seek!

Mark Stanley