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What is a carpet extractor?

One thing that all carpets have in common is that they get walked on by people who trail in dirt from outside which usually finds its way into the pile of the carpet – no matter how expensive. In simple terms, a carpet extractor is a carpet cleaner which “extracts” the dirt and stains to clean the fibres of a carpet, leaving it clean and sanitized.

Reasons for using a carpet extractor

There is a reason why we like carpet in our domestic and commercial environments, it is an attractive, warm and colourful floor covering and adds to the aesthetic of a room or work space. As we can’t stop people from walking on it, to maintain its attractiveness it needs cleaning and the first port of call is the faithful vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming is an important part of a carpet cleaning regime but much of the residue we deposit on the carpet is oily or sticky which over time builds up making removing with a vacuum difficult.

A carpet is commonly made of fibres which are cut, knotted and attached to the backing material. Of course the construction of a carpet is much more complicated than that simple explanation; there are different types of knot such as a twist or loop and the length and density of the knots which forms the pile of the carpet varies. Apart from the traditional wool, there is a variety of materials used for carpeting such as jute or sisal as well as man-made options like polyester and nylon, chosen partly for aesthetics and also for their durability. The use of a carpet extractor with appropriate chemicals can benefit all types of carpet, both for general carpet cleaning, and also “spot cleaning”, to remove isolated stains which require intensive cleaning.

How carpet extractors work

Carpet extractors apply a mild solution of hot or cold water, with a cleaning chemical, which is applied to the carpet and agitated deep into the pile. The cleaning solution then absorbs the dirt and the resultant mixture is vacuumed up by the extractor into the body of the machine for later disposal. Of course, as one might expect, there is more to it than that, so it’s important for operators to understand the composition of the carpet and to make the right choice of chemical for any cleaning job.

Types of carpet extractor

A small lightweight machine like the Prochem Bravo, which looks quite similar to a cylinder vacuum cleaner, is excellent for small carpeted areas where manoeuvrability is not simple or where a machine is needed for occasional stain removal. The advantage of this type of carpet cleaner is that it is highly portable and fast to get ready to use.

Larger extraction cleaning machines like the Prochem Endeavor 500 are suitable for cleaning large areas of carpeted floors, combining simplicity of operation with a sophisticated range of pressure and solution controls to ensure it can handle any job large or small.

Upholstery extraction cleaning

Virtually all carpet extraction machines can be used for upholstery cleaning too, by using a cleaning wand attachment for upholstered furniture and also for cleaning spots and stains from a carpet or rug. As the drying time is quite short, they are particularly useful for cleaning chairs and sofas as well as car or coach seats.

How to use a carpet extractor

On the face of it, using a carpet extractor seems pretty easy. Load it up with cleaning solution and water, turn it on and off you go. If only it were that simple.

As discussed above the range of different types of carpeting, both in materials and the quality of manufacture, is extensive and a simplistic approach to using a carpet extractor is not recommended. The type of cleaning solution used depends on the type and density of carpet pile and indeed for particular stains there will probably be a particular cleaning product to clean it off. It’s also important to use the correct temperature, as natural fibres may shrink if the solution is too hot.

Professional commercial carpet extractor manufacturers like Prochem have a dedicated training facility to ensure their machines are used correctly and that the carpets and upholstery are cleaned efficiently. See more information about training here.

At B&G, we can advise on the most suitable extraction cleaner for your needs. We also offer extremely competitive prices on a range of carpet extractors and chemicals.

For more information about carpet extractors or how to get training in carpet and upholstery cleaning, please contact us, we look forward to your call.

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