Rapid Re-Soiling After Carpet Cleaning: Professional Carpet Cleaners


Professional carpet cleaners stopped using oil based soaps or “shampoo’s” decades ago.  Some less experienced carpet cleaners still have a problem with rapid re-soiling.  Why is this?  Proper training and equipment eliminates this problem for those companies that understand how it works.

  • State-of-the-art direct drive truck mounts are important to get the carpet dry enough after the job.
    • If the carpet is left wet for days then the carpet will lose its ability to resist rapid re-soiling.
    • Ph. balances must be equalized.
      • Companies that rinse with water will leave the Ph. level of the carpet too high after cleaning. This can feel residue-free, but will attract soil none the less.
      • Companies that grow too fast through advertising tend to have a turnover of only a few months.  Proper training takes many months of assisting to an expert carpet cleaner to ensure that Ph. ratios get balanced.

Carpet cleaning is a science, but it is also hard work.  Training is important as well as hiring the right workers and paying well enough to keep them motivated and in your employ.  “Shampoo” may not be a factor in professional carpet cleaning anymore, but work ethic and training always will be.

Rapid Re-Soiling After Carpet Cleaning: Janitorial Companies and Handymen

Well intentioned as they are, janitorial companies are not professional carpet cleaners.  In my 13 years of carpet cleaning I have cleaned up after hundreds of janitorial companies who wanted to make a little extra money from their clients by cleaning their carpets.  This is a sound idea for them as a business model, however it often ends up with them disappointing their clients.  The main reason is rapid re-soiling. 

Unfortunately, janitorial companies typically cause the carpet to get dirty faster after they clean for their clients, meaning that they need to be cleaned more frequently.

Here’s why:

  1. Professional carpet cleaning equipment is very expensive, so they often try to use equipment they already have to do the job (Floor buffers)
    1. Floor buffers can unravel the carpet fibers and loosen the nap of the fibers leaving more room for soil to penetrate the surface of the carpet.
      1. Floor buffers do not remove as much soil or even their own cleaning agents from the carpet; rather they push it down into the carpet.
  2. Janitorial companies may rent equipment to do the job, and the more they spend on the rental equipment, the less profit they make on the job.
  3. Rental equipment is abused over time. As a result it takes so long to properly extract the moisture that few are willing to spend the long hours or days it takes to get enough water out of the carpet.
    1. Carpet left too wet can be sloshy and take days to dry.
    2. The longer a carpet is left wet after cleaning, the more time spills have to wick up through the carpet.
    3. Moisture in the carpet can begin to reduce the carpet’s ability to resist re-soiling if left wet for days.
    4. Moisture left too long encourges mold and mildew growth deep in the carpet.
    5. Training, specific to carpet cleaning.
      1. Janitorial companies rarely pay above minimum wage and as a result their employees are not motivated to learn and execute alternative job skills to the ones that they already do.  This is not the fault of the janitorial companies.  There is just too little profit margin in that industry to pay any better.
      2. It takes many months of working with an expert in the carpet cleaning field to learn the proper ways to mix the cleaning agents and to identify potential problems.
      3. It takes a carpet cleaning business owner years to perfect what he or she teaches their employees and for janitorial companies and handymen, there isn’t a seasoned carpet cleaning expert to pass this knowledge on.
      4. Professional carpet cleaners stopped using oil based soap or “Shampoo” decades ago.  Janitorial companies and handymen have taken longer to catch on.

The bottom line is that when carpets need to be cleaned, especially in a commercial environment, a commercial carpet cleaning expert is necessary.  Janitorial companies and handymen can be wonderful at what they do but they are not professional carpet cleaners any more than plumbers, electricians, and ballet dancers are.  Ph. levels need to be balanced to prevent rapid re-soiling and equipment and personnel are key in making that happen.

Rapid Re-Soiling After Carpet Cleaning: Do It Yourself

When you pull out your couch to get that tennis ball your dog knocked underneath it in a rousing game of repetitive catch.  You suddenly notice that the carpet underneath the couch looks completely different than the carpet in front of it.  A few months go by and either your conscience or your partner begins nagging you to do something about it.  “Don’t worry sweetheart, I will rent a rug doctor.”  Famous last words.  If it was that easy then everyone would do it.

This is one of the leading causes of rapid re-soiling in carpets today.  The three reasons being;

  • Operator error.
    • No one should be expected to know what they are doing when trying to do a professional job on their first try.
    • It takes days to do the best job possible with a rental unit.  Many people don’t realize this until they are in the middle of the job and rush through it after that (understandable).
    • Equipment power.
      • Rental equipment is limited by the electrical power source available and can’t risk tripping circuit breakers in the homes and apartments it is used in.
      • Rental equipment is designed with more emphasis on its durability than its effectiveness. After all if it broke every time it was rented, it would eat up all the profit. Meaning that it’s going to be underpowered.
      • When more than 5 percent of the moisture is left in the carpet, it takes a long time to dry and will affect the carpets resistance to re-soiling.
      • People tend to beat up rental units. After all, they don’t own them, and most people tend not to respect other people’s property. This means the equipment’s performance will likely be sub-par, something that a rental company is not as likely to be concerned about as long as it is still rentable.
      • Available cleaning agents.
        • Professional carpet cleaners stopped using “shampoo” or oil based products decades ago. The rental units often still use these.
        • Rental units often rinse with regular water which is not capable of balancing the Ph. levels of the cleaning agents that were used, even if they were not oil based.

The truth is that most people who attempt to clean their own carpets do not ever attempt it again.  Or they get stuck in an endless cycle of cleanings that become more and more frequent over time as the residue builds up in the carpet.  Most professional carpet cleaners know (and those that don’t, should) not to use oil based products or “shampoo’s”.  Few suppliers even carry those products anymore.  Also professional carpet cleaners are the only carpet cleaners that know the proper mixing ratios, have the expensive direct drive truck mount equipment to do the job (this varies from company to company).  Truck mounted  units are not limited by circuit breakers and some even run directly off of the V8 engine.

In summary, DIY carpet cleaning is a buyer-beware sort of thing. If you’re serious about cleaning your carpet, you should hire a serious professional to do so. Have a great day!