Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Maintenance: The Oft-Ignored Part of Doing Business

November 11, 2004
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Cleaning and maintenance applies to more than just your clients’ homes.

I'd like to talk about maintenance for a moment. No, not a maintenance schedule for your client's carpets, but one for your equipment and, just as important, for you.

Many in this business consider their day "over and out" the moment they pull into their driveway. Not here. After losing the waste tank contents in a designated area on my property, the tanks are completely flushed, then sprayed with a disinfectant. Ever get into someone's carpet cleaning van and feel like you just fell head first into their sewer system? This won't be the case after a thorough flushing and deodorizing. I'll occasionally run a diluted bleach-containing formulation through the vacuum hoses, preceded by some powdered de-foamer. Detergent residue builds up over time, impeding air movement. And don't forget to empty and hose off the filter bag.

Any remaining pre-conditioner mixed up that morning is discarded (remember, if you are using enzymes, they will lose their effectiveness within 24 hours). Spray-tanks and wands are rinsed, and all brushes are cleaned. I use a small wire comb for picking out lint, hair, etc., from brushes. A daily diagnostic is performed on the pump, and inlet water filters are checked for any scale build-up. Finally, a shot of WD-40 is applied to the blower lobes and, after filling up the freshwater tank, we are ready for another day.

Sounds time consuming, but it is not. All told, we're talking about 30 extra minutes. The maintenance on the unit is preventive, it is important, and it will save you tons of grief down the road. Cleaning your tools also saves you potential embarrassment the next day. Nothing like using a pile brush full of Mrs. Jones' dog's hair on Mrs. Wilson's carpet, especially in front of Mrs. Wilson!

Ever see a wand with hair wrapped around the jets? You don't want the client to see that, either. Have you ever stood downwind of your van blower's exhaust when it's first turned on in the morning? If you don't rinse out the waste tank on a regular basis, the odor is unmistakable. Believe me, you don't want the homeowner anywhere near your van at that moment. If you run any kind of portable equipment, wipe it down every day. Rinse out and deodorize the waste tank on extractors, and occasionally de-scale the unit's pump by running some diluted white vinegar through the system.

Now, a little something regarding personal maintenance: simply put, keep yourself in shape. Save your back by learning how to properly move and lift your client's furniture and your equipment. Avoid inhaling and mishandling chemicals. Keep a few bottles of water on your van; it's just plain better for you. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the message. Personal maintenance and equipment maintenance go hand-in-hand in adding up to a healthy, happy, long and prosperous career in this great industry of ours.

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