- THE MAGAZINE
Times have changed, and so has the wand since my first professional cleaning experience 37 years ago. At 50-plus pounds, the drag wand I used was a serious issue for my back. The light carpet wands available today are much easier to use, remove more soil and water, and are more ergonomically designed. If you’re using one of these innovative designs, I’m sure your back is thankful.
What might seem like a simple, straightforward tool has seen many improvements and variations in recent years.
Lighter Weight/Wider HeadWands are now available built from titanium, a corrosion resistant, space-age metal with the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal. Additional innovations in low-weight, high-performance design include the use of carbon fiber composites and roto-molded plastic. These light but strong materials allow a carpet cleaning tech to clean a 13”, 14” or even 16” wide path for greater productivity and reduced fatigue.
If you have large areas of carpet to clean at one time or your work days are often long, you will appreciate the benefits of faster production time with less stress when these high-performance wands are used.
ErgonomicsRepeating the same motion hundreds of times in a day can result in what are known as repetitive stress injuries. That is exactly what cleaning techs do as they trigger and release a wand valve. Recently introduced soft touch valves are easier to operate and significantly reduce such injuries. Soft touch valves operate smoothly, don’t require as much force to squeeze the trigger and are comfortable to grip.
Ergonomics is the word to describe this design that considers the health of the technician. No more numb fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome, or similar problems. Great for any company that wants to keep all its techs healthy and productive, almost any wand can be fitted with a soft touch valve.
A comfortable grip that doesn’t transmit heat and a properly positioned handle are also important to comfort of the user. It is also suggested that you learn to use the wand by alternating hands, on both sides of your body. This can lower the potential for muscle injury as you are strengthening equal sides of your body.
Fighting FatigueThe speed and effectiveness of a carpet tech finishing his work day late in the evening usually won’t match the energy and enthusiasm he put forth when he started at 8 a.m. But electrically powered rotary extraction wands continue to spin at the same speed producing numerous cleaning passes and similar results all day long, no matter how long the day. This assures consistency on large jobs.
The availability of glides is another way that carpet cleaners can make the job easier. Teflon, polished plastic, stainless steel and other friction resisting materials on the head of the wand allow it to move almost effortlessly over the face yarns. The design of the glide can also assist in extra water removal.
Vacuum PerformanceVacuum performance is crucial to removing soil and water for the cleanest possible carpet and shortest drying times. You may have given a lot of attention to the performance abilities of your equipment and selection of vacuum hose, but don’t overlook the role that a wand plays in delivering that vacuum to the carpet. Wands engineered for use with truckmounts usually have a 2” diameter tube and a manifold design that doesn’t unnecessarily restrict airflow.
Additional OptionsWhen selecting a new wand, you can choose between a single bend style, which some prefer as easier to push across the carpet, and the double bend or S-bend design that makes it easier to get the wand head under tables, beds and some other furniture.
If multiple jets are used, the jets can be located closer to the carpet. The cleaning solution will not cool down as much before reaching the carpet. Partially enclosed spray pattern or “wings” is another way to help keep the cleaning solution hotter.
There are also specialized tools for cleaning stairs, cleaning under beds, cleaning along baseboards or other situations.
Spray NozzlesBefore we leave our discussion of carpet cleaning wands, I should mention spray jets, a vital component of any wand.
The flow of pressurized water through a nozzle will gradually wear away the surrounding metal and enlarge the opening. Although stainless steel is more durable than brass, all spray jets wear down with use. This wear distorts the spray pattern, increases volume of flow while reducing water pressure. Even though the change may be almost imperceptible, it affects your cleaning and drying times. Whatever wand you use, be sure to change the spray jets regularly.
Crossover WandsIn the automotive industry a crossover vehicle is a passenger car with features that make it suitable for use as an SUV or maybe vice-versa. In a similar way, wands designed for extraction in the water damage restoration industry have features make them suitable for use in carpet and rug cleaning.
Stationary extraction tools have demonstrated their ability to remove well over 90% of water from both carpet and the cushion (pad) underneath. This ability makes these tools ideal for use in spot and stain removal. Many stain removal procedures, such as using oxidizers to treat pet urine stains and odors, require that the carpet and pad be saturated or that the carpet be thoroughly flushed. There is no more convenient and efficient way to accomplish this than with a stationary extraction tool, either one designed specifically for spot removal or a larger tool that can perform well in both the restoration and cleaning fields.
Recent advances in engineering with computer aided design have produce extraction tools that are easier to use, more durable and extract more water from carpet and cushion than ever before.
If you realize that you are still using the same wand you cleaned with for years, it is time to give serious consideration to taking advantage of improved technology to make your job easier and improve your cleaning performance.