Cleaning & Restoration Tools and Gadgets / Carpet/Rug/Upholstery Cleaning

Not Grooming the Carpet? It'll Cost You

Growing up in the 50's and 60's, I learned about "carpet raking" before many of you were born.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I learned about “carpet raking” before many of you were born. Our home was carpeted with white wool short shag. Mom was a meticulous house keeper, and we vacuumed that carpet often. 

After every vacuuming we would pull the carpet rake out – the same rake that could be used to rake leaves in the fall – and remove vacuum marks and footprints. We were then told we could not walk on it. This made getting from my bedroom to the kitchen quite a chore. My kids didn’t believe me when I told them I had to walk out side through a foot of snow in my pajamas and bare feet just to get a bowl cereal in the morning.

I found many of my customers shared a similar attitude with my mother. They insisted on me grooming (I prefer “grooming” over “raking”; it’s more professional) the carpet after every cleaning. I know this because I groomed all carpets right from the beginning.

At some point in my career I got a brain cramp and decided that grooming after cleaning was time consuming and served little purpose. It was my policy to call every customer back the day following our service. I quickly learned that my customers were not pleased with the cleaning marks left in the carpet versus the smooth, even look of a groomed carpet. In fact, I won a considerable amount of customer loyalty because I was willing to groom…and the competition was not.

I also discovered early on that cleaning heavy-traffic areas was made much easier (and they cleaned much better) when I pre-sprayed and then agitated with a groomer tool. This is a quick and easy way to work the pre-spray into the soiled fibers and at the same time open the fibers up for better extraction of the soil.

It’s an easy formula: Customer satisfaction = More Work and More Referrals = More Money. Every step you take to improve you cleaning effectiveness and please your customer should be part of your “must-do” procedures.

Why Is Carpet Grooming Essential?

Several years ago, Jeff Bishop, then the Technical Advisor for the IICRC, wrote a Technical Bulletin titled “Why Groom Carpet?”

“Grooming untangles pile yarns, eliminates the appearance of matting and crushing. It is essential for the distribution of after-cleaning treatments, such as protectors, in order:

To eliminate wand-stroke patterns left after cleaning.

To produce faster drying on a typical cleaning job and to give maximum light reflection

To make carpet look brighter and more pleasing overall.”


He makes some valuable points. I understand that some professionals believe the wand strokes are preferred by their customers. I would suggest, if this is your feeling, that you ask your customer if she would like the carpet groomed, but be sure you have a groomer available when she says yes.

Crushing and matting are common problems with many carpets. When you “fluff” the carpet after cleaning and allow it to dry in the upright position it creates a positive impression of your service. Most likely your customer has hated the crushed look and now you are helping to bring back new life to the carpet. Explaining to your customer that the carpet will be prone to mat again is important, but if you offer to sell her a groomer she can use to fluff it again, that will take all the pain away.

You will have the option of pulling the pile toward you or pushing it away. This will make a distinct difference on the way the customer will see the carpet. If you are pushing the pile in one direction away from you and the customer will view it looking from the same direction the carpet will look brighter and, as Jeff states above, be “more pleasing overall.”

The Solution to Most Effective Grooming

The Solution to Most Effective Grooming

Proper carpet grooming with grooming tools is designed to:

1. Prepare matted and badly soiled traffic and entry areas, to open and lift crushed yarn and simultaneously loosen and lift deeply embedded soil particles for efficient extraction and cleaning.

2. Loosen and lift surface embedded pet hair

3. Restructure the original design of carpet

4. Restore the resilient effect

5. Finish grooming the cleaned carpeting to render the “like   new” appearance

6. Satisfy and please your customer! 

The consumer’s interest is not only clean carpeting, but carpeting restored to resemble the original installation. Your customer will be willing to pay more for a job superbly done. So it makes sense for the professional to groom the carpet.

What else can you tell the customer about the use of this valuable tool, the carpet groomer? Most carpet has more space than fiber. It is true that a higher face weight equals a better quality of carpet. However, regardless of any rating of density, proper care and cleaning will always extend the life and use of any carpet. With all carpeting having open space to capture hair, sand, and soil, it is very important to vacuum and do it often.

With the natural tendency for carpet to mat and crush, the vacuum can become less effective. Let your customer know that grooming the carpet before vacuuming will open the fiber up and expose more of the soil for removal with the vacuum. Your customer needs a groomer, and you can sell her one.

Since we have more space than fibers in most carpets, where is the soil going to go?  Most of the soil is going into the space. This photo has been magnified and enhanced to show the contrast of space to fiber. We can vacuum every single day and get most of the top soil, but the soil that goes down in the space of the fiber is the soil that does the most damage.

Proper grooming will untangle the filer, loosen the soil and bring to the top for removal. Embedded soils and pet hair remain at the base of the fiber until raised to the surface with a grooming tool. We also find our customers loving to groom the carpet before company of after they vacuum to give it nice finishing touch and remove foot prints and vacuum marks.


What are Carpet Grooming Tools?

The names may differ but the purposes are the same:

• Carpet rake

• Pile lifter or brush

• Carpet comb

• Nap finishing brush (Brushing rather than grooming is required on a low-level loop, Berber, or commercial-grade carpet).

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