ICS Magazine

Should Green Carpet Cleaners Use Heated Carpet Extractors?

July 22, 2010

Coeur d'Alene, ID  - July 21, 2010 - Some school districts continue to adopt Green cleaning programs that call for the use of cold water when cleaning carpets.

This has caused considerable controversy because many jansan distributors, carpet cleaning technicians, and others believe that hot or heated water improves cleaning results. “In fact, extractors that heat water/solution may actually complement a Green cleaning program,” says Charlie Marinella of U.S. Products, a leading manufacturer of portable hot-water extractors.

According to Marinella, heat is one of the four fundamentals required for effective cleaning, “and heat speeds up molecular activity of the chemicals, helping to reduce overall chemical usage.”

This is based on studies dating back to the late 1800s that indicate heat speeds up chemical activity by a factor of two for every 18 degrees of temperature above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to Dr. Michael Berry, a research professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, heated water/solution also makes soils more soluble, helping to dissolve and remove them from the carpet.

“Elevated temperatures make the carpet cleaning process much more efficient,” he says. “[This] helps break down water-soluble soiling faster, and allow[s] workers to use less chemical to dissolve a given amount of substance.”

Whenever less chemical is used in the cleaning process, it is viewed as Greener because this helps reduce cleaning’s impact on the environment, adds Marinella.

He also says that when carpets are more effectively cleaned, it helps reduce the potential for resoiling. “This means carpets may need to be cleaned less often overall . . . again reducing cleaning’s impact on the environment.”

Although he does not believe this “hot” issue will go away anytime soon, Marinella says the carpet cleaning industry must continue educating school districts and others about the need for heat in carpet cleaning.  “If the ultimate goal is cleaner, healthier carpets, using less chemical, then heat is the way to go.”