An increasingly common unique selling position for carpet cleaners today is rapid drying, which plays upon the customer’s fears and concerns about slow drying, discolorations returning, odor, mildew and GKW.
These fears are real enough in the customer’s mind that the world’s largest carpet cleaning network is founded on them. It goes to follow, then, that rapid drying should be one of the goals of any carpet cleaner worth his or her salt. Rapid drying can be accomplished very easily by making some alterations to your program. Theses changes may include method and system choice; equipment modifications; equipment additions; technician training and common sense. With recent advances in cleaning chemistry and equipment, very-low-moisture systems are experiencing a great deal of growth at least in part due to their rapid-drying characteristics; VLM is a good tool to add to your arsenal.
Equipment modifications could include reducing the volume of water used in the cleaning process by simple moves such as lowering the operating pressure on hot water extraction systems or by changing to smaller jets on the wand. To determine your current water flow in gallons per minute, go to the tiny little numbers on the jets in your wand. There should be about four or five digits. The first two or three numbers indicate the spray angle of the jet, such as 80 degrees, or 95 or 110. The last two numbers indicate the amount of flow through the jet at 40 psi, expressed in tenths of a gallon per minute. Thus, a tip with “06” as the last two numbers indicates a flow of 6/10ths of a gallon, or 77 ounces per minute. A “04” tip would pass 51 ounces per minute, and so on. So, changing from an 06 tip to an 04 tip would reduce your flow by a third, thereby assisting in speeding up drying.
By the same token, if you want more flow (keep in mind that there is a growing acceptance of the fact that more flow removes more soil) change to a larger jet or add more jets. Keep in mind that changing your flow rate may increase or decrease your maximum water temperature if you are running a heat exchanger system. You could also add a glide to your cleaning tool to enhance recovery and ease wand stroking. How can you beat that?
Faster Drying and Less Work
Airflow is one of the “secrets” of satisfactory drying, so adding some drying fans to your equipment locker and using them after cleaning and rinsing is complete will cut drying time considerably. Most cleaners who use drying fans will start by putting a fan in the first room completed and moving the fan or fans to each room as they finish; this allows many cleaners to have all carpets dried before they leave the job. There are currently several different types of fans being offered. Some, such as an axial flow, move lots of air but don’t have lot of lift, versus the old “snail” type, which are effective at surface drying but can also be placed under wet carpet in water-damage situations to lift the carpet and move dry air under it. Activating any fan systems that may be present in areas you are cleaning, such as ceiling fans, will also speed drying and not require any expenditure on your part. Run them as fast as you can without blowing pictures off walls or papers off desks.
Taking the time to train new techs in wand technique is imperative to successful cleaning and drying. It is quite beneficial to make extra dry passes while wanding and ensure overlap of wand strokes. It is also important that you take care to pull the wand far enough (about 6 inches) back after closing off solution flow to pick up water left at the back of the wand stroke. If your dried carpet has dirty streaks running perpendicular to the direction of wand movement, a failure to pull those extra few inches is probably the culprit.
In many situations a dehumidifying system will also be beneficial. Activating the building’s air conditioning system will aid in drying; in some cases, providing your own dehumidifiers will be necessary. Down here in my little piece of Florida paradise I will often open all the windows and doors to speed up drying, and often find that the combination of open windows and ceiling fans, especially when its nice and hot outside, will provide satisfactory drying without needing any additional equipment.
In a nutshell: dry air and airflow, accompanied by proper wand technique, will give you drying times you can brag about. As I have been saying in these columns for over 10 years, get it clean and get it dry. Until next month, see ya!