ICS Magazine

The Ideas That Bind Us Together

June 28, 2000
In my travels, I noticed an attitude that is not common but sticks out like a sore thumb—the feeling of independence from other carpet cleaners that refuse to share their knowledge with others. It appears they’re out to prove they can conquer the world by themselves. They would rather do it their way and not let anyone to know about it, and that’s all right because we all have our own personal way of doing things. We all have different ways of mixing chemicals, cleaning carpets, or maintaining our truck mounts.

I have to confess I found it amazing how great ideas were developed by this independent attitude. Pre-spray and post-spray concepts were the result of independent thinking, which has become the norm as to current carpet cleaning. Unfortunately, there are some gladiators of cleanlihood who will lock their secrets to themselves. That carpet cleaner has earned his secrecy. However, he should also recognize the importance of sharing to improve the relationship of the carpet cleaner to the industry as a whole. Basically, this tight-knit industry requires a tremendous amount of support from everyone, not just the few who are active in industry organizations.

The “me or we” cliché must be accepted as a “we” phase, where “we” should be more prominent in assisting others. This is accomplished by joining organizations, along with a strong commitment to helping in any way deemed possible. I know it’s easy for me to say that you should declare a strong commitment while I sit in my ivory laboratory and make these open comments. The prime goal of these organizations is to reflect on how important it is to reinforce our little industry, because it will grow in many ways.

Let’s examine a formula to show what teamwork is about. The purpose of a product is to remove soils quickly and economically. To clean a carpet quickly, we have to arrange a group of chemicals to support the purpose of getting the carpet cleaner.

That formulation is not just based on one feature, but a number of chemical compounds blended together to achieve our goal. As per example, that formula has to have wetting ability, impact on dirt particles, dirt suspension, and hard water dispersion. All these elements must be present in order to achieve the goal of cleaning the carpet.

The bottom line is that in order for carpet cleaners to develop direction and overall stability, we have to understand where our future and past lie. Basically, the future of the industry is a three-legged stool that depends on education, communication, and people.

Overall, there has to be a readiness by carpet cleaners to accept new knowledge in their field. This would allow them to improve their capabilities and gain in production and financial rewards. Look at the cellular phone: a cleaner would be unable to keep up with the competition without one. That’s nothing you say, but think back to 10 years ago and imagine how radical the idea was. Without direction, the carpet cleaning industry would become a bump on a log, in other words, a do-nothing industry.

But, this isn’t the case. As you flip the pages of this magazine, you will see trends taking place from the hottest high heat, power blast to incredible performance, innovative inventions, and more. You’ll also notice that a truck mount company has engineered itself into the maintenance of ceramic floor tile and its grout. Who would have thought this side maneuver would promote itself into an entirely new field? Where else can this type of eruption lead, but integrate into a larger composite of itself. And what end purpose does this have but to combine energies for, guess what, more innovative and improved product functionality.

Another instance of the industry advancing is the IICRC approving a new certification category designated as the Floor Care Technician. New opportunities abound where hard floors such as wood, marble, stone, and resilient tile are now becoming an important aspect of floor care. It was some time ago that hard floor care seemed to be regulated only through the association of the Chemical Specialties Manufacturer’s Association. CSMA showcased the manufacturers of raw materials targeted for the cleaning product manufacturing industry. I remember in those days truck mounts were unheard of as an answer to carpet cleaning. In fact, carpet cleaning was accomplished with a buffing machine and a soft brush. All it did was spread the dirt around and make it look clean. This is probably the basis of that old wives’ tale where a carpet, when cleaned, would dirty faster after cleaning.

A long time has passed since those days and adds to the fact that the carpet cleaning industry is growing and expanding. Specialties will become more general. At one time, blood cleaning was considered somewhat minor, but has expanded to the point where schools based on this one subject are becoming more available.

Finally, another area that promises a great leap forward is training by computer as prompted by Lee Pemberton. His efforts have been highly successful in showing how cleaners will learn about new processes without leaving the home or business. It is a thoroughly scientific breakthrough in the field of education.