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Equipment 101: Carpet Extractors


In this blog, we’re chatting about carpet extractors. You’ll learn all the ways in which you can extract and some additional best practices for pre- and post-cleaning.

Carpet extractors can extend the life of carpet. It helps keep it smelling fresh and looking newly installed. To use a carpet extractor, you will inject cleaning solutions into the fibers via a wand. Then the solution adheres to the dirt and soil. With pressure and suction from the extractor, the soil comes to the surface. The machine then extracts the remaining water, solution and dirt.


Carpets should always be vacuumed before use of the extractor. You should also pre-treat any obvious stains.

Dry extraction

Dry extraction uses a dry solution for soiled areas. The solution works the same, bringing the dirt and debris to the surface. Vacuuming removes any debris.

Dry foam

With dry foam cleaning, a foam detergent is applied to the affected areas. The foam spreads through the carpet. It is then extracted. The foam traps the dirt.

Steam cleaning

Steam cleaning uses different rations of water and cleansing agents. The carpet can be pre-conditioned with a cleaning want applying the solution using high pressure to remove stubborn dirt. The equipment removes the water, solution and dirt.

This is a quick summary of how to use a carpet extractor. It’s an important piece of equipment to keep carpets looking their best. A few last thoughts for post-cleaning:

  • Avoid over wetting – an extractor won’t be able to remove every bit of liquid so use sparingly to avoid mold and mildew problems.
  • Use fans after cleaning to speed the drying process. Carpets won’t be dry for six to 10 hours after cleaning.
  • Immediately empty the waste tank. Don’t allow it to sit to avoid smells and other issues.
If you’re looking for great extraction products, browse our selection.
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High Traffic Carpet Cleaning Tips

high-traffic-carpet-cleaningHigh traffic areas are typically areas that see lots of carpet that see lots of use. Entryways and hallways are examples. They can be a stubborn area to keep clean because of all the daily abuse they take. The carpet in these areas is more worn, and with entryways especially, more prone to coming in contact with the elements of life like dirt, water and debris. Because high traffic carpet cleaning can be such a challenge, we gathered some tips.

Use a pre-conditioner treatment

It’s a great idea to pretreat the area with a pre-conditioner. This helps to eliminate over wetting or agitation of carpet during a cleaning. Choose one that is low residue to avoid after treatment issues. Pro Clean offers Prochem Ultrapac Trafficlean for only $41.99 a gallon.

Try a powder to pre-treat

We offer a green powder ideal for soiled traffic lanes; even grease and oil. This can also be a cost saver, as it eliminates defoamers and acidic rinse agents. Read more about Procyon Plus.

Pre-spray to get ground in dirt and grease out

With a pre-spray like Procyon Extreme, you can get down into the carpet. The sodium in a pre-spray pushes dirt and grime to the top. Procyon Extreme has a water softening agent to rejuvenate carpet. Carpet can come back to life, which is a hard task for high traffic carpet cleaning.

In addition to using the best products, here are some tips you can pass onto your customers:

  • High traffic areas should be vacuumed twice weekly to reduce soil buildup.
  • Vacuum slowly enough to get out as much dirt as possible. Make one quick pass over low-traffic areas and two slow passes over high-traffic areas. Two slow passes removes ground-in dirt more effectively than several fast passes.
  • Use walk-off mats inside and out to keep dirt off the carpeting. Coarse-textured mats outside doors remove soil. Water-absorbent mats inside prevent wet shoes on the carpeting.
High traffic areas are vulnerable to collecting the most mess. So it’s important to treat them differently as a professional carpet cleaners. By using the best high traffic carpet cleaning products and educating your customers, you can help these areas stay looking great longer.
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Professional Carpet Cleaning Products Picks


Today, we’re sharing top picks from industry experts. At Pro Clean Chemicals, we offer professional cleaning products made by cleaners for cleaners. We are glad to share these professional carpet cleaning product picks with you. Just click on the links below to read more about a product or to purchase it.

Check out Pro Clean Chemical’s professional carpet cleaning product picks:

Thymol-D: This is a one-step hospital disinfectant cleaner. It’s also a green cleaner, too. Only $27.99 a gallon.

Chemspec Oriental Rug Shampoo: This shampoo has a neutral pH so it’s safe for all fibers. WoolSafe approved! Get a gallon for only $32.89.

PCC Spotter:  This is a non-residual spotter. Effective on all soils and most spots. A favorite of all carpet cleaners. $20.99 a gallon.

PCC Trifecta: Try this powder pre-spray to dissolve grease and oils in minutes. Perfect for restaurants and is color safe.  $35.99 per container.

Triplex Green Guard Protectant: An encapsulation product like no other, Triplex neutralizes alkalinity residues and limits wicking to carpets. Get a gallon for $37.80.

There are lots of products in the market. We only provide the best. And we’ve personally tested these so we know how they work. View all our Professional Carpet Cleaning Product Picks and start cleaning smarter today.
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Carpet Cleaner Shelf Life


Don’t your chemicals expire

Like foods, carpet cleaners have a shelf life. A carpet cleaner shelf life should represent how long the cleaner will be effective. Some cleaning products can certainly have an expiration and won’t be usable after that time. Look for expiration dates on bottles.

Here’s a quick carpet cleaner shelf life guide.

  • Heat can impact chemicals with mildew and bacteria inhibitors. If this occurs or if there is a significant water dilution, these inhibitors can lose their effectiveness. Store these at moderate temperatures and not diluted. If they are exposed, they should be used within three to six months.
  • Use oxidizers or any cleaner with an “oxi’ ingredient within one year. Light can impact the shelf life of these products. Heat can also affect their usability.
  • Products found in powder form will typically have a longer shelf life than liquids.
  • Most bleach-based disinfectants have a shelf life of about one year. This is true when storing bleach at a constant, moderate temperature (approximately 70 degrees F).
  • Replace bleach if not used after six months.
  • All-purpose cleaners begin to lose their effectiveness after two years.
  • Antibacterial cleaners have a shelf life of about one year. If the product is diluted or exposed to extreme temperature, the shelf life could be shorter.
Carpet cleaner shelf life can vary depending on how you store your chemicals. If you have questions about the longevity of Pro Clean Chemicals products, please contact us.
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Ask the Expert: Wicking Spots

ask-the-expert-wicking-spotsWicking spots are those pesky spots that reappear after drying. They are one part mystery; one part nuisance. In this Ask the Expert blog, we tackle the why wicking spots are different and what you can do to get rid of them.

Wicking spots are different

Wicking spots are not like regular spots. The spot has actually collected at the tops of the fibers. Other spots typically travel the entire length of the yarn. Wicking spots are also different because liquids have penetrated into the carpet backing or even to the substrate.  A wicking spot is more likely to have moisture readings prior to cleaning. So if you test correctly, you can find them before you start cleaning. Wicking is more likely to occur on hydrophobic fibers such as polypropylene/olefin, triexta and polyester. It can, however, still occur on nylon.

Solving the wicking mystery

If it reappears after drying, can a spotter fix it? Browning treatments and oxidizers can help. A post-application of an  encapsulant, which could be more successful than the browning treatments and oxidizers. After applying an encapsulant, reclean with an absorption method. This has been proven to best course of action.

You can also try pressing a dry terry towel on the affected area to remove additional moisture. Quicker drying with vertical fans also helps. If the fiber is hydrophobic and an over application of moisture has occurred, encapsulants will not work.

When this over wetting occurs, you can’t apply additional wet products. So let the spot wick into something else like a terry towel (slightly dampened) or even an insoluble powder.  Absorbent powders are still preferred. Damp terry towels need to be weighted down onto the fibers in order to be effective. The powder can then be removed with vacuuming.

Not all reappearing spots are wicking

Not all spots that reappear are the result of wicking. This means an absorbent compound won’t work. If a spot reappears weeks after a cleaning, it’s most likely a sticky residue.  A pH meter can determine the kind of sticky residue. Food and beverage sources have pH readings between 3 and 6; detergent residues have pH readings between 8 and 10; and oils generally have no contrast in pH from the surrounding carpet.

Reoccurring and wicking spots are mighty foes to the professional carpet cleaner. You’ll probably have to try several methods to determine what works best in every situation.

If you have any other questions about wicking spots, let us know. We’ll be glad to make a recommendation.
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Carpet Cleaning Benchmark Report


What You Need to Know to Improve Your Business

The Cleanfax 2016 Carpet Cleaning Benchmark Report is the result of carpet cleaning professionals’ thoughts and opinions. Carpet cleaning professionals just like you responded to the survey from Cleanfax, an industry publication for cleaning and restoration professionals.

The industry is healthy

Based on responses, 60 percent of business owners reported an increase in revenue in 2015 as compared to same sales the year before. Of that 60 percent, 22 percent said the revenue increase was significant. Respondents attributed the growth to a better economy with consumers having more expendable income. Consumers may feel like they don’t have to put off necessary home maintenance like carpet cleaning.

Threats to the industry

The survey asked professionals their opinions on certain topics. Professionals are concerned about competing with cheap pricing. This lowers the consumer’s expectations. The professional community would like to see pricing have some standards around it so that quality isn’t jeopardized. Cheaper is rarely better.

Labor challenges

Many professionals believe it’s still a great challenge to find employees. Employees need to be dependable and have a professional manner. Companies have more business but are struggling with keeping and recruiting qualified employees. Some even think there is a labor shortage. This could be because younger generations seem to have little interest in the profession.

New business

Referrals from existing customers is still at the top of list on how businesses earn new business. But social media (Facebook and Twitter specifically) is a growing source of new business. They also cited sites like Yelp and Angie’s List as a source of referrals. This is a sign that businesses should embrace social media as a marketing channel, and execute campaigns on these platforms.

Read the full 2016 Carpet Cleaning Benchmark from Cleanfax. You’ll find additional information on pricing, services and finances
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Carpet Color Loss


Carpet color loss is a universal challenge. Ultraviolent rays from the son can naturally cause color fading. It’s pretty impossible to shield your carpet from UV rays (however, there is special glass (Low-E) that can help with this).

However, there are other things that cause carpet color loss that you have more control over. Chemical color loss happens due to chemical reactions. There are two types of chemical reactions: reduction/oxidation (REDOX) and Ionization.

REDOX reactions, which are caused by either:

  • Reducers from sodium hydrosulfite
  • Oxidizers, such as from peroxides

Ionization is caused by acids like hydrochloric or sulfuric. Ionization only impacts nylon not wool. Hydrochloric registers a high chlorine content. Alkalies come from concentrated hydroxides like oven and concrete cleaners. Many of these will show up as oxidizers.

What colors fade first

Generally, color loss occurs one primary hue at a time, especially for natural color loss. The general order is for blue to go first, followed by red  then yellow. This means that a brown carpet will first turn orange, then yellow and finally white. There are specific substances that destroy only one color. Formaldehyde destroys red dye. Formaldehyde is found in wooden floor products. Freon destroys yellow dye. Freon was the common coolant used in air-conditioning

Measuring for chemical reactions

You can measure REDOX and ionization on meters. Measure REDOX on an oxidation reduction potential (ORP) meter. Negative numbers indicate a reducer while the positive values indicate an oxidizer. Mild reducers for removing coffee or tea have ORP values of approximately of -200. Strong red dye stain removers have ORP values of less than -450. Three percent hydrogen peroxide has an ORP value of approximately 360. Strong peroxide stain removers have ORP values of 450 and more.

Chemical color losses

Chemical color losses typically have a pH that is more than 0.3 difference from the surrounding carpet. The pH and sometimes the ORP values will often need to be neutralized before new dye can be reapplied.

The best neutralizers for alkali pH values is acetic acids; the best neutralizer for acidic residues is ammonium hydroxide. That is because both are volatile. However, other forms of mild acids or alkali can work too. You may want to avoid ammonium hydroxide when chlorine is in the carpet. This could create a poisonous gas. Measure chlorine with a chlorine meter,  which looks and operates like the pH and ORP meters.

Color loss occurs in  both nylon and wool carpet. Both are usually dyed with acid dyes. This can cause issues with  alkalinity, especially with wool carpets.


Nylon 6 is more prone to loss color than Nylon 6,6. The Nylon 6 is easier to re-dye. A stronger reaction resulting in color loss is more prevalent than wool.

ORP values of less than -300 or over 400 can destroy the color as well. A mild reducer is the best neutralizer for a strong oxidizer, and a mild oxidizer is the best neutralizer for a strong reducer. Mixing strong reducers and oxidizers together on the carpet will create a lot of heat and poisonous gas.


Wool fiber cannot be harmed by strong acids, but its dyes are still susceptible to damage. It bleeds at slightly acidic pH values. Most wool will measure pH 5.5. That is because it is anionic, and its polarity starts to flip when its reading climbs over 5.9.

Carpet color loss is the result of both natural and chemical reactions. It’s much harder to control UV rays. Instead it’s more prudent to protect carpet color from chemical reactions. If you have any questions about carpet color loss and how you can better protect your clients’ carpets, please get in touch.

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Product Spotlight: High Pressure Carpet Cleaning Hoses

high-pressure-carpet-cleaning-hosesHigh pressure carpet cleaning hoses are an extremely important tool. You’ll want to invest in a quality hose to ensure it doesn’t break during a cleaning. If this happens, you could burn your hand or damage the floor. Hoses can also get pinhole leaks, which aren’t as catastrophic as broken hose but not good either.

What to consider when buying hoses

When choosing a high pressure carpet cleaning hose, you need consider several things: value, functionality and quality. Cheaper is rarely better. You can save now by purchasing a cheap hose, but you’ll certainly pay later because it just won’t hold up for long.

Another consideration is functionality. How does the hose hold up to heat? How much does it weight? Is it easy to maneuver? How does it work with crimps and disconnects?

Finally, quality is of course paramount to any tool you choose. By selecting quality hoses, you can feel assured that it is made well and will last through many cleanings.

About Pro Clean hoses

Pro Clean offers a unique high pressure carpet cleaning hose. It’s lighter and holds head better than any other hose. The ¼” steel braided hose is rated up to 300 degrees F. It is available in 50 feet or 100 feet. Hoses are equipped with a no-slip hose saver and reusable crimps. The hoses are available in four colors: green, orange, red and blue. These hoses have been described as the future of high pressure hoses.

To accompany hoses, we offer hose crimps that do not require a crimping tool to attach to your hoses. They are also reusable. This means you won’t lose time if a hose blows out. In a few minutes, you’ll be back to work. We also offer a quick disconnect cover to protect floors and hands.

Shop our high pressure carpet cleaning hoses and accessories today. You’ll enjoy a hose at a great value, high functionality and excellent quality.