When most people think of carpet cleaning, two images come to mind. The first is a van-mounted “steam” system with indonesian broomstick supplier lines running into a house. The second is a small “soak and suck” unit which may be rented from a local grocery or home improvement store. Although these are very common ways to clean a residential carpet, there are alternative methods which are better suited to commercial cleaning. There are actually four common methods of cleaning carpet which include foam cleaning, “dry” cleaning, extraction cleaning, and bonnet cleaning.
“Bonnet cleaning” is an adaptation of common hard floor cleaning methods to carpets. A round absorbent bonnet is prepared before use by dampening it with water, then wringing it out if necessary so that it isn’t dripping wet. Heavily soiled areas are pre-sprayed with a bonnet cleaning solution. The absorbent bonnet is then attached to a low speed (175 RPM) rotary floor machine, which needs a heavy-duty motor because of the high friction involved. A special drive block is required to keep the bonnet or pad from slipping off. Dirt is absorbed into the pad as it is circulated over the carpet. The bonnet should be turned over or replaced when the pad surface stops absorbing soil. The bonnet may be washed out and reused as needed. Sometimes, carbonated water is used to give better soil suspension and bring down the pH levels of the cleaning solution. There are many reasons why bonnet cleaning should be the preferred method to clean commercial grade carpets:
1. Bonnet cleaning maximizes the use of equipment every professional cleaning company should already own. In tough economic times, many people buy a mop, bucket, broom, and vacuum cleaner and call themselves “professional cleaners.” True professional cleaning companies have commercial grade equipment which start-ups simply can’t afford, and don’t know how to properly use. Swing arm machines, all-in-one floor machines, and auto scrubbers are ideal for this cleaning method. They work even better if they release cleaning solution while being used. Although these machines are expensive and were originally designed to clean hard surface floors, they are easily adapted to bonnet cleaning carpets.
2. Bonnet cleaning is the most aggressive method of cleaning soiled carpets. This is especially true when using bonnets with scrub strips. The possible disadvantages of bonnet cleaning include pile distortion and fiber damage, swirl marks, abrasion of carpet due to unseen hazards (including sand, pebbles, or staples,) and detergent build-up. Although the high level of friction and weight of the drive devices can damage carpets if not properly utilized, a competent cleaner can get amazing results from this method by incorporating certain safeguards. Thoroughly vacuum all areas to be cleaned, and frequently reconfirm that both carpet and bonnet are damp enough to allow the bonnet to move freely over the carpet without heating the carpet fibers.
3. Bonnet cleaning has an extremely short drying time. Bonnet cleaned carpets may dry in as little as thirty (30) minutes. It may take even less if looped drying bonnets are used after a carpet is cleaned. This compares to twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours drying time for wet cleaning methods. Other advantages of the bonnet cleaning method are rapid cleaning time (especially important in large, open areas), and minimal wicking of stains.