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Lather, Rinse, Redeem… Keeping Your Carpet Cleaner Cleaning

Carpets get dirty. Downright filthy, in fact.  Every day foot traffic beats even the best carpets into submission.  Add children, food and pets, and our floors are no match for what’s coming their way.  For this reason every household employs certain tools (weapons) to combat the rigors of wear and tear.  We all have vacuum cleaners (of varying usefullness), and most of us have a carpet cleaner stored in the closet / garage / basement / back porch – or wherever it endures exile while it’s not actually in use.  Because most of these machines aren’t very cheap, it behooves us to take some care in their upkeep.  At Nelson Appliance, many of our customers complain that their carpet cleaner only lasted a year or two, and became ineffective after just a few uses.  Little do people realize that these machines would provide longer service in the home if just a few simple practices were followed.

First, dilute your soap solution according to your machine’s instructions.  Using undiluted / concentrated soaps can be detremental to your machine – and your carpet.  Most times you can even further dilute your soap solution and still achieve a thorough cleaning (and save $ on soap).  You must also be diligent about using the proper soap.  Be careful to use only soaps that are formulated for use in carpet cleaning machines.  Using soaps not designed for this purpose will almost certainly shorten the life of your carpet cleaner, if not end it outright.   Customers often think that carpet cleaner manufacturers want them to buy their brand of soaps purely for reasons of profit.  Yes, they like profit as much as any of us, but despite what you may think, not all soaps are created equal.  Some soaps make too much of a lather which can strain critical machine components like pumps and valves.  Some soaps leave behind solids in the narrow tubing and spray nozzles – effectivley blocking them and shutting down the machine.  Using the wrong soap can lead to expensive repairs.

Since avoiding repairs is better than paying for them, it makes sense to practice preventive maintenance.  One of the most helpful ways to maintain your machine is really a matter of common sense.  When you shampoo your hair, it is likely that you follow with a rinse.  The same should happen when you shampoo your carpet.  Most carpet cleaners feature a rinse only setting – use it.  Not only does rinsing remove more soap and soil from your carpet, leaving it cleaner – the rinse process also flushes any remaining soap residue from your machine’s lines and nozzles.  Clean nozzles and lines increase the liklihood of your machine working properly the next time you want to chase down a stain.  Removing more soap from your carpet during rinsing also helps floors stay cleaner longer – soap residue left behind in your carpet’s fibers actually attracts dirt and causes your carpet to appear dirty more quickly.

Once you’ve finished shampooing and rinsing, it helps to put your machine away clean.  Take a few minutes to rinse out the carpet cleaner’s collection tank, remove pet hair and such from the cleaning brushes and empty the solution tank before putting your machine away.  Storing your machine with water / soap still in the solution tank(s) can lead to early failure of tank seals and the formation of soap blockages.

Remember – first shampoo, then rinse thoroughly, and make sure to put the carpet cleaner away clean.  Cleaning your machine redeems it and makes it ready for the next mess.  And don’t forget, If your machine needs a little help – new belts, tanks, seals, etc. – come to Nelson Appliance for original equipment carpet cleaner parts.

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