Cleaning carpets with your Steam machine is a three-step process:
- Vacuum the entire carpet first.
- Spot-Clean the Carpet with your Steam machine. (The vapor causes the dirt and soil particles to loosen their grip on the carpet fibres and opens up the fibres.) Work about 5 square mts at a time. Rectangular or triangular brush -two towels are recommended when using the rectangular brush since the nylon bristles on it are stiff and cause too much drag -low or medium pressure. Use vigorous back and forth and side-to-side motions to loosen dirt on all sides of the fibres. Pre-mist with a light detergent if heavily soiled. You will see the towel get dirty as stains come off on it. Change the towel as often as necessary. Remember, the towel is your ‘extractor’ in this process, and you are removing the stain without leaving the carpet wet.
- Use the brush with a towel. Low pressure – to remove any remaining spots.
NOTE: If you choose to vacuum again while the cleaned area is still warm be aware that a dirty beater bar brush on the vacuum cleaner can actually deposit more dirt back on the fibers.
- Most protein-based stains – like food or bloodstains – can be “set” at temperatures above 1800F or by the passage of time. Once ‘set’ the stains are chemically bonded to the surface and cannot be easily removed. If they have not been ‘set’, most of such stains can be removed by soaking them for 10-15 minutes beforehand with an enzyme detergent in cool water.
- Man-made carpet fibers have a melting point of 250deg.c and above, so they cannot be melted by the heat generated by a steam vapor cleaning system, but they are like hair in that they can be heat-set to retain a physical shape at temperatures ranging from as low as 200deg.c to around 300deg.c. In other words, you can’t melt them but you can change their shape with the heat generated by a vapor system, especially if you linger too long in one place.
- Normal back-and-forth motion used in cleaning a carpet prevents heat build-up in the fibers and you don’t need to worry about damaging it.
- Carpet fiber colour is also sometimes heat sensitive, especially some oriental carpets that were made with vegetable dyes, which were never “set” by boiling during the process of making their original threads. The colours in these carpets can bleed into surrounding fibers.
- Such sensitive carpets can be successfully cleaned with steam, but always use extreme care not to expose them to high temperatures, excessive water or harsh detergents.
- You have an advantage with a Steamworks NZ Ltd cleaning system in the ease with which you can control both heat and moisture quite easily with your cleaning technique – without using chemicals that leave destructive residues.
- Most carpet cleaning systems don’t allow this much finesse and cannot be used on oriental carpets.
Nicotine and Tar
The combination of nicotine and cigarette tar forms one of the most distinctive substances you will encounter in cleaning. It is a light yellow film on every exposed surface in a room where smoking has occurred. The yellow film gets hard but stays slightly sticky, so that dirt and grease stick to it. It is difficult to wash off without hard scrubbing with strong detergents or an alkaloid solvent. Fortunately, it dissolves at high temperatures and becomes a light yellow oil that has the consistency of sewing machine oil. When this nicotine/tar film is touched by a hot towel clipped over the triangular brush it immediately dissolves and flows into the towel, turning it yellow all the way up the side of the brush.
You can remove it from flat surfaces as fast as you can move the brush over the surface.