How Dry Is Dry? How Clean Is Clean?
WHY is there a great variation in drying times, even when a cleaning technician cleans to the same standards and procedures every time? Well, there are several reasons. For example, on a ‘good’ day the air temperature will be high, the humidity will be low, there will be good ventilation, the carpet may be woven with a wool pile with only light soiling and your HWE machine will be working to its maximum potential as the mains electricity is at its peak of 230 volts (up to a 10% reduction in voltage should be allowed for operational/maintenance needs).
In this situation the carpet feels dry in maybe a couple of hours or so after cleaning (however, do remember a wool pile carpet, even after it feels dry to the touch, will take many more hours to be fully dried). The real problems occur when technicians actively promote the drying times they achieve in the above scenario. Life’s not always that simple. Some days are cold. Some days are wet.
Some days the carpets are disgusting and the voltage is 10% down. You can claim that it will only take a couple of hours or so to dry, but in bad conditions it could be much, much more. You’re never around to find out as you’ve packed up and moved on to your next job, and your customer has grounds for dissatisfaction. All of the above presumes that you are working to the highest standards possible with your equipment. But there is a way with HWE of reducing the time it takes for a carpet to dry. All you need to do is move the wand more quickly when rinsing. This technique will result in a reduced drying time as less water is applied, however the carpet will still appear to be clean. The problem is that in reality the quality of the clean does suffer. Unfortunately, the degree of soil recovery will be lower.
Residual soiling will at best lead to a reduced time between cleaning. At worst you could receive a complaint of a poor appearance or possibly even a soil wicking problem. So what should we do about reducing drying times? Well, the first thing you can do is to make extra drying passes with the wand. Not just a quick once over pass, but slightly slower so that your equipment is given enough time to do its job effectively. Multiple drying passes are frequently required. The next thing is to create the best drying conditions possible. A warm environment and ventilation are essential.
Turbo fans are a great benefit too. If appropriate, a cotton bonnet on a suitable rotary machine will remove more moisture. You could also groom the carpet against the pile direction. This will leave the pile more erect and open, allowing easier and more rapid evaporation. Just remember you should always work to the highest standards possible, and if this means slightly extended drying times you will just have to accept it. Your system to dry the carpets quickly should be implemented on top of, not instead of, a quality cleaning-regime. So what do YOU tell your customer is a realistic drying time? If you can be honest with yourself, you can then be honest with your customers.
Experience will tell you what’s appropriate to you and your equipment. There’s absolutely no point in promising and delivering short drying times if the carpet isn’t properly cleaned. CFJ Ken Wainwright of KenDry is a member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA)
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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them online at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.