Maintaining Your Carpet Extractor in Your Auto Detail Shop

Auto Detailing: Maintaining A Commercial Carpet Extractor

You should drain your carpet extractor at the end of each use or at least by the end of the day. Do not dump the excess dirty water or soap into a storm drain. Dump it into a toilet, sink or on a lawn. It is not allowed in the storm drain that is for storm water only and not the kind of scum, which is found in the discharge tank of a carpet extractor. If you leave the fluid in the tank more than a couple of days, it will be very difficult to clean. Two weeks and it's a major chore. You should rinse out the chemical tank and attachment parts as well, including the hoses.

Your carpet extractor most likely has a three-year warranty on parts; this is typical in the industry. Do not expect your warranty to be guaranteed abusive use such as cleaning out a dog house, fire and water damaged carpet or insides of lateens is generally a void able event. Don't laugh. Our vendor has told us stories of such. He guaranteed that he would void all warranties in the event an idiot was operating the machine in a fashion beyond its realm of ability. Super industrial machines are available for this type of work and companies that use them have a major investment in their units. Companies such as: Serve Pro, Service Master, Miligan 'Milicare", Chem-Dry, Duraclean, Stanely Steamer. These are huge companies with over 15,000 outlets combined worldwide.

Stick to what you are good at. Cars, trucks, motor homes, boats, planes, etc. If you attempt to clean household furniture, carpets or drapes you'll be sorry. Such work to do it right requires training, as you have to know all about: Different types of fabric, Different types of dyes, Different types of stains, Different types of carpets, Different types of chemicals, Etc. Most of the Franchise companies, which do that type of work have specialty niches and go through three weeks of intense classroom study to learn it all. They must learn a week's worth of: Selling, Advertising, Bidding, Competition and Equipment Knowledge.

I am not saying don't clean your upholstery at home. Go ahead. But don't be surprised if it takes you hours and doesn't clean the pomegranate juice up. And don't be surprised when you run out of chemicals and rip a piece of furniture and bust a part of your machine.

Maintenance And Up Keep;

The cleaning power of an extractor is generally based upon three important elements: Pump Pressure, Suction or Waterlift, Heat or No Heat. Most manufacturers have different theories as to what is the most effective combination. As you gain savvy in the Auto Detailing Industry you will better understand what is needed to get the job done and what the advantages and disadvantages are to each type of carpet extractor machine.

The pressure at which an extractor shoots the water/cleaning solution mix into the carpets or seats is a function of your pump. Pumps vary from 15 PSI to 200 PSI. We feel comfortable at 60 to 100 PSI. Higher pressures tend to deflect or bounce water off the item you are cleaning. This will usually cause you to splatter carpet cleaner on things you don't want splattered. If your carpet extractor is spraying chemicals too hard or too soft, check: The orifice at the nozzle for proper sizing; Voltage to the pump. Make sure it's operating at the proper speed; Leaks in the inlet hose and fittings; Leaks in the outlet pressure hose wand or guns; Chemical injection for air leaks; Chemical tank for fluid. Make sure it's not all foam, you could be sucking air.

You should keep unit clean internally and inspect it periodically, especially if you see water dripping from the unit during operation.

Water lift is the rating on suction. This is important because you want to suck all the water and chemicals from the carpet. We recommend and supply a unit with 100 to 120 inches of life. In other words, it will suck water from the ground 100 to 120 inches straight up. It's important to always maintain great suction power. To make sure you have appropriate suction, put your hand over the hose. If it feels off a little you should check for: Blockage in hose, Holes in hose, Air leaks in fittings, Cracks in vacuum head, Voltage of motor, Speed of motor, Etc.

Many extractors have heating elements. It takes fifteen minutes for extractors to heat the water. If your carpet extractor unit doesn't, then simply take your hot water pressure washer and turn on the heat. Turn it up all the way and put hot water into the carpet extractor tank at 190ºF. Simply quick release the spray tip and fill up the tank on the extractor. If you have problems heating the water, see the section on steam cleaner burner in this section of the Operations Manual. Take care of your carpet extractor because the costs of the newer models now on the market are not cheap. If you own a detail shop, car wash or have a mobile unit, for Pete's sake; Lock it up at all times. They seem to be a favorite item for the Crystal Meth loser crowd to walk off with.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

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