Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that we receive at Chem Max Corp.
If you don’t see the answer to yuor question below, please contact us at 231.798.7980.
How Do I Clean Moisture Sensitive Rugs?
Some rugs can be damaged with over wetting. Lower moisture methods can avoid problems with cellulosic rugs that are likely to brown, composite rugs that may have differential shrinkage, latex backed rugs or hand tufted which may suffer from latex migration, rugs with ink stencils which can bleed, secondary backings which can shrink or water mark and rugs which are not very soiled, so therefore not requiring deep, aggressive cleaning methods.
Bonnet cleaning with LST has proven to be a very good method for dealing with the above mentioned cleaning challenges. You can save yourself and your customer untold troubles, plus, you can make tremendous profits using LST. First complete a through inspection of the rug(s), (see “Rug Inspection”) document any preexisting damage, and consider having a release of liability form signed. Remove dry soils with your best method of dusting (see “How to Perform Dry Soil Removal”). Prepare LST solution by mixing 8 oz. of LST into each gallon of warm (100� to 115�) water, and place into a pump-up or electric sprayer with an 06 size jet. Spray apply LST solution to the entire face pile of the rug, do not over wet. Include fringes too. Using a standard rotary floor machine (175 RPM) with pad driver and bonnets or pads, or a Cimex machine, you can obtain safe and effective results. Spray your bonnet or pad with LST solution to ensure that both the carpet pile and the bonnet are lubricated with LST. Spin bonnet over the rug surface. After cleaning approximately 30 to 60 sq ft. flip bonnet over, spray with LST solution, and continue cleaning. Once both sides are soiled, use a fresh clean bonnet, spray with LST and continue cleaning. Usually only 2 or 3 bonnets will be required to clean a 9″ x 12″ rug.
Remember to get the fringes too. If you find that the rug is too wet, you may want to spin a dry bonnet over the pile surface. Be careful to not over agitate and watch for shedding, do not over dry or over agitate rug. Speed dry with air movers or place in dry room to speed drying. Fringes may require more cleaning (see “How To Clean Fringes”) after the rug has dried. Because LST will physically trap soils, post drying vacuuming is required. Simply dry vacuum the rug pile after drying is complete, use a high quality, high performance vacuum for best results.
How Do I Clean Cotton Fringes?
Cotton fringes are often the most difficult part of the rug to clean. Many cleaners end up damaging the cotton by using oxidizers (i.e. hydrogen peroxide, chlorine bleach, sodium perborate, or other oxygen bleaches) to clean the fringes.
Always pre-inspect for this damage by pulling on the fringe in several areas. Also look for signs of bleeding, browning, physical damage, old tea dye, mold and dry rot. Some cleaners charge an additional (i.e. $2.00 to $7.00 per foot) fee for fringe cleaning. Remember that many believe, the finer the fringe, the finer the rug. So, the finer the fringe cleaning, the finer the cleaner. Clean the rug first. Often, good cleaning on the entire rug will result in nice clean fringes. To improve your odds of getting clean fringes with your first cleaning, pretreat the fringes with Fringe Cleaner. To prevent browning, immediately after cleaning spray with diluted Rug Soure, comb out fringes with a fringe brush and speed dry.
Sometimes fringes will need more attention after normal rug cleaning. Use a product designed specifically for cotton fringe cleaning. Avoid products using oxidation, the majority of products out there have oxygen producing chemicals in them – do not use these products – they permanently damage rugs. Proper chemistry for cotton will use reduction, the exact opposite of oxidation. Mix up a small amount of Fringe Cleaner with warm water (100�f to 120� f ) as per label directions. Mix up only what you will use as unused solution should be discarded after four hours. Label directions are as follows:
- After inspecting fringes, dust, brush vacuum or blow-out with compressed air.
- Pretest in small inconspicuous area.
- Pretreat oily, greasy, or heavily soiled fringes with Sublime or other anhydrous solvent prespray to break oily bonds.
- Dilute Fringe Cleaner at 4 to 1 (32oz./gal) with warm water.
- Carefully apply to fringe, knots, and kilim strip only – avoid face fibers. Use paint brush, sponge, upholstery brush, or other application device. Agitate by tamping or brushing as construction allows.
- Hot water extract with clear, clean, hot water using a fringe cleaning tool or other extraction device. Use extra vacuum only, passes.
- Treat clean fringe with diluted Rug Soure to prevent browning and to accelerate the cleaning action of Fringe Cleaner.
- Comb out fringe and dry as fast as possible.
How Do I Clean Other Types Of Fringes?
Some rugs have wool or silk fringes. Some hand made rugs made in more recent times are using synthetic yarns. As mentioned above, often good rug cleaning will take care of the fringes too. But when very soiled, pre – treating the fringes with a solution appropriate for the fiber type is a good practice.
For wool and silk use Ultra Dry Neutral pH, simply spray on fringe and groom in. Allow five minutes of dwell time. Then clean as normal. For synthetic fringes, use a pre-spray solutions appropriate for the fiber. Often cleaners find Ultra Dry Original to be a great fringe cleaner for synthetic fibers.
How Do I Clean Heavy Soiled Fringes?
Heavily soiled fringes, especially those with oily, greasy, parking lot or kitchen oils should be pre-treated with Sublime to liquefy oils and break oily bonds, spray apply or brush on Sublime to fringe, knots and kilim strip. Since Sublime is an anhydrous solvent, it should not be damaging to rug pile yarns, but avoid pile yarns so you do not end up with a cleaner end on your rug. Allow one or two minutes of dwell time, then use one of the techniques listed above to complete cleaning. If fringes still look bad after cleaning and drying, Fringe Whitener can make them look better and whiter.
Fringe Whitener covers over discolorations without damaging the cotton fibers. Some rugs have fringes that are henna, antique or tea dyed.
Sometimes this color is removed during cleaning. You can replace this color loss with Tea Dye, or use it when white fringes are not wanted by your customer
How Do I Clean Fragile, Problem or Weak Rugs?
Some rugs are uncleanable. However we can often clean the worst of the problem rugs with dry cleaning solvents. We use the same methods used to clean “dry clean only” furniture, drapery and garments. First complete a through inspection of the rug(s). Document all pre-existing damage, and consider having a Release Of Liability form signed. Dry soil removal is required but, a weak fragile rug may not survive your normal dusting or vacuuming procedures if you consider the rug too fragile for normal dusting, you might want to utilize one of the following methods: Use a vacuum only suction tool with no agitator to gently vacuum both sides by hand. Or use an air compressor nozzle to gently blow dust and dirt from rug, or use a combination of the two. After appropriate dusting, pre-spray the entire rug with undiluted Sublime. Pretest colors of course, but because Sublime contains no water, most colors should be safe. However some crocking may occur, but cleaning is still possible when rubbing, brushing and other agitation is avoided. If crocking is not a problem gentle brushing in Sublime is advisble. Make sure to pretreat fringes as well. Sublime will improve results over simple dry cleaning alone. Set up dry cleaning machine (i.e. Kleen-Rite, the Ultimate by U.S. Products, etc.) Fill solution tank with Dry Side Cleaner and extract rug with spray and vacuum passes. Make sure to use 50% over lap to avoid uneven cleaning. Use slow and easy tooling passes for gentle yet through cleaning. If the rug is reversible, dry clean both sides. Avoid using “Mineral Spirits or Odorless Mineral Spirits” as these products can lead to rapid resoiling complaints. Dry Cleaning Considerations: Although no water is in the rug, use air movers or fans to speed the evaporation of solvents. Do Not Use Heat to dry. Dry Clean only in a well ventilated areas. Follow manufacture’s directions (both equipment and solutions). Ventilate the dry cleaning machine exhaust to the outside or use outside. Wear required personal protective equipment. Do not dry clean near open flame, electrical arking, or near smokers, keep fire extinguishers near by. Ensure that equipment is properly grounded. Avoid use on rugs with adhesive (i.e hand tufted, tufted, fusion bonded, back coated, etc.)
Dry Cleaning can be a great tool in your arsenal of cleaning methods, allowing you to clean rugs that others turn down or worse, damage. Some complain that dry cleaning does not remove water based spots and soils, but tricks of the trade come into play here. Pre-treating with Sublime helps to remove water based soils, and improves cleaning results. Experienced dry cleaners know that water based soils often wick up during dry cleaning just like they do in wet cleaning. Upon post cleaning inspection, spots and soils will often wipe off easily with a damp cotton towel. For best results use diluted LST (8oz per gallon) solution on a wrung out towel to wipe off wicked spots and soils, some cleaners, damp wipe the entire rug pile with LST Solution. DO NOT OVER WET! Towel dry to finish, avoid over aggresive agitation. Fringes may require more cleaning attention. See ” How Do I Clean Fringes.”
Even the most fragile textiles can respond well to dry cleaning. Silks do not lose their hand and bleeders behave and hold onto their colors, fragile rugs survive cleaning and old rugs live on. Dry cleaning is more expensive, and customers are accustomed to paying more for it. Many cleaners charge in the $10.00 to $20.00 per square foot rate for custom dry cleaning. Note also that applying a moisture barrier like Flurosolve is a good idea on those moisture sensitive rugs. Flurosolve will help protect the rug from water based soils and spills. Make sure to offer Flurosolve on every “Dry Clean Only” rugs as clients will appreciate the added protection.
Alternative Dry Cleaning method: Absorbent compound As noted above, some rugs will crock or bleed with solvent only cleaning. Absorbent compound may be an option. Animal skin rugs and rugs made with leather may also be good candidtes for absorbent compound, and some people like this method from some unknown reason. Complete a through inspection of the rug(s). Document all pre-existing damage, and consider having a Release Of Liability form signed. Dust or remove dry soil as noted above in paragraphs 3 and 4. After dusting, we would normally pre-treat the rug with a cleaning solution, but this may not be an option on difficult crocking and bleeding dyes. If however water based solutions will not cause problems, as with most animal skins and most leather, pre-treat with your LST solution of 5 ounces per gallon of warm water (100 degrees f to 115 degrees f). Spray apply lightly, Do Not Overwet. Work in solution with gentle agitation. Allow dwell time 3 to 5 minutes, then apply your dry compound (host, drymatic, capture, etc.) follow manufactures directions. After drying, throughly and meticulously vacuum up all dry compound and soil.
How Do I Perform In Plant Rug Cleaning?
After inspection and dusting the rug, it should be wetted out with a pre-conditioning solution. This is especially important with wool fibers as they naturally resist moisture and do not wet out evenly without dwell time. Solvents also are needed to break down oily bonds and reliquefy dried out oil base soils. Make a solution of 4 & 3/4 gallons of warm water (75 degrees to 100 degrees) to 32 ounces (1/4 gallon) of Sublime ( or use 6 ounces per gallon for smaller batches). spray entire rug including fringes, using a #06 spray jet. Apply evenly to wet out rug. Flip rug over and lightly spray back. Now the rug is ready for your main cleaning solution. LST is your best choice for most rugs. Mix LST at 8 ounces per gallon of warm water (75 degrees to 100 degrees) and add to the tank of your shampoo machine. If available, you will find that a Cimex machine will be superior to a single disk machine for cleaning most rugs. Start on the back and include the fringes, shampooing the rug evenly. Flip over and shampoo the front evenly including the fringes. We need to consider a few side points here. New shampoo brushes must be broken in before use on rugs. See box entitled “Breaking In New Brushes”. One must know how operate a single disk “swing” machine, if you do not, you will need some hands-on training before cleaning a customer’s rug. You cannot learn from reading or watching, it is much like learning how to ride a bike, you just have to have hands-on experience. Choice of cleaning solution: While we already note that LST is most often your best choice, sometimes you may want to use a speciality solution. Make sure to use a product designed for the fiber type that you are cleaning. Most carpet cleaning products are designed for synthetic fibers and are not appropriate for most Oriental and fine quality rugs. Wool Rug Shampoo is slightly alkaline and is designed for cleaning heavily soiled wool rugs. Wool Rug Shampoo is a more aggressive cleaner to LST. Silk Rug Shampoo is designed for cleaning silk, it is milder than LST. The pH is lower to be just right for silk. Triple Deodorizing Shampoo is designed to clean and deodorize rugs, including those with urine contamination. It is safe on all natural fibers. Keep in mind that urine does damage some fibers and dyes. This is pre-existing damage from urine, not cleaning. After, shampooing, a through cold water rinse is required. Flood rinse the entire rug with a water hose. If the rug is extremely soiled, a power washer maybe employed, use cold water and adjust pressure to 300psi-400psi. Pressure wash rug face pile and do not forget the fringes, as power washing is a great tool for cleaning them. Use a Rug Squeegee or a Rug Roller to move soils, contaminates and rinse water from rug. Once you notice that no more suds are coming out, place water hose under rug to flush the back, using your rug squeegee or rug roller to move rinse water and soils away from rug.Now the rug is ready for the flat bed washers. (if you do not have a flat bed washing machine i.e. Moore of Mirza, use a hot water extraction unit, truckmount or portable, just leave out the hot water part and use the vacuum only. (See section on Pit Cleaning). Place rug, face side up on the washer. Make sure to set rug well beyond the pin roller to reduce yarns snags from pins, This is a two man job on all but small rugs or runners.. Adjust wash and rinse jet pressure to 300psi – 400psi. Adjust wringer pressure for maximum water extraction as practical. Use both Rug Wash Liquid and Rug Wash Powder in your machines carburetor. Fill your tank until it covers over the agitator blades. Turn agitator on. Slowly pour in the entire pail of Rug Wash Powder and continue to fill with water until tank is almost full, then add one full gallon Rug Wash Liquid and fill tank to full. Set dilution meter at 30 to 1.
Cleaning Oriental Rugs On-location
On-location cleaning of oriental and other fine rugs is not normally recommended. In-plant cleaning gives the rug owner a better value by improving results and protecting their investment. In-plant cleaning allows you the opportunity to correct any problems which arise during cleaning (before anyone else sees it). Often two days are required to properly clean and dry a rug. Controlled drying conditions are next to im-possible on-location and are best at an in-plant site. Specialized tools and equipment are not easily used on-location. Your in-plant facility may be a 10,000 sq. ft., fully automated washing plant or it may be your freshly cleaned driveway or garage floor. (se page 29) Whichever the case, it is still better than cleaning on-location.
In rare cases it may be necessary to clean rugs on-location (i.e. customer will not allow you to remove the rug from their site or sight). Keep in mind these additional concerns. Proper dry soil removal is go¬ing to make a mess. You may have to do it outside or cleanup afterwards. The floors must be protected from water and cleaning agents, dyes may bleed during cleaning or drying. You may need to take ex¬tra measures to ensure fast drying. You may have to return the following day to inspect results, make corrections (while explaining why this is nothing to be concerned about) and pick up drying equipment. Floor cleaning or restoration may now be required. We do not recommend on-location cleaning of rugs, as your primary mode of operation.
If you have to, first complete a thorough inspection of the rug(s). Test for colorfastness. We do not recom¬mend cleaning bleeders or other “problem” rugs on-location. Next, set up a work area. It needs to be a clean area and it also needs to be protected from any damage from your cleaning activities. Remove dry soils as best as you can on-location.
On-location rug cleaning is best accomplished with dry cleaning. For decades, rug cleaners have found the Ultra Dry System effective and satisfying for their customers. This is also a great system for cleaning rugs which cannot be immersion cleaned (i.e. cloth backed rugs & composite rugs with shrink¬age issues or rugs too large for plant and pit clean¬ing). Pre-spray the face pile and fringe with Ultra Dry Natural & Fine Fibers. Work in with hand groomer or nap brush. Allow a five to ten minute dwell time, but do not allow the rug to dry out. Reapply Ultra Dry if necessary.
Low moisture rinse the rug with Ultra Catalyst Natural & Fine Fibers solution. Mix Ultra Catalyst at 16:1 (8 oz./gal.) with warm (100° to 130°F) water. Submerse Ultra Clean Pads into the Ultra Catalyst solution and wring out excess solution with a pad squeezer. Place wrung out Ultra Clean Pad on the heaviest soiled area of the rug.
Immediately spin Ultra Clean Pad over the entire rug surface and fringe with side-to-side overlapping passes with a low speed (approximately 175 rpm) floor machine. Clean up to about 50 square feet, then flip the pad over and reclean area just covered, put aside spent Ultra Clean Pads and wring out a new pad for further cleaning. Do not reuse soiled pads until laundered. Never place soiled pads back into Ultra Catalyst solution, always use “new” clean pads. Never run pads on dry rugs.
Comb out fringes with a fringe brush, groom the face and speed dry the rug with air movers. If fringes need more attention, use Fringe Cleaner and /or Fringe Whitener.
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How To Perform Dry Soil Removal
Vacuum cleaning is valuable as maintenance cleaning system. However, we recommend a more effective system for fine rug care. But if you are to use it, here’s how: Use a clean floor or place rug on tyvex or visqueen plastic. Vacuum the face first. Move slowly in all four cardinal directions. This means that the rug gets eight passes if you are doing it correctly. Roll back the rug and sweep or vacuum up the dust on the floor. Place the rug face down and vacuum as above; eight passes slow and deliberate. Roll back and sweep up the mess. Place rug face up and vacuum the face pile again as above. Repeat this process again if you can see dry soil at the base of the yarns or dirt and dust is still coming out. You may want to test by hanging or lifting the rug and whipping it a few times to see if more dust comes out. Remember that a vacuum is only about 2% efficient, so you may be vacuuming and flipping the rug a dozen times if you want to get all of the dust and dirt out. Make sure that you use a good performing commercial vacuum cleaner. A beater bar or stiff beater bar type brush is a big plus. Some cleaners modify their vacuum by replacing the brushes, replacing them with beater bars improve performance. Keep the vacuum at top operating performance by keeping filters clean, replacing belts as needed (often) and emptying or replacing bags very often. Remember that air must be able to get through the filter bag to remain effective so replace or empty when it becomes 1/2 full. Some cleaners use a pile lifter in place of or in combination with a vacuum cleaner. A pile lifter does not employ a beater bar but it has a superior power and pile grooming ability. Again use slow and deliberate passes in all four cardinal directions. Old fashioned rug beating (i.e. Rug Whip) valuable as a deep imbedded dry soil remover. Old fashioned rug beating with the rug hung up and hand beat with a rug whip works, yes, it is hard work and it is very slow, but it works. Should you beat the face or the back of the rug? Beating the face of a hanging rug is more effective at removing soil as it drives the rug away from the soil. So always start with the face pile side and finish with the back side. It is recommended that technicians finish by vacuuming (slow and deliberate in all four cardinal directions) to remove soils driven to the surface. Modern portable rug beater (i.e. Badger) Tools and equipment are labor saving devices. Using the right tool helps you to get the job done faster and better. Lay the rug on a grid rack face down and beat the back of the rug first. This will drive the soils into the grid rack. Flip it face up and vacuum the face pile as beating forces the soils to the surface where vacuum cleaning (slow and deliberate in all four cardinal directions) can remove them. For weak or damaged rugs and small or light weight rugs, overlay tyvex on rugs and beat through the tyvex protective cover. Use a vacuum attachment for dust control on your rug beater so that you and your employees do not have to breath in that harmful nasty dust. Air dusting (i.e. dust storm tool) high pressure air can blow away even the finest of dry paticles in a dense piled oriental rug. A commercial air compressor supplies the power to force air through the yarns, carrying away the particles and dust. Start by placing the rug face down on a grid rack and dust the back first, you will know you are done as the clouds of dust subside. Then flip the rug over and do the face. Again the clouds of dust departing will let you know when you are done, vacuuming is not required. For those who do not have the dust storm tools and air compressor, small rugs can be air dusted by clamping one end to one or more air movers. By adjusting the speed settings, you can get the rug to flap back and forth, thereby air dusting the rug. Star wheel dusters (rug cage) This is a rug tumbler employed to shake out dust. It works great if you can find one. In plant dusting (i.e Moore Duster) the ultimate in ease and speed is the in-plant soilseparator or the Moore Duster. Simply feed rugs in on one side, and they come out the otherside clean. What about extremely heavily soiled rugs? Run them through again, it only takes a few minutes. Most technicians run the rug face down to beat the back to knock the soils down and out of the rug, vacuuming is not required. You may notice that the speed of cleaning increases wth each method as listed above. Likewise the cost of each method increases, showing perhaps again that time is money. The results from each method is another story. Likely the owner of anyone of these tools will believe and tell you that their tool works best. Most will find, given the opportunity to work with each tool, that they all work well when used properly. Properly used means not only following the manufactures directions but also giving each rug enough time for complete processing and removal of dry soils. This is in complete contrast to using a vacuum cleaner, which is not adequate for removing imbedded harmful dry soils. So choose your weapon, but whichever you choose, use it correctly and take the time to do it throughly. It will be time well spent to protect your customers investment and you will find that you will have fewer problems and complaints so you can complete the washing process.
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All rights Reserved
Chem Max Corp
6479 Norton Center Drive
Norton Shores MI 49441