My First Truckmount Cleaning Experience!

Haven't posted here in looks like seven years (hi!), but I thought I'd jump in and share this long but hopefully entertaining and maybe interesting thing: today I was a Regular Ol' Residential Carpet Cleaning Customer.

So I hired my very first truckmount cleaner today. This horrified and amused and excited me. Why would I hire such a person, you ask? Well, mainly because it took me five or so years to use up the HOST I had stashed after I left there. And I needed a cleaning. I thought about renting a Thing of Vileness at my local hoo-ha and making a game of it but decided to make a different game of it that involved less work: try a truckmount person.

Who to pick then. I thought about calling upon my network to see who was good, but for whatever reason I decided to just be average lady homemaker with no cleaning network and look through my coupons that I usually just toss. I have an aversion to such things though, except for the Chinese food one, and ended up refusing to hire anyone who sent me a coupon. So I turned to the ever-supplying internet, and picked a cleaner based pretty much solely on the look of his website and lack of grammar mistakes. Hired!

Like most residential folks calling for a cleaning, I'm calling for one reason: spots. Specifically, urine.

Not mine.

The dog, a southern dog who lately is called Jerk Dog, has decided that Wisconsin winters are just too durned cold to go out in. So despite my best attempts to train her to use the lawn I actually grew for her in the basement this year, she spent the entire winter letting her guilty effluent out on the at least 25, maybe 35-year-old nylon carpet. I decided to wait until that sweet spot of spring, between the approaching wall of humidity and the temperature being warm enough that Jerk Dog will go outside. Now.

Hired Guy has been informed of all this and assures me the problem will be solved. I agree to pay extra for deodorizing, no problem. Okay, let's do this thing. I pre-vac like a mofo because I have trust issues. And I'm glad I did because he didn't.

Shows up on time; good lad. I'm equally amused and horrified at hoses being run in my door for the first time. True that I don't appreciate them being dragged along my old woodwork though.
Ack HOSES.JPG I am surprised by the truck stink--something I'd never considered or experienced before. He says the things all cleaners learn to say, like "be careful going from the carpet into the kitchen as it may be slippery." I find this adorable for some reason, but also understand it kinda secretly might mean "get out of here lady I'm working." I split and let him work, taking a few surreptitious pictures on my way to the garage to hang out with my mess there for a while.
Some kind of cleaning tool.JPG Some kind of cleaning tool. :)

When he's wrapping up he has me walk through with him to verify my happiness. I know that such a thing is not yet possible though; I reserve happiness verification until it's dry. I say nice things anyway. I do however point out that I can very easily smell wet urine. He lays down more deodorizer. Meh. I'm going to have to take care of this myself after all, dang. Visually, most of the spots are gone and overall it looks pretty good and matches my fair and realistic expectations: wettish carpet, most of the spots gone or hidden, no real improvement of my very worn traffic lanes, no magic fluffing of the crushed loop in my daughter's room. But I thought he would be able to deal with the urine--my main reason for calling--and he couldn't.

He's outside packing up when I hear water running. I go to the window and I can't believe it but he is dumping right in my driveway. And my street drains right in to Lake Michigan; extra not cool. And now my driveway is going to smell?!

He gets my email address "to send a receipt" but I know it's really for a reminder for next year. Sigh. He was honest about the dry time, which I appreciated, and suggests using a 50/50 vinegar/water mix for spotting. I smile and thank him. Overall, I thought he did a decent if disappointing job, he was likeable, and he obviously has had training but then the driveway dumping put him in to hack territory for me.

Just for fun, since he left I've been taking not-so-calibrated temp & RH readings every hour or so:
Outside at time of cleaning: 52.5F and 63% RH
Inside 3 ft. above floor: 67.5F and 59% RH
At carpet: 2:15p 57.9F and 87% RH
3:00p 65.3F and 91% RH (urine still smells after 1 hour dwell))
4:00p 65.2F and 92% RH (several urine spots wicking)
5:00p 65.5F and 91% RH
6:00p 67.6F and 95% RH
7:00p 69.1F and 90% RH
8:00p 68.7F and 86% RH
9:00p 68.5F and 81% RH
10:00p 68.7F and 74% RH (urine still smells after 8 hour dwell and still damp but much improved)

Poor guy left thinking he had a satisfied customer, since he was satisfied. But now I have to either call him back when I don't want to see him again or deal with things a different way. Which at least I'm capable of doing. Especially if Jim sends me that magic urine-removal stuff I know he has. :)

Oh and since I figure some of you might wonder: I paid a little over 200 for about 650 sf, including stairs and aforementioned deodorizing. Since I have now paid a cleaner to do my carpet for me, a truckmount user no less, I feel like I can move on from the industry now. (That's probably not true, but it felt like a good way to wrap this up, ha.)


Thank you Debbie

I think most here would have skipped the truck mount toilet drain in the driveway. You did mention the smell before the discharge. Was there an odor from the truck that you could smell from within the house?

Did Mr Stinky (the cleaner, not to be confused with Jerk Dog) make any effort to locate the urine deposits, and do you have any idea of how often Jerk Dog made such deposits?

(If you think this is a grilling, wait till the rest of the gang starts...but thanks for the guts to share this. There are SO many learning moments here)

And welcome back!
Ouch, it's midnight and I better get to bed.

With the weather we've had, the massassaugas should be out and about and I need an early start!
Yeah I know the folks HERE would at least leave my driveway and drain their truck somewhere more private. (You guys still do sarcasm here, right?)

Yes the smell from the truck hit me like an open sewer inside the house. His truck was maybe 10 feet from my porch.

The cleaner didn't get all fancy with urine detection; I just told him where it all was. As to the urination frequency, it was pretty much once or twice a day for maybe three months? In other words, disgustingly often. I've been in a constant state of spotting all winter. Sometimes doing a good job, sometimes less so.

...I see you still like to say "massassaugas". :)
We pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw chit into the lake yearly!! Now you're concerned?

I'm hurt you didn't use me! Though I would have told you it's not my fault that your dog uses your house as a urinal, and there is no better option then replacing it, so your dog can piss on it again..:hopeless:
Unrealistic expectations that anyone is going to get that amount of urine out of the carpet and pad. When you let your dog use your house as a toilet, don't be surprised that it smells like an out house.
I would ask what kind of sub floor wood or cement???

Every cleaner should carry a black light!

And hopefully not rely on a deodorizer to win against piss flooding into the carpet and pad!

I would pull up the carpet if possible to see how much urine was on the backing of the carpet.

Not all are created equal when it comes to carpet cleaners.
I did dump in front of my customers house. I opened the sewer line connected to the city sewer, where grey water gets treated.

Sometime because I'm in a desert will water a tree, but never with stinky piss water!
an you think I'M crazy..........:headscratch:
They are safer than people...

Debbie, did the cleaner mention that the quantity of urine present could be impossible to correct? Did he discuss options? How much extra did he charge for the deodorizer application?

Were you smelling dirty water smell from his machine during operation or engine exhaust?
You knew about this website, yet you didn't contact us to help you find a reputable cleaner.
And you seem to know more about cleaning carpet than the guy you hired with the way you described the job and the wicking. With as much as you are currently educated into this business, you should know that your carpet is already ruined.

I don't want to get into the specifics about what he should've or could've done different. But one thing I do want to point out, is that you get what you pay for. He only charged you around $.23/sq. ft. That's the whole deal. With the way Google is, why didn't you pick the carpet cleaner based on their rating on the local listing?

Sorry for being so harsh, but this guy might be new, or just had a bad day and came from a job similar to your basement, which is why you smelled that odor. The smell of urine in our waste tanks are boosted with bacteria and heat, making it smell twice as rough. Most of the time, we don't have time to clean our whole unit out in between jobs. No excuse, I'm just trying to vouch for the carpet guy.

I recommend you call him back to fix it, if he promises customer satisfaction. Since you know about us and this website, we can give you a list of things to suggest to him in fixing it or at least making it livable.

Since this is a basement, I recommend getting someone to come remove the pad underneath (if there is one) and then having your carpet guy come back to reclean it with the proper urine treatment.. You'll see more promising results.
As for the "adorable" comment on slipping:

Twice I've had a customer slip and fall.
And once I had a customer trip over her own rug and fell away from me, getting a concussion. I was so mad at myself because she was elderly and she fell so fast, I didn't have time to catch her.
As for the "adorable" comment on slipping:

Twice I've had a customer slip and fall.
And once I had a customer trip over her own rug and fell away from me, getting a concussion. I was so mad at myself because she was elderly and she fell so fast, I didn't have time to catch her.
I agree Matt. I tell every customer, "Please be careful when transferring from the carpet to a hard surface. I'm introducing moisture into your carpet and I don't want you to slip and fall, and I suck at giving CPR." I always get a little laugh, but it makes my point. I always invite the customer to watch and ask me any questions as I work away. I remind them that they are not in my way, I'm the one in their way and I appreciate their business. I also warn them about the extreme suction of the main hose and of the heat of the solution line. Also to please secure their pets and children.

The thought of a slip-and-fall occurrence scares the crap out of me. I once was stripping a VCT floor with that Bonesaw stripper. That stuff is slicker than snot. I had my signs up and doors locked, but the business owner just could not get it through her head that I needed the place closed while stripping the floor. An elderly man walked in and went ass over elbows into the stripper. It was all over his back, head and arms and he could not get off the floor. He just slipped around on the floor like a fish on the boat deck. I was sick inside. I couldn't get that job done fast enough. I ended up working 19 hours total on that damn VCT and will never do that god-forsaken flooring again. After the guy fell the lady finally got smart and stopped letting customers in the store. As for the man, He was okay, but it could have been very bad.
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Lesson learn for me or moral of the story:

Always carry and use a black light to locate and saturate the homeowner for allowing a mutt to run the house
Prequalify the job (and customer) and set realistic expectations

If that carpet was anything like the one I encountered a few weeks back, there is no way even the best of the best cleaner would have completely solved that problem. Best thing to do there is toss out the carpet and pad and treat the subsurface then get rid of the dog or home owner.

This was my was my job a few weeks back. Homeowner allows these two muttleys to run the home as they please. As I'm cleaning, one of the dogs would poop here and there. This huge finished basement. Once I got done homeowner wanted me to put her on a every six month reminder schedule (as if the stink pee would not remind her the carpets need treatment or her). I couldn't get out of there fast enough once done.
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