Water damage, that's what she said.

Bryce C

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Our best customer yet found us searching the web last week. The roof leaked last month and soaked the carpets. All was repaired and dried out but the carpet looked terrible. She thought it was water damage because the dark area was exactly where the water was. When I met her and took measurements of the space I brought in a spray bottle of encap and a terry cloth. Sure enough the dark area wiped right up. It was soil wicking from where the water had drenched it. The manager was very happy with how it all turned out today. Cleaned up nicely.

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Bryce C

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The place only had cold water while we were there. I was worried it would hinder cleaning it well. Bridgepoint Flex powder is awesome stuff. I am really impressed with that prespray compared to everything else I've used.
 
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Did you find out how long the carpet had been wet? You mentioned it was drenched. My concern would be what's under the carpet and in the padding.

When trying to correct wicking I always try to be on acidic side. I agree Flex is a good prespray, but this situation you would have been better off with Flex Ice or an Encap.

I'm not trying to take away from your good day, just some of my opinions.

If you have all your bases covered and your customer is happy that's all the matters.
 

Bryce C

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Did you find out how long the carpet had been wet? You mentioned it was drenched. My concern would be what's under the carpet and in the padding.

When trying to correct wicking I always try to be on acidic side. I agree Flex is a good prespray, but this situation you would have been better off with Flex Ice or an Encap.

I'm not trying to take away from your good day, just some of my opinions.

If you have all your bases covered and your customer is happy that's all the matters.
Thanks man I appreciate the helpful critique. They had insurance and a third party take care of the water damage and restoration over a month ago. The floor sits on cement. Insurance just didn't pay to replace the carpet so they wanted us to clean it. Place seemed bone dry. The guy that used to do all of their carpet cleaning recently retired.

I didn't feel compelled to check under the pad because of the situation, maybe I should have? I was just called for carpet cleaning though and it seemed like there weren't any underlying issues.

About the potential for wicking. I have Encapuguard by Bridgepoint which is 3.5 pH and designed to help prevent wicking. Maybe I should've used that? I've never even opened it yet. If one speed dries with multiple air movers like I do (used 3 today) is wicking ever really an issue? I haven't come across it yet. But I always use a bunch of air movers....
 
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Thanks man I appreciate the helpful critique. They had insurance and a third party take care of the water damage and restoration over a month ago. The floor sits on cement. Insurance just didn't pay to replace the carpet so they wanted us to clean it. Place seemed bone dry. The guy that used to do all of their carpet cleaning recently retired.

I didn't feel compelled to check under the pad because of the situation, maybe I should have? I was just called for carpet cleaning though and it seemed like there weren't any underlying issues.

About the potential for wicking. I have Encapuguard by Bridgepoint which is 3.5 pH and designed to help prevent wicking. Maybe I should've used that? I've never even opened it yet. If one speed dries with multiple air movers like I do (used 3 today) is wicking ever really an issue? I haven't come across it yet. But I always use a bunch of air movers....
Sounds like all your bases were covered and your customers are happy. Job well done.

Encapuguard is a great product for wicking. I used to post bonnet every carpet with Encapuguard, it always left the carpets looking great. If you got the wicking to go away and stay away, that's all that matters.

Even when speed drying and perfect wand strokes, some carpets are just prone to wicking, but thorough cleaning and removing as much moisture as possible is your best defense.
 
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Bryce C

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Sounds like all your bases were covered and your customers are happy. Job well done.

Encapuguard is a great product for wicking. I used to post bonnet every carpet with Encapuguard, it always left the carpets looking great, but if you got the wicking to go away and stay away, that's all that matters.

Even when speed drying and perfect wand strokes, some carpets are just prone to wicking, but thorough cleaning and removing as much moisture as possible is your best defense.
You are super helpful man. Much appreciated!
 
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Bryce C

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When trying to correct wicking I always try to be on acidic side. I agree Flex is a good prespray, but this situation you would have been better off with Flex Ice or an Encap.
This may be another case where I narrowly averted a problem not really knowing what I was doing. I hope there isn't any wicking for our new customer. I'd go back and address it in an instant, and I already warned her of the possibility. But I always hope to never have a call back as it just looks bad. Get it right the first time... They want us to clean for them once a month every month of the year, even through winter. Man I hope I can get more customers like this.
 

scotty747

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Flex is all I use anymore. If I need acid I'll prespray with all fiber rinse. It will eat wood floor finish if your not careful. It can even leave foot prints on hard wood finish so be mindful.
 
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This may be another case where I narrowly averted a problem not really knowing what I was doing. I hope there isn't any wicking for our new customer. I'd go back and address it in an instant, and I already warned her of the possibility. But I always hope to never have a call back as it just looks bad. Get it right the first time... They want us to clean for them once a month every month of the year, even through winter. Man I hope I can get more customers like this.
If I've had carpets that I thought would be an issue, I did like you and was upfront with the customer. I would also call the next day to see how everything dried down.

When I was first starting out I was having some issues with wicking. There were a lot of factors that played a roll in it. To fix it I basically slowed my wand strokes, started post bonneting, and I would leave air movers behind at each job. Leaving the air movers allowed me to go back an inspect each day. The customers also loved the following up visits, however as we got busier it wasn't practical to do any more. I learned a lot by checking my work. I still do leave air movers behind on request, but we have them set them out on their porch and we grab them the next day when it works out.

I think it was @Mikey P Had a good thread here once about the importance of placing an air mover down as quickly as possible once finished wanding. The carpet drys so much quicker if the moisture isn't allowed to soak down in. I find the same with dry strokes. That if you dry stroke immediately vs doing half the room and going back. The quicker you extract the drier the carpets.
 
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Mikey P

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I think it was @Mikey P Had a good thread here once about the importance of moving to Northern Nevada as quickly as possible.. The carpet drys so much quicker if the moisture isn't allowed to soak down in. I find the same with dry strokes. That if you dry stroke immediately vs doing half the room and going back. The quicker you extract the drier the carpets.
I'll say!
 
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Jim Pemberton

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That if you dry stroke immediately vs doing half the room and going back. The quicker you extract the drier the carpets.

Funny "old guy" story:

Back in the 80s, one very well respected (at the time and now) truck mount manufacturer proposed a unique "dual wand" system:

The guy (founder and owner of the company....a rare breed today) had an entire slide show (1980s...remember?) that showed one guy with a wand hooked to solution hose and another guy with a wand hooked to the vacuum hose.

"Solution Hose Guy" pushed the wand back and forth, wetting (ok...soaking) the carpet and "Vacuum Hose Guy" followed at few feet away and picked up the solution. The idea was that the two separate steps were less laborious, and that way you could pick up speed.

Since that was back in the days of high pH emulsifiers with boosters added, it was thought that it gave more dwell time.

This was also back when it was considered acceptable by some to leave carpets wet for a few days.

.................A technique that obviously didn't last
 

Rick J

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If I've had carpets that I thought would be an issue, I did like you and was upfront with the customer. I would also call the next day to see how everything dried down.

When I was first starting out I was having some issues with wicking. There were a lot of factors that played a roll in it. To fix it I basically slowed my wand strokes, started post bonneting, and I would leave air movers behind at each job. Leaving the air movers allowed me to go back an inspect each day. The customers also loved the following up visits, however as we got busier it wasn't practical to do any more. I learned a lot by checking my work. I still do leave air movers behind on request, but we have them set them out on their porch and we grab them the next day when it works out.

I think it was @Mikey P Had a good thread here once about the importance of placing an air mover down as quickly as possible once finished wanding. The carpet drys so much quicker if the moisture isn't allowed to soak down in. I find the same with dry strokes. That if you dry stroke immediately vs doing half the room and going back. The quicker you extract the drier the carpets.
OH MY, like he needs stroked!!😝
 

Bryce C

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If I've had carpets that I thought would be an issue, I did like you and was upfront with the customer. I would also call the next day to see how everything dried down.

When I was first starting out I was having some issues with wicking. There were a lot of factors that played a roll in it. To fix it I basically slowed my wand strokes, started post bonneting, and I would leave air movers behind at each job. Leaving the air movers allowed me to go back an inspect each day. The customers also loved the following up visits, however as we got busier it wasn't practical to do any more. I learned a lot by checking my work. I still do leave air movers behind on request, but we have them set them out on their porch and we grab them the next day when it works out.

I think it was @Mikey P Had a good thread here once about the importance of placing an air mover down as quickly as possible once finished wanding. The carpet drys so much quicker if the moisture isn't allowed to soak down in. I find the same with dry strokes. That if you dry stroke immediately vs doing half the room and going back. The quicker you extract the drier the carpets.
Excellent. I'm learning to be up front not through my own experience but rather pre-empting through others mistakes and advice here on the boards and elsewhere. Wicking still hasn't happened yet, even once as far as I know. Which I find really interesting looking back because my portable is sweet but in regards to vac is stunted. The PEX 500 has both it's vac motors on 1 circuit, well designed to be as much as can be on 1 circuit but weak compared to a portable that has 2 larger vac motors on different circuits with no heat (mine has a 2000 watt heater).

My service/travel area is much too large to reasonably leave air movers to be picked up later. This emphasis you share on using an air mover as soon as possible after wanding really strikes a note with me, quicker extraction and drying, critical. I do move fairly slow with my dry strokes in res. Although commercial I have been moving arse and speeding up my dry strokes to finish given jobs in allotted times, which has left me worrying. But also using stronger chems in com to reduce the need for so many wet strokes. So far zero call backs and I follow through with all of our commercial clients to make sure no problems popped up for them later. They are all thrilled. They even write me raving emails and messages. Just got another one from the very client I wrote this post about tonight.

My best guess without having gone back to check on my own work is that I am riding the line, on the edge of wicking yet it hasn't happened. Maybe part luckily and part intelligently due to thorough research and thoughtfulness on the job. I'm on it with cracking windows when the weather is right, using air movers, always doing about 2:1 dry:wet passes (although with the power of my vac it may ideally be 3:1 and a touch slower), not over wetting unless absolutely necessary, etc...
 
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Bryce C

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Since that was back in the days of high pH emulsifiers with boosters added, it was thought that it gave more dwell time.
I'm new so I don't have another frame of reference. What you describe sounds a lot like what is used today, to me anyways...
 

Jim Pemberton

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I'm new so I don't have another frame of reference. What you describe sounds a lot like what is used today, to me anyways...

When hot water extraction (called steam cleaning then....a moniker that has an expected story of its own) was first developed, detergents with pH ranges around 11 were put directly into portable, and later truck mount, solution systems. If cleaning results weren’t good enough, higher pH/solvent degreasers were added as boosters.

All of this was left in the carpet, which also took a day or two to dry.

We used to sell browning treatments by the drum....

Shampoo and dry foam guys used to show this as a reason to avoid the process.

Traffic Lane Cleaner was the name of a product invented by a chemist named Dan Savanuck, Bob Hughes’ partner in a company called Chemspec. That innovation was much copied over time, and its use diminished the use of boosting degreasers. Only with the advent of stain resistant carpet did we start using detergents with pH ratings lower than 10, followed by a trend of using acid rinses or clear water rinsing
 

Bryce C

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When hot water extraction (called steam cleaning then....a moniker that has an expected story of its own) was first developed, detergents with pH ranges around 11 were put directly into portable, and later truck mount, solution systems. If cleaning results weren’t good enough, higher pH/solvent degreasers were added as boosters.

All of this was left in the carpet, which also took a day or two to dry.

We used to sell browning treatments by the drum....

Shampoo and dry foam guys used to show this as a reason to avoid the process.

Traffic Lane Cleaner was the name of a product invented by a chemist named Dan Savanuck, Bob Hughes’ partner in a company called Chemspec. That innovation was much copied over time, and its use diminished the use of boosting degreasers. Only with the advent of stain resistant carpet did we start using detergents with pH ratings lower than 10, followed by a trend of using acid rinses or clear water rinsing
Wow that's a bit terrifying. Thanks for the brief history lesson Jim. Was pH burn on pets and babies fairly common in those days with the high alkaline rinsing? Not sure what threshold causes that. Or if the detergents weren't buffered to hold pH levels like they often are now.

One would think the overall health of the population would be improving each passing year as some industries smarten up over time. Yet the opposite is true. I suppose it's always a mixed bag. The more I learn the more I appreciate learning this craft in 2024.
 
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Jim Pemberton

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Dogs lived in dog houses or the basement in many cases, and vet visits were basically rabies shots and euthanasia.

Babies traveled in cars on the laps of mothers who were smoking cigarettes while dad drove after a few beers or mixed drinks.

Irritating detergent residues weren’t much on the radar in those days 😆
 

Rick J

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When hot water extraction (called steam cleaning then....a moniker that has an expected story of its own) was first developed, detergents with pH ranges around 11 were put directly into portable, and later truck mount, solution systems. If cleaning results weren’t good enough, higher pH/solvent degreasers were added as boosters.

All of this was left in the carpet, which also took a day or two to dry.

We used to sell browning treatments by the drum....

Shampoo and dry foam guys used to show this as a reason to avoid the process.

Traffic Lane Cleaner was the name of a product invented by a chemist named Dan Savanuck, Bob Hughes’ partner in a company called Chemspec. That innovation was much copied over time, and its use diminished the use of boosting degreasers. Only with the advent of stain resistant carpet did we start using detergents with pH ratings lower than 10, followed by a trend of using acid rinses or clear water rinsing
OK,,, now on to "dry cleaning" what we are supposed to use on those berbers!!! 😜
 

kmdineen

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Water “stains” on carpets are caused by particles water picks up as it travels through and/or over building material. As the carpet dries, these particles wick to the top of the carpet.


These “stains” usually clean up quickly, and wicking after cleaning is not an issue because the wicking occurs during the drying process. Make sure the carpet and pad are dry before cleaning.


The hydro-sensor is a handy tool to have for this and other applications.
 
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