Low Moisture Cleaning and Hot Water Extraction

Low moisture cleaning has quickly become a popular method for cleaners in the carpet and hard surface cleaning industries. It is a fairly new concept starting to take off in the last five years or so. Saving water is a big reason why it has become so popular.

It’s a method that uses up to 90% less water than hot water extraction. This makes a big difference in helping our planet. 

Hot water extraction works well in certain situations, especially situations like flooding where there is a need to extract a lot of water. The industry is finding though that in general there seems to be a bigger interest in low moisture. 

Low moisture cleaning has also seen a spike in popularity because of the money you can save paired with its proven results. The operation and overhead costs to use low moisture are much lower than hot water extraction methods. Cleaners are seeing these two big things as a reason to make the change. 

The Process of Low Moisture Cleaning

Low moisture cleaning often uses an encapsulation (Encap) cleaning agent and/or an organic compound. It is then paired with other spotters that do not leave residue. The encap chemical normally comes in a concentrated form and needs to be diluted before being applied to the carpet. Spotters are ready to use and can be applied through instant spraying and the compound is sprinkled on the heavy traffic lanes and spots.

This encapsulates the microscopic crystals via polymers. Next, you turn on your CRB machine to begin the agitation process once the cleaning solutions have been applied.

We think your results will be better the faster you can hit the encap. This gives you the chance to attack the carpet faster to produce quicker results.

The cleaning agents encapsulate the dirt and soil and once it dries, our renovator trays and vacuum will remove it. The compound starts out as a yellow color and turns to black when it has absorbed the dirt. This is how you know it is cleaning correctly. 

Low moisture cleaning can be used for interim maintenance or deep cleaning/restoration jobs. The 3 keys to getting results using the CRB machine for almost any instance are: 

  1. Right brushes for right carpet (white, grey, blue, green or yellow)
  2. Right cleaning solution(s), at the right dilution rate
  3. Proper agitation with CRB machine (all cardinal directions)

Low-Moisture Cleaning Types

Encapsulation: is a polymer based cleaning solution that dries into microscopic crystals to encapsulate the soil and hold it in suspension for recovery.

3 Types of Encapsulation:

  • Crystal Former: This breaks down small crystals and tends to be the best encap for cleaning. The vacuum then removes it without leaving a residue.
  • Powder Former: This dries to a white powder, but can be harder to recover than a crystallizer as it leaves a bit of residue. We think this is the second best method.
  • Film Former: A film former dries like candle wax building up over time and creating layers of residue. It cleans well, but if the layers are not peeled correctly or are vacuumed out it can create a problem. It can build up in the carpet, which will need a HWE to break up the soil every 6 months. 

Hot Water Extraction

Cleaners in the past have used the hot water extraction cleaning method, which can use a large amount of water. Cleaners generally use a pre-spray and CRB, rotary or OP machine to agitate the pre-spray before they extract with their truck mount.  

This is the most commonly used method and has been the preferred method in the past. It also is a good method to get a deep clean that digs deep into the fabrics.

However, this causes problems now that we have a lot of information about the environment. Hot water extraction uses more water than needed, which doesn’t help preserve our planet, though it is residue free at times. Too much water usage can also generally lead to much longer drying times of up to 48 hours. 

The increased moisture levels can make it more likely for mold, bacteria and wick backs to happen. The carpets need to not be left wet, or have too much water.

Low moisture cleaning provides many perks including the ability to leave the carpets dry in a short period of time. In most cases less than 1 hour, and no more than two hours if it is in very bad shape.

A portable is needed for low moisture cleaning when dealing with urine stains if you want to go low moisture (CRB) only. Portables are significantly cheaper than a truck mount, which is used for hot water extraction. This will keep your operation costs down when using low moisture cleaning instead of hot water extraction.

Wrapping It Up

We believe there is no right or wrong method when it comes to cleaning carpets. Our biggest message is to make sure we are keeping our planet in mind when looking at the costs and time to finish a job. We do this without hurting our results, and having the peace of mind that we are trying to conserve our Earth.

CRB Cleaning Systems wants to be a part of the change to help conserve the Earth, while we ensure that our customers and their customers are content with the cleaning results. We suggest low moisture cleaning and think this is the way of the future.

It’s hard to beat the feeling of finishing a hard day of work cleaning, while still feeling good that you contributed to a happier customer and cleaner planet! For more on CRB carpet cleaning and low moisture cleaning check out our Facebook and LinkedIn pages!

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