All Pre-Sprays Are Not Created Equal
You’ve probably heard a carpet cleaner say, “the price includes a pre-spray to remove your spots.” Did you respond with “That’s great, sign me up”? WAIT! Not all pre-sprays used in professional carpet cleaning are right for every job. There are a few more things you should know.
Pre-spray is one of the first steps in cleaning carpet. The pH of a cleaning product plays a major role in the quality of a carpet cleaning job, and it is important that the cleaner understands how it works. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with neutral being 7. The lower end of the scale is acid, and the higher end is alkaline.
Generally, choosing a cleaning formula with a pH opposite of the soil type’s pH produces the best results. For example, acidic soils such as fruit juice spills should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner. It is important to choose the appropriate cleaning formula, as using the incorrect pH for the fiber type, or strong pH levels in either direction, can destroy fibers and negatively affect dyes.
Most cleaning chemicals for synthetic fibers are alkaline (high pH) in nature, since soil removal happens best at alkaline pH levels. High pH (alkaline) cleaners work well on olefin, polyester, nylon, and acrylic fibers. It also works well to remove protein stains, oils, and grease from fibers. Wool is a protein, and requires cleaning chemicals with mildly acidic pH levels.
While high pH or alkaline cleaners can be the best cleaning option for many textiles, and the outcome can be sparkling, they leave the fibers prone to re-soiling quickly and can leave the carpet with a sticky or crunchy feel. This is why it is important to neutralize pH.
The natural pH of most carpet fibers is near neutral (7). For wool, the natural pH will be between 5.5 and 7. For the life of the fiber and to keep from attracting soils, we should leave the fibers as close to possible to their natural pH when we have finished cleaning. Treating the fibers with an acid rinse agent accomplishes this.
So, ask what pre-spray formula is best for your carpet type, and make sure the company is neutralizing the pH following the cleaning. If you are having natural fibers such as wool or silk cleaned, make sure the company is taking precautions to protect the fibers and dyes.
Our cleaning products are chosen specifically for every job. Our technicians are trained to determine the type of fibers he is cleaning, and use the appropriate formulas. He will also attempt to identify each type of stain to determine the appropriate cleaner to remove it, and will neutralize the pH of the carpet once finished using our fabric softening rinse.