It was not the test I thought it would be! I picked my test subject. It was a very dirty and greasy low pile, commercial grade carpet on top of cement. The hot water extraction guy had already done his damage. The carpet was not clean (the soil had been smeared). Obviously, it was the operator and not the method that had produced
these substandard results. Perfect! I am ready to show the world what VLM (very low moisture) cleaning can do.
I arrive at the job on time, and soon thereafter am measuring off an area that will be cleaned by both the Chemstractor and the CCS Op machine, side-by-side, showing the cleaning capabilities of both machines. I am already in love with my CCS and I know it will perform well. I am hoping the Chemstractor, will do everything it is supposed to do. I prespray both areas with “Before”, a traffic lane cleaner manufactured by Von
Schrader. For the CCS, I am prespraying “Argosheen” mixed one part water to one part of Argo. This is a very greasy carpet!
Starting out with the CCS, it is slow going. The pads are coming up quite black and I quickly determine that I will not have enough pads to do the entire job. There is so much black grease in this carpet, that after three pads are totally filled with soil; I can only slightly lighten a 1-ft. by 1-ft. area. Oh my! I know the CCS will clean the carpet, but I will have to charge a dollar per foot (at this rate) just to make decent money on
this job. Given the current level of soiling, I quickly determine that it is time to launch the Chemstractor into service.
I run to the truck and grab the 2-1/2 gallon container of VonShrader “Grease Lightning” shampoo. Oh my! Something is wrong! The detergent is like jelly! Shake~Shake~Shake! I should have taken it out of the garage and let it warm-up. Well, maybe if I shake it vey hard, I can pour out enough to make a couple of gallons of shampoo. After all, I only need 12 ounces.
OK, now the Chemstractor is ready to roll. I have removed the brush, and replaced it with the same type of pad Rick Gelinas uses when he cleans commercial carpet (the beige colored buffing pad). I squeeze the handle and the Chemstractor veers to the left, banging into the wall. OK, a rotary machine does not handle like the CCS OP machine! I say to myself, “Remember everything Rick Gelinas told you. This is not hard. You can do it!” I squeeze the handle again, and the Chemstractor veers to left again, but this time I am smarter and I am standing in the center of the room. I am going in one big circle. I am so glad nobody is here to witness this!
OK, I will try to go back and forth instead of left to right. This is working better, but why am I not getting much foam? As a matter-of-fact, it is coming out very runny, and the circular motion of the pad flings it! Great! I am a very low moisture cleaner and I am soaking the carpet! I soon abandon my tests, and decide I had better get this carpet clean. I remove the pad, mount the brush back on, and try again. Ahh! This is much better. However, I can only go forward and backward, and not side to side.
After finishing the cleaning, and speaking with Rick, I deduce that my problem is what they call a “ID 10 T” error (spell it out and it reads: idiot!). I am suffering from an idiot error! Because of my inability to control the machine, I did not have the pad seated squarely on the ground, which created uneven cleaning, slinging of the detergent, poor extraction (because the extraction ring does not touch the carpet evenly), and veering of the machine. However, I do find that this machine cleans extremely fast. I am sure that, operated properly, it will do a fine job.
The Chemstractor website talks about the Chemstractor as being a “restorative cleaning process”. This, I believe. I also found that the machine was easier for me to manipulate using the brush rather than the pad. The “grab” of the pad really pulls the machine. Could this be because the pad has better surface contact with the carpet than the brush does?
After reviewing everything the next day, I found some areas that did not clean as well as I would have liked them to. The carpet was also still damp. This experience proves that the method cleans only as good as the operator allows it to. Isn’t that what all the pros say? The CCS machine, in my opinion, is a great machine. The Chemstractor is like a fast car that I still need to learn how to drive. Once I learn how to properly drive this beast, it will meet all carpet cleaning challenges head on. I have also learned that the greatest “performance variable” is me and not the equipment!
UPDATE: I have just spent the last hour polishing my garage with the Chemstractor. I have two jobs this weekend and must learn how to operate this machine. I have finally found the error of my ways.
#1. When the weight of the machine is concentrated at the 6:00 position, the machine veers to the left. When the weight of the machine is concentrated at the 12:00 position, it veers to the right. Previously, when starting the machine I would engage the motor with a pressure on the machine at the 6:00 position. The machine would automatically veer and I would cheat by using the third wheel to lift the pad even further off the carpet to help me control the Chemstractor. This is not the correct way to operate this machine.
Tonight, I learned that you should squarely seat the pad on the carpet then engage motor and make adjustments by lifting the handle up or down. I now have total control of my Chemstractor. The surface contact is much greater which will give me a much better clean than I experienced in the story above.
#2. As Rick Gelinas has stated, the pad works better than the brush. I can see, even in my garage, the difference between the pad and the brush.