A really BIG franchise carpet cleaning company brought us a rug to “fix” for them.
They are “certified” – they hired the southern contingent rug training duo to teach them the IICRC course – so they were able to memorize the facts to pass the test… and they bought the products the instructors were selling… but it appears that perhaps they did not come away with “knowing” and understanding proper rug care in terms of heavy equipment on more fragile rugs.
For one thing… they mentioned the rug had already been properly “pit” cleaned by their instructors’ process.
Here’s a shot of one area – that by the way still STINKS:
Using a pit for cleaning is WAY better than surface cleaning with other methods (portable or truck mount) – but when you are dealing with a rug with dyes that are NOT colorfast, and you are NOT knowledgeable about how to clean rugs in that circumstance, then you do it too quickly from fear – and it does not come out being free of the contaminants… which is why this rug still smells.
There is still dog urine in it.
This company does a good volume of rugs, always has, but their target market is more those who are looking for the cheapest rug cleaning, versus the best care for the rugs. There’s a difference.
Some rugs are very inexpensive and the owners are not looking for specialists. They have a coupon. But sometimes people who have valuable rugs may not know it. So though this company handles a lot of the commodity rugs out there, they do get “real” oriental rugs through their doors, and some of these we see…sometimes after things have gone wrong. We get their “uh-oh’s.”
And this one was indeed an uh-oh… but not from the pee-pee.
Take a look:
This Turkish rug was brought in with several very large tears in it. It is a strong woven rug, and we pulled on the torn areas to see if it was weak from dry rot or any other reason – nope, it was strong as can be.
But all of these torn areas…?!? So my mother asked what happened, and their technician answered…
“It was BADGERED.”
Now, the Rug Badger is a dusting machine that BEATS the heck out of a rug to pound dirt out of it. This makes the wash process more thorough…but you have to be VERY careful with using this equipment on textiles.
The straps turn around and beat and beat, and it can pull up the edge of a rug, and BAM – this happens:
Now… my mother can repair this. It will take a bit of work, because it is 7 tears all along the bottom, each about a foot in length, but the cuts are clean cuts.
But what makes me mad is that these technicians feel confident about handling woven oriental rugs, because they have an IICRC patch, when they are simply not ready to be handling hand-woven rugs with very limited book-learning knowledge.
They provide inexpensive in-home cleaning of wall-to-wall carpet, but they believe in a few days of a sit-down test that they can now be “oriental rug specialists.” They in fact advertise this service (as do many carpet cleaning companies who specialize in in-home wall-to-wall carpeting but not natural fiber woven rugs).
I don’t fault them for trying to make more money by offering more services to their customers, and actually, there are more rugs to clean than skilled rug cleaners – so it’s a good specialty to get trained in.
It’s just if they are going to do a SPECIALIZED service, they should spend some time to REALLY learn it.
There is a myth in the rug cleaning industry – and in cleaning wall-to-wall carpet – that it is ALL about the equipment you use.
But in reality, it is the PERSON behind the equipment that is more valuable.
I can take a bucket of shampoo, some vinegar, and some hand brushes, and because I understand textiles and their care VERY well… I could out-clean a rug versus a person with a fully mechanized rug plant with hundreds of thousands in equipment.
In fact, this weekend in Las Vegas, I build a very rudimentary wash pit, and cleaned one of the most dangerous rug bleeders out there – a bright red Afghan wool rug – and did an excellent job with tools that were not made for “rugs.” But with the right cleaning solutions to stabilize the dye, the right shampoo, and keeping an eye on the process, several students and I got that rug washed and dried and looking fabulous.
Anyone else, with no understanding of the basics of rug cleaning, would have ruined that rug.
Why could I with low-tech tools be able to out clean a high-tech operation?
Because I understand what I am working on, and I have the attention to detail that would make the difference. A big difference.
It’s like the difference between running your car through the $7 car wash at Chevron, and getting a $200 mobile car detailing where every inch inside and out is sparkling.
This rug disaster is a crime.
It’s what happens when you put good equipment with bad training and give them a good rug to clean.
This is not the Badger’s fault – it is the operator’s fault. He should have been more aware that a soft woven rug like this could not take the beating.
I shouldn’t complain, because it’s a rug repair invoice, so it’s technically “business”… but it just irks me that these classes taught by instructors who have NEVER run a successful rug cleaning operation can mislead their students into thinking that EVERY rug is a piece of cake to clean, and that every piece of equipment can be equally applied to every rug.
There must be adjustments, and these adjustments come from understanding what you are working on, and predicting disasters BEFORE they happen.
For those of you who own Rug Badgers – please pay attention. If you have a flexible wool rug, and you get too close to the edge, you run this risk here.
I personally do not have a Rug Badger in our plant, not because it is a bad piece of equipment – it can be a good time saver for smaller operations. I just prefer the control of a Sanitaire vacuum, and it works well for us. I’m not a big fan of aggressively beating natural fiber woven rugs.
I warn my students that sometimes this heavy equipment can risk structural damage. Besides this “badgering” – I have also seen the Centrifuge spinner unit split the backing foundation of a machine woven rug because it went too fast.
Just be careful and attentive. And ALWAYS check the foundation of the rugs closely for existing dry rot or structural problems BEFORE you beat the heck out of it.