Vacuum Review: Dirt Devil Featherlite

June 15, 2011

Make:

Dirt Devil

Model:

Featherlite

Upright:

x

Canister:

Weight:

12lbs.

Cord length:

25’

Available at:

Danny’s Vacuum Shop

1 Padre Pkwy.

Rohnert Park Ca. 94928

707-584-0225

 

Uses:

Residential: x         Commercial:         Heavy Duty:

 Summary:

 

Over the course of the last few years a number of people have asked me why I never review any vacuums that cost less than $150. My answer has always been the same; “because they don’t make one that works”. As of today I’m glad to say that Dirt Devil has proven me wrong. The 12 pound Featherlite rings the register at less than half of that at a whopping $70. Now, my answer to the sub $150 vacuum is, buy two of these, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. It comes in bagged or bagless models but this review is for the model requiring a bag.

Given the price tag of the Featherlite, this is not a machine with solid metal parts, HEPA filtration, a Xenon headlight, and all the other bells and whistles made to last 30+ years. What it does have though is a 12 amp motor that provides great suction on most common household carpet. I used it on a low pile carpet, and an average cut pile carpet, with very good results on both. Make sure you buy extra bags because the way this machine picks up they fill up fast. It was very easy to push, maneuvered just fine around furniture, and is quite a bit quieter than most real light weight machines. I also liked the way it cleaned right up close to the wall, especially with the front edge. It has on-board attachments that work just fine, although I always recommend getting a 10’ – 12’ hose to use them with.

Basic, simple, and under $100 this is the perfect machine for things like: leaving upstairs, a son or daughter leaving for college, an RV, or even a small office. A very enthusiastic four out of five stars here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                            

 

 

Golden Gate Carpet Cleaning

 643 Martin Ave. #3Rohnert Park, Ca. 94928 – 707-588-8879


Carpet Cleaning Methods

June 5, 2011

Being a responsible home owner, you have decided that it’s time to have your carpet cleaned. You spent a lot of money on your carpet and want the job done right. Some people say dry cleaning is best, others say steam cleaning is the way to go, then your mother says “don’t worry honey, I’ll bring over my shampooer and do it for you”.

As a long time industry veteran I can tell you that the “best method” depends on which professional you talk to. I can also tell you that his idea of the “best method” is the very method that he happens to use (surprise, surprise). In my day to day I use every common method there is, along with some not so common methods, to safely clean all types of carpet. With no particular bias, let’s talk about if there is really a “best method”.

 Steam Cleaning

Properly called Hot Water Extraction this is the granddaddy of carpet cleaning. Commonly a pre spray detergent is applied, then using either Truck mounted or portable equipment, the carpet is rinsed with high pressure hot water, and simultaneously vacuumed to remove the soap, water, and soil.

This is the method that most carpet manufactures recommend in their warranties, but be careful. When not done properly, as it often is not, it is the method most likely to damage your new carpet. There are many different machines, tools, soaps, and attachments out there, so the consumer needs to ask questions of the company. Every carpet mill has standards that must be abided by when cleaning their carpet. It’s true that most manufactures recommend Hot Water Extraction but they also are specific on what kind of detergent to use.

This is the method that I most often use and when done with quality equipment, an expert operator, the proper detergent for the job, and a proper rinse, very good results are usually the norm.

Encapsulation

This method of carpet cleaning is becoming more and more popular in commercial carpet maintenance. The encapsulating cleaner (a liquid cleaning agent) is sprayed on and then worked into the carpet using a type of brush machine. The encapsulate then surrounds the soil particles, releases it from the carpet fiber, and crystallizes so it can’t reattach to the carpet. The encapsulated soil is then removed by normal vacuuming.

Since it’s a low moisture system, dry time is very fast. This method is designed to be used fairly frequently as part of an overall maintenance plan in commercial settings.  Often every third or fourth cleaning has to be done with Hot Water Extraction in order to thoroughly rinse the carpet.

Shampoo

Probably the oldest of cleaning methods, it’s also the simplest. A high foaming carpet shampoo is scrubbed into the carpet using a rotary brush machine. The dirt releases from the carpet fiber, sticks to the shampoo, and that’s that.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. All that dirty soap is left in the carpet, so even though the carpet looks a little better, it is very temporary. That said, this can be a quick fix when a very fast, short lasting, job is called for.

Absorbent Pad or Bonnet Cleaning

Like encapsulation cleaning this method works better on commercial carpet, but many companies are using it in residential settings. A dry-solvent or water based cleaner is sprayed onto the carpet. Then a thick pad made of cotton, rayon, or polyester is attached to a rotary machine and used to agitate the carpet. The idea is that the dirt is released from the carpet and absorbed up into the pad (just like when you use a towel and cleaner to wipe the kitchen counter).

This method is often laughed at by “we steam clean everything” firms, but I have personally cleaned many thousands of square feet of carpet this way and got great results. I only like this on low pile commercial carpet though.  

 Absorbent Compound

Usually uses some type of powder that contains detergents, solvents and some type of very low moisture. A specially designed brush machine is used to agitate the powder into the carpet where it breaks up the soil and absorbs it (by now I’m sure you are beginning to see the common theme here). Vacuuming is then used to remove the soil saturated powder or compound.

Many of the absorbent compounds on the market are considered “organic” and very safe to use. The only problem may occur if the brushes cause the carpet to fuzz up. I always test first in a closet.

Absorbent compound generally do not do a very good job of cleaning, but like previously stated they are very safe. There are some carpets out there that you can’t get wet without ruining them (sisal and rayon to name a couple). If you happen to own this type of carpet, don’t let it get visibly dirty. Absorbent compound cleaning every couple of months is the only way to go.

So there you go, carpet cleaning in a nutshell. As you can see there are different ways to clean carpet and each one has it’s place, thus the need to seek out  a qualified professional.  Finally no matter which carpet cleaning method is used vacuuming should always be the first step.

Next time we’ll talk about the different materials used to make carpet.

Remember

Avoid Uneducated, Uninformed, and Sometimes Downright Unscrupulous Carpet Cleaners!


Vacuum Review: Riccar Radiance

June 1, 2011

Make:

Riccar

Model: 

Radiance

Upright:

X

Canister:

Weight:

23lbs

Cord length:

34’

Available at:

The Sewing &Vacuum Place

1250 Mendocino Ave

Santa Rosa,CA95401

707-575-5259

 Uses:

Residential: x     Commercial:x     Heavy Duty:x    

 Summary:

Riccar’s top of the line machine has everything you could want in a vacuum; from its looks, suction power, filtration, and durability it is top notch. I used it on every type of carpet available soiled with pet hair and outdoor debris, and there’s no doubt that this machine does a better job of removing soil from carpet than any other machine I’ve used in my 25 years of cleaning. It has a two motor system that drives the machine allowing for the superior performance.

The HEPA filtration will remove 99.97% of dust particles down to .3 microns in size, so allergy sufferers have a real friend here. There is a whole list of other noteworthy features that I won’t bore you with (they can be found on Riccar’s website) but there are a couple I’d like to mention. Radiance has a ribbed belt that will last many years and it uses a lot of metal parts instead of plastic which again lead to long lasting durability. Breaking a cheap plastic part while changing the belt will not be an issue here.

When not vacuuming carpet the power switch allows the user to turn the beater bar off and use suction only on hard surface floors. Another feature I really liked occurs when the handle is in the upright position and the beater bar automatically shuts off. I found this useful when I would stop to move a piece of furniture and consequently did not have to worry about the brush running in one place (could cause the carpet to fuzz up). On board tools and a telescoping wand make it handy for vacuuming corners and upholstery but as always I still recommend getting a 10’ – 12’ hose made up for attachment use.

All the quality and durability does come at a price though. This is a heavy machine and comes with a retail price of about $900. I read other reviews where people raved about how easy the machine was to push, but I must say that I really disagree. It’s a fairly heavy machine and I found it a bit cumbersome to push and maneuver, not to mention the chore of carrying it up and down stairs.

If you are fairly strong, don’t mind the extra effort to push it around, and want the best vacuum cleaning power out there, then this American made beauty is for you.

 

Golden Gate Carpet Cleaning

 643 Martin Ave. #3Rohnert Park, Ca. 94928 – 707-588-8879


Vacuum Review: Simplicity Symmetry Classic

May 29, 2011

 

 

 

VACUUM REVIEW

Make:

Simplicity

Model:

Symmetry Classic

Upright:

 

Canister:

 

Weight:

16 lbs.

Cord length:

24′

Available At:

Danny’s Vacuum Shop

1 Padre Pkwy # C
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 584-0225

Uses:

Residential: yes       Commercial yes        Heavy Duty no

Summary: 

Before I used this vacuum I was not sure that I was going to like it, but wow, was I pleasantly surprised. This is a very basic machine (I used the one with no tools), but with its quiet motor, ergonomic handle, and ease of use, I give it high marks. From pet hair to sand and everything in between this machine performed far better than many more expensive ones (even an occasional paper clip doesn’t slow it down). The front of the machine gets about as close to the wall as possible and the right side has an edge brush that also performed very well. It will lay flat to go under most furniture, but like most uprights the head is fairly tall so it probably won’t go under your bed.

The brush bar /beater bar is driven by a non ribbed rubber belt which means it has to be changed every few months. At about $1.50, and no tools required this is a small price to pay for a quality machine. It only has a foam filter filtration system so I recommend using genuine Simplicity HiFlow Hepa vacuum bags. They will give you all the filtration you need in most cases. The 24’ cord is also pretty short, but that can easily be replaced with a longer one.

The Symmetry Classic is primarily designed with residential vaccuming in mind. After using this vacuum though, I was so impressed that I bought one and put it in my carpet cleaning van. As a professional who’s always concerned with image I really like the looks of the machine. I use it multiple times every day and it always works perfectly. I keep waiting for it to break, but it’s just not happening. I did put a longer commercial cord on it, and I go through bands every few weeks, but without a doubt, this has been one of my favorite vacuums ever. I use a damp towel on it at the end of the day and it always looks great.

As with all vacuums, I use a 10’-12’ hose for the attachment tools (bought separately) because I find on-board tools with those 2’-3’ attached hoses to be useless. With the long hose you can leave the vacuum in the middle of the room, and out of the way when using the upholstery or edge tools.

With a price tag of about $300 this is not only a good machine but also a very good value. Five out of five stars here!!!

 

  

 

 

Golden Gate Carpet Cleaning

 643 Martin Ave. #3Rohnert Park, Ca. 94928 – 707-588-8879


Choosing a Company

May 28, 2011

So you’re looking at your carpet and decide that it is time to have them cleaned. You call around to some local carpet cleaners and an hour later your head is spinning with terms like:

  • Hot water extraction
  • Encapsulation
  • Rotary jet extractor
  • Empowered water
  • Surfactant
  • Green Cleaning
  • Low moisture

Each company claims to be the best and to have the best equipment this side of Yonkers; sound familiar? Let’s see if I can get you through all the argot and help you with a more common sense approach to finding somebody to just clean your carpet.

When choosing a carpet cleaner the first thing you should do is simply ask around. Just remember to ask somebody who has similar quality standards as you. If you are meticulous about your house don’t ask your untidy neighbor who is only interested in the cheapest possible job. After you have a few names it’s time to call.

While on the phone  you will begin to get a taste of their sales pitch, and here you can learn a lot about the company just by listening. Were they friendly and polite? Did they sound like a true professional or like somebody just spewing out meaningless drivel he read on the internet?

If the company passed your initial screening it may be time to have them come to your house in order to give you a written estimate. If the company will not do this it should be a huge red flag. Having somebody come to your house for an estimate will most likely answer any questions you may still have about hiring this company. When they show up take some immediate mental notes: were they on time or did they call if running late? Is the person wearing a uniform and have a clean appearance? In my 25 years in the business I have never seen an unkempt individual do a good cleaning job (that’s pretty much a no-brainer). Dirty boots, inappropriate clothing, baseball hat on backwards, unshaven, reeking like cigarettes or alcohol, would all be reasons for me to not even let the person in my house. You might want to take a look at the van too. Is it clean?

If they are still there, now it’s time for some more sales pitch. He should ask quite a few questions about the carpet and the traffic it gets. The main things you want to know are:

  • Does his cleaning method meet manufacture standards (if he has no idea what the standards are, don’t hire him).
  • Is he properly trained? IICRC certified (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is the most common level of education.
  • Does he seem to show respect for you and your home? Little things can tip you off here; e.g. shoe covers, wiping feet before entering house, asking permission to look around at the areas to be cleaned, remembering your name, etc. etc.

At this point if no red flags have arisen you may have found a cleaner. Remember all these small things are important to the end results and it’s not just about who will do the cheapest job.

Next time I will address all the different methods of cleaning.

Remember

Avoid Uneducated, Uninformed, and Sometimes Downright Unscrupulous Carpet Cleaners!