Chemistry is one of the subjects that impacts highly applicable knowledge, especially if you are in the carpet cleaning industry. Understanding the chemical make-up – particularly the PH level – of a cleaning solution can identify the difference between having a discolored carpet and one that is looking rejuvenated.
When it comes to carpet cleaning, it is wise to pick up a cleaner and start scrubbing to remove dirt and oil. However, it's a big mistake. As professional carpet cleaners, we know that PH plays a vital role in carpet cleaning products due to its ability to damage fibers and dyes.
What is PH?In simplest terms, a PH level of solution refers to the alkalinity or acidity of a water-based solution. A PH of 7 indicates a neutral solution. So, anything below 7 is considered acidic, and anything above is considered alkaline.
In the early 1950s, the issue of PH guidelines started when a group called the British Standards was looking for volunteers to set limits on alkalinity for carpet cleaning. Most of the cleaners used the shampoo method because all carpets back then were wool. Many boosted their products with ammonium hydroxide, while some pushed the limit, increasing the PH too much. Hence, the committee set a PH range of 5.5 to 8.0.
Starting in the 1960s, the concern about alkalinity lessened because synthetics became the dominant fibers in the United States. Then acid dye blockers came in 1986, and alkalinity became a big issue.
Later, the majority claimed that Wools of New Zealand had modified the 5.5 to 8.0 rule to become a 4.5 to 8.5 guideline. But it turned out that Wools of New Zealand did not make this rule. Their focus was on certifying woolen carpets, but the organization owned another group called Woolsafe.
Woolsafe marketed laboratory testing and certifications for detergents, spotters, and protectors. They had authorized a product with a PH of 13.5. However, according to a 2004 study, Woolsafe did not recommend products with 6.5 PH because they have much alkaline.
The IICRC commissioned Dr. Al Luedtke, a chemist, to write a white paper on carpet cleaning and PH to address these contradictory recommendations. Dr. Luedtke pointed out that the PH of a product alone was an insufficient measurement of its compatibility with a fiber. However, the myth of the 10.0 rule persists.
PH and Carpet Cleaning
Science lesson aside, why does PH matter? Choosing an appropriate PH level ensures the effectiveness of the solution's cleaning ability without damaging the carpet fibers and dyes. Carpets are made of different materials, which means a solution that helps clean one thing can damage another.
In general, carpets will suffer from oily soils, which require alkaline solutions to remove. Some grounds need to be cleaned with more acidic solutions.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) recommends that carpets in residential homes should be cleaned with carpet solutions whose PH is between 8 and 10. Commercial areas, like restaurants, can use cleaning solutions with higher alkalinity, from 12 upwards.
Work with Alpine Cleaners
Professional carpet cleaner identifies the fibers used in your carpet and chooses the best cleaning solutions and methods to prevent carpet damage. Since most carpets, today are synthetic, nylon, or polyester. Professionals avoid solutions with a pH greater than 10 that can cause damage or use eco-friendly, all-natural cleaning solutions. Not all damage is immediately apparent if the wrong PH value is used. Still, it's vital for carpet cleaners to be aware of the different PH levels and how to properly manage them during carpet cleaning.
So, if you need a professional carpet cleaning service in Massachusetts, look no further than Alpine Cleaners. We have over 30 years of experience providing residential and commercial clients comprehensive cleaning services tailored to their needs. We offer our 10-Step Premium and Green Carpet Cleaning Process that only uses healthy, all-natural, soap-free, and green cleaning solutions. We also use truck-mounted hot water extraction to clean your carpets.