Dry powder carpet cleaning is a low moisture carpet cleaning method designed to clean carpets and get them dry and back to use in minutes. It involves the use of a semi moist powder applied to the carpet and then agitated with a machine with counter rotating nylon brushes. The agitated powder breaks down and absorbs the soil much like millions of tiny little sponges would do. It is then extracted from the carpet, leaving it just barely damp. Most carpet will be dry and ready for use in just a few minutes. There are many different manufacturers of dry powder cleaners but the most recognized is Host, a product of Racine Industries. The company manufactures powder and a variety of machines used to clean with it.
The main advantage of the Host system is that it will allow you to get the carpet back in use quickly. This makes it ideal for places like airports or casinos that can not afford to have any downtime.
The Cleaning Process
The first step in the process is a thorough vacuuming of the carpet to remove dry soil. If your carpet cleaner is using a Host machine such as the Host Freestyle or Host Liberator, they will be able to reach deep into the carpet to remove a great deal of dry soil. These machines feature a counter rotating brush design designed to separate and reach deep into the carpet pile. Between the two brushes of the machine will be a vacuum slot connected to the attached vacuum pod. As the brushes pull up the dry soil, it is vacuumed away.It is perhaps one of the most effective dry vacuuming system of any method. It is similar to pile lifting machines that steam cleaners used to use. Pile lifters are seldom used by steam cleaners today because of the time and effort involved.
The next step depends on the severity of the soil on the carpet. If the carpet is very soiled, the cleaner will apply a pre-treatment. In the Host system this is typically a pre-conditioner called Prep. Prep is a traffic lane cleaning booster and most residential carpets will require it or at least benefit from its use. Other methods may also use cleaning boosters, normally an encapsulating chemical that is designed to crystalize upon drying for easier removal. The pre-treatment should be allowed to dwell for several minutes.
After giving the pre-treatment sufficient time to work, a semi moist powder is applied to the carpet. The powder is moistened with a mild detergent and solvent so lightly soiled carpets can be cleaned with the powder by itself and no additional chemical. The powder is agitated with the cylindrical brush machine in several directions. The machine will work the powder through the pile of the carpet and by running the machine in several directions, the cleaner can reach all sides of the fibers.
If the carpet cleaner is using a machine like the Host machine, they will now flip a switch and immediately extract the powder from the carpet. If they are using a machine with catch trays, they will attach them and use them to trap the powder as the brushes pull it up. Otherwise, the carpet cleaner will allow the powder to fully dry before vacuuming it from the carpet with a separate vacuum cleaner.
The carpet is now dry and ready for immediate use. If needed, the technician can go back and spot clean any difficult areas with other spotting solutions.
Finding A Local Dry Powder Carpet Cleaner
Simply do a search for your city and the term “dry powder carpet cleaning”. This should result in a local company. Give it a try.
Dry Powder Machines
In addition to the powder, the Host company also produces several machines that can be used to agitate and even extract the product. The base, entry level machine is the Host Reliant which consists of a pair of counter rotating brushes. With this machine, the cleaning technician will vacuum the carpet with a separate vacuum, apply the powder and then agitate it in multiple directions with the machine. They will then wait for it do dry and extract the powder with their vacuum. The next step up is the Host Freestyle machine which incorporates a vacuum pod to the Reliant design. This makes it a standalone machine capable of pre-vacuuming, cleaning and extraction. The machine features a rotating handle that allows the machine to reach under some furniture and in tight areas. This makes it suitable for residential work. Last in the lineup is the Host Liberator. This machine is larger and does not bend to reach under furniture. It is capable of cleaning larger areas quickly and is therefore suitable for commercial applications. In the picture above, the Host Liberator is pictured on the left with the Host Freestyle on the right. The Reliant is the same as the Freestyle, minus the vacuum pod.
The other style of machine commonly used is a stainless steel counter rotating brush machine. The concept is similar to the one used by Host but it does not feature an attached vacuum. Instead, it features removable trays that catch the powder and debris as the brushes pull it up. When the operator wants to agitate the powder, they leave the trays off and block off the opening. When they want to extract, they simply attach the trays. In this picture, you can see the base machine on the right and the removable collection trays next to it.
All of the machines use a variety of different brushes designed for different styles of carpet. Soft brushes for delicate items like area rugs, normal brushes for residential carpets, stiff brushes for commercial carpets and even extra stiff brushes for using the machine to clean hard surfaces like tile. The Host machine line has the most extensive selection of brushes allowing the user to dial in just the right amount of agitation.
Benefits Of Dry Powder Carpet Cleaning
The benefit to using this type of system is obviously the fact that the carpet dries extremely quickly. Most carpets will be dry in just a few minutes. That doesn’t mean 60 minutes or 30 minutes, it means like 5 minutes. That makes it pretty much the fastest drying carpet cleaning method on the market.
Another great advantage is that this method, with the cylindrical brushes does a great job at pet hair removal. It can pull up the hair, dirt and dander from deep into the carpet, places that other methods can not reach.
Finally, it has been proven that this method has a drastic effect on dust mite populations. It reduces dust mite populations by 78 percent and dust mite allergen by 75 percent.
Drawbacks Of Dry Powder Carpet Cleaning
The chief drawback is that the system has limited soil removal ability. Removing the soil that is present in the average residential home requires gallons of water. The average steam cleaner would use about 50 gallons to clean a five room house. Expecting a few pounds of dry powder to do the same job is not realistic. This is not a problem with commercial applications that are cleaned often however.
Another drawback that I have found is that on very light, very dense carpet, the powder can leave a yellowish tinge. This is caused by the incomplete removal of the powder which can be difficult on some carpets. It is not permanent but can be a nuisance.
A Little History
The Host Dry Powder Carpet Cleaning method is a unique way to clean carpet with minimal moisture. Although it has been around since 1956, many people have never heard of it. It’s origin dates all the way back to the 1930s when a powder was developed to clean rugs. The powder proved troublesome because of its tendency to form dust clouds and the new formula containing sponges, detergent and a solvent replaced it in the fifties. The new formula could be agitated by machine, making it easier to clean large areas. The Host company has continued to refine the product over the years and although there are now many competing products, they remain the gold standard.