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"Recently I rented a Rug Doctor. I was very pleased with the results. We have white berber carpet and have 2 dogs. The carpet was in very bad need of cleaning. Many stains were on the carpet. My girlfriend was at work while I did the carpets, when she arrived home that afternoon, she thought she was looking at new carpet."

–David B, Web Contact

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Cleaning Berber Carpet

Berber carpet is a beautiful accent to any home and has become quite popular in the United States. As with most types of carpet, Berber’s preferred method of cleaning is wet extraction like that which Rug Doctor provides. However, as a tightly woven, looped carpet Berber has a tendency to pass stains and spills deep into its fibers where the looped structure and tight weave can make them difficult to remove. Its structure also tends to make Berber retain moisture and take longer to dry. Despite this, by making only slight changes to the normal cleaning method, you can achieve professional-level results when you do it yourself using Rug Doctor.

Rug Doctor Makes It Easy

Successful cleaning of Berber requires only that you take more deliberate cleaning passes and plan for taking a little extra time to make additional vacuuming passes. The process is quite simple:

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1. Clean with a Rug Doctor machine using only one cleaning pass while depressing the thumb switch to release solution. Move at a pace of about 1 foot per second.
 
2. Make a second pass without pressing the switch so that you are vacuuming-only over the cleaned area. This pass may be more effective when done at a right angle to the first. In both passes be sure to keep the vacuum slot at the front bottom edge of the machine snug against the carpet. Berber’s loops tend to have a bumpy texture that can cause the machine to bounce along the surface. This can make the vacuum less effective so it’s important to make the second pass slowly while keeping the machine from bouncing.

3. Depending on the season, turn up the A/C or heat and use fans to accelerate drying. On dry, warm days you can open windows or doors to circulate air.
Avoid the Temptation to Make More than One Cleaning Pass
Since it’s best to clean using only one pass and since Berber tends to hold liquid more than most carpets, you might imagine that extracting stains is difficult. It’s very tempting to try to take up spills or clean heavily soiled areas like traffic paths with repeated machine passes. However, making multiple passes (except to vacuum only) is unwise because the more liquid you put down, the deeper Berber channels moisture — even into the pad. This is called over-wetting and the results from it can range from being left with a musty smelling carpet from the trapped moisture to a wicking up of stains previously left so deep in the carpet that they come up literally from the backings and pad.

Avoid the Temptation to Make More than One Cleaning Pass

Since it’s best to clean using only one pass and since Berber tends to hold liquid more than most carpets, you might imagine that extracting stains is difficult. It’s very tempting to try to take up spills or clean heavily soiled areas like traffic paths with repeated machine passes. However, making multiple passes (except to vacuum only) is unwise because the more liquid you put down, the deeper Berber channels moisture — even into the pad. This is called over-wetting and the results from it can range from being left with a musty smelling carpet from the trapped moisture to a wicking up of stains previously left so deep in the carpet that they come up literally from the backings and pad.

Pre-Treat Problem Areas and Stains Before Cleaning

The best way to achieve professional results cleaning stained or high-traffic areas on Berber is to use Rug Doctor’s specialty products.

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Rug Doctor’s Spot Remover and Pet Stain Remover can be sprayed on or applied by saturating a towel and transferring the product evenly over the stain to prevent “pour through” of the liquid to the backing. Apply a clean, dry towel to the spot and stand on it with your full weight to soak up as much of the stain as possible. Follow with machine cleaning.

This methods allow the problem areas to be prepared for removal by the machine so that one-pass cleaning can be more effective. In the case of Spot and Stain Removers you need not wait to rent or use a machine to effectively clean with them, they’re excellent just by themselves.

If the machine cannot remove tough stains in one pass despite pre-treatment, allow the carpet to dry completely and re-clean rather than risk over-wetting.

Over-Wetting Seldom Results in Problems, However…

Preventing Musty Odors - Over-wetting Berber can sometimes result in musty odors due to the carpet remaining damp for too long. If over-wetting occurs your first step should be to try to remove as much moisture as possible by repeating vacuum-only passes. It’s a good idea to rinse the dome filter of the machine even if it doesn’t look blocked to maximize the machine’s vacuum airflow. Then allow the carpet to dry thoroughly. If weather permits open windows and doors to increase air circulation or use fans, heat or air conditioning to speed the drying process. Problems are rare so it’s likely you won’t experience them. Rug Doctor machines have extremely powerful 1.9 hp vacuum motors and do an excellent job of removing liquid from carpets. However, if a musty smell develops, allow carpet to completely dry and re-clean using Steam Cleaner and Odor Remover combined in the machine. Odor Remover’s active enzymes will attack and consume the odor at its source. Follow the instructions above to help accelerate drying.

Removing Stains that Wick-Up - Regardless of whether you’re cleaning Berber or the more common cut pile carpet, occasionally if over-wetting occurs, pet accidents you may have been unaware of or spills you once thought gone can reappear due to wick-up. Concentrated, large spills or pet accidents often pass straight through the carpet and settle deep into the backing and pad where they spread out and are especially tough to remove. When carpet is over-wet these old spills will dissolve and wick up the carpet strands as it dries. Because the spill moves to the surface after the machine has cleaned the area, a concentration of the spill will remain on the top of carpet strands once the liquid has evaporated and become a stain.

If stains from wick up are evident once the carpet has completely dried, there are two approaches you can take to cleaning. For a small area stain, spot treat using Stain Remover. This can be done with or without a follow up machine cleaning. For larger areas you can choose to re-clean just using Steam Cleaner but make your cleaning passes faster than normal, about 1½ to 2 feet per second, and use addition vacuuming-only passes.

Getting that Professional-Level Clean

Remember, Berber carpet just takes a bit more time but just like any other carpet it can be cleaned safely and very well using Rug Doctor.

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