There are probably as many different wand stroking techniques as there are technicians using light wands. Let’s review some general principles as well as three basic wand stroking techniques you should be familiar with.
The cleaning tool should be comfortable to the operator. Adjust the handle so the operator can clean in an upright position. You won’t last long in this business if you do not employ good posture in your cleaning strokes. You will reduce operator fatigue if you are in a comfortable upright stance. Normally, start your cleaning in a typical home at the farthest point from where you will exit.
- The amount of solution can be controlled by the trigger valve.
- Always recover the solutions sprayed into the carpet pile as soon and thoroughly as possible.
- Always be cautious of over-wetting.
- Always avoid damage to seams by cleaning parallel to the seam.
- Repair any cracks in cleaning wand opening to avoid snagging carpet fibers.
- Never leave the cleaning wand sitting on the carpet when not in use.
- Avoid nicks and gouges in woodwork by careful control of hoses and cleaning wand at all times.
- Be careful not to damage flooring materials when cleaning next to them.
The most basic wand stroke is the block method. Take an approximately 3 ft. by 4 ft. area and flush the area clean with the solution valve open. Follow this by re-extracting with solution valve off. Be sure to overlap the block area to pick up any over-sprayed solution. Also avoid the sawtooth effect by properly overlapping cleaning strokes.
The chop stroke can be very helpful in heavily soiled areas and in flushing spots out of carpet fibers. Use an up (3 inches) and back (5 inches) chop stroke with solution valve off, go back over the same area and re-extract with a dry only pass to insure proper solution recovery.
Using the same pattern as the block method, the paintbrush stroke is used to eliminate overlap marks. Possible over-wetting and browning in overlap marks can also be controlled by utilizing a paintbrush stroke. An autobody painter begins his painting stroke before spraying paint and stops the paint spray before he ends his painting stroke. The same concept is applied to the cleaning wand in the paintbrush technique. The paintbrush technique will help control problems associated with the extra solution between the wand vacuum opening and the operator that often remains un-extracted.
Steam/Extraction Tools and Attachments
The original carpet tools utilized in the steam extraction system were drag wands. Drag wands served a useful purpose in their time due to limited efficiency of steam/extraction units. They are heavy, cumbersome and difficult to maneuver around furniture and have for the most part been replaced with the light wand.
The development of the light wand has followed the evolution of steam/extraction equipment. Great maneuverability and versatility have made the light wand the most widely utilized tool today.
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New and Used Professional Carpet Cleaning and Restoration Equipment