- A Primer on Today’s Carpet Extractor Wands
- By Mark Baxter — posted 05/10/2012
When selecting a carpet extractor, many cleaning professionals and facility managers investigate the machine itself but spend surprisingly little time scrutinizing the unit’s wand. This can be a serious oversight due to the crucial role the wand plays in the carpet cleaning process.
One of the main reasons wands receive such little attention is because they were all very similar in design for many years. Manufacturers believed improved cleaning performance came from the extractor—not the wand. However, as equipment manufacturers look for new ways to improve machines’ efficiencies and effectiveness, the wand has received considerably more attention with regard to research and development.
Extractor Wand History
The first carpet extractor wands were introduced in the 1960s. Many of these early wands operated with similar technology, allowing the wand to spray and extract water and solution on a carpet, removing soiling in the process. Most of these early wands were made of a heavy metal material, making them difficult and often physically stressful to use. Since then, manufacturers have developed more ergonomic wands, which essentially glide over the carpet ensuring that the wand works with the user and are less taxing to operate.
Selecting an ergonomically designed wand starts with testing the different wands available. A good wand should be light and responsive; a majority of advanced wands are now made of rotational molded plastic. These wands tend to be exceptionally light, aiding the user in the cleaning process.
Jets: Number and Distance Matter
After testing different wands and selecting a system, cleaning professionals still must evaluate the tool’s performance. The number of jets a wand has and the distance of the jets from the carpet’s surface are two considerations that can impact the wand’s performance.
With a single-jet wand, the jet may be too close to the carpet causing the spray to provide limited coverage. In fact, the spray may not even spread from one edge of the wand to the other, creating more work for the carpet cleaning technician. The technician must make sure there is enough overlap so the spray reaches all areas of the carpet, which usually requires multiple strokes.
With a multi-jet wand, the spray from each individual jet must spread enough to intersect with the spray from adjoining jets. If the spray from each jet does not properly intersect or is uneven, areas of the carpet may remain soiled. To rectify this issue, ensure that the pressure from the extractor is high enough for sufficient spray to spread to the wand.
A Turbulent Issue
Airflow is another important issue when it comes to carpet extractor wands. Engineers now realize that air traveling through the wand can influence the overall effectiveness of the extractor. Scientists would describe most wands today as turbulent; airflow bounces off the inside of the wand’s tubing, slowing through the wand, putting a greater burden on the extractor, and limiting carpet cleaning performance. Turbulent airflow has been corrected through the use of laminar technology, which allows air to flow more smoothly through the wand to efficiently remove moisture and soils from the carpet.
Hopefully, facility managers and cleaning professionals now realize wands cannot be overlooked but instead should be viewed as a crucial component in proper carpet extraction. Today’s lighter, ergonomic wands that incorporate advanced airflow technologies can help users achieve optimal carpet cleaning results.
Mark Baxter is an engineer and product manager with U.S. Products, a manufacturer of portable and truckmount carpet cleaning equipment. For more information about U.S. Products, visit www.usproducts.com.