This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from an Ed Sez article published in the April-May 1974 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!
As long as the world is made up of people, I won’t have to go to a Broadway show for amusement. Even though I’m snowed with work that should have been out last week, I still try to skim through the many publications that we receive each week. I’m sure others find more than sufficient items in our presentation to be able to criticize to their hearts’ content. We have tried to dispense some factual information, keep our customers advised of what others are doing, and add enough of our own family information to prevent having to write to the kinfolk as often. Now that I have publicly confessed that we are not perfect, I’ll share one of my latest chuckles at some of the actors in today’s World Comedy.
The setting is Jan.-Feb. issue of CM (Cleaning Management), a bi-monthly publication of the American Institute of Maintenance. Allan Ames, their Technical Editor reported on the better-known methods of cleaning carpets. He referred to Steam Cleaning and its accepted virtues. There was very little to add to what is now an accepted fact. Steam Cleaning is a preferred method of cleaning some carpets. The March-April issue of the magazine contained a Letter to the Editor by Tom Fisher, Marketing Manager of ADVANCE FLOOR MACHINE CO. His letter pretty well takes Mr. Ames to task for his earlier report and pans STEAM CLEANING and its so-called shrinking problem, and Mr. Ames for even suggesting it was an excellent method.
Now since Advance is an honorable name in the floor machine sales, and probably has, and will have, major emphasis on Scrubbers, you can understand his displeasure of a Technical Editor saying anything else but the scrubber was an approved method. The item that amuses me, however, is that in the SAME issue under the magazine’s Products on Parade section they have a picture and write up about the LIQUIDATOR, manufactured by Advance Floor Machine Company. The propaganda says the Liquidator is a carpet RINSER. They don’t mention Steam Cleaner at all. They describe the function of the Liquidator being connected with a 50-foot hose to the HOT water or cold water tap, and the water is evenly inserted into the carpet fibers by four jet spray nozzles. The dirty water is then picked up by one of 3 Hydro Vacs.
Recently a young and aggressive salesman from one of the biggest and best-known chemical houses called upon me to introduce their NEW shampoo which was also a STAIN REPELLENT. He left a gallon which in big letters said it was a SOIL RETARDENT. I questioned the difference and he admitted he didn’t know there was any difference.
Two weeks later, he returned with his Regional Supervisor to explain it. I again asked the question and received a blank stare for an answer. The sales pitch quickly changed to a NEW super spot and stain removal. You simply aerospray it on the spot and then apply water which changes it to a shampoo, and then we go ahead and agitate prior to cleaning. It’s great. I questioned him if our unit would cause the same reaction with its hot water and pressurized force. He didn’t know for sure, but still claimed it was designed for this use. I then asked him if he had ever SEEN a carpet being Steam Cleaned. He had to admit he hadn’t. That ended the conversation. A Regional Manager claiming he had the magic answer for our pre-spotting, that had never even seen ANY steamer in action. Ridiculous!
The tragedy of today’s manufacturers & suppliers is their reluctance in accepting the fact that the ability to clean carpets comes from good equipment, good chemicals, and superior knowledge of the techniques, and the ability to use them at the proper time and under the proper conditions. In their drive to SELL their product, they concentrate on tearing the other fellow down, rather than helping their customer to better and properly use their equipment.
Many of the pioneers in Hot water extraction methods are very small and do not have the financial ability or staff to do this. My hat is off to them, however, because if it hadn’t been for their entry into the field, the consumer would still be without the CHOICE of the methods. The Giants in the field, however, who waited on the sidelines until entering the Steam Cleaning field was forced on them, owe the industry something besides hate letters and snide comments. “Steam” cleaning is a proven method and will be with us for some time. Hopefully, you will remember the few companies who dared to put their life savings on the line to be different and bring you a new concept in fiber cleaning and give them your support. They might not have the fancy name or distributor network of the conservative Giants, but they are the reason you are enjoying more on-location cleaning than ever in the history of carpets. At the same time, it is hoped that some of the fanatic “steam” cleaning equipment suppliers will also recognize that many carpets require a method other than “steam”.
I personally do not advocate your being a shampooer, nor do I believe you should be a “steam” cleaner. I hope that each of you will strive to be a PROFESSIONAL carpet cleaner, offering the method needed, with the equipment and chemicals needed, to do the best job possible, based 100% on the carpet’s NEEDS.
~ Ed York (1974)
Below is the original article.