Roby Harris

Roby Harris III
President, CFI

“KEEP IT SIMPLE STUIPD!”…One of the best statements from an instructor I ever heard. I have taken numerous cleaning classes throughout the years, and nothing has stayed in my stream of conscience as permanently as that statement.

Why you may be asking? Because that statement “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUIPD” is so true!

Not all, but many carpet cleaners make their jobs harder by overlooking the obvious. Sometimes you don’t have to use a truck mounted unit to get the job done. As a cleaner myself, I have always said, “Bigger is better.” When it comes to my truck mounts, my first unit was a HydraMaster Aqua Cat…and now I own one of the bigger truck mounted units, a Sapphire Scientific Pro 1200 se. I can clean carpets at any distance, from 50’ away, or up to 300’ with no problems. But still, I fall into the same trap. What’s the trap you may be asking? Ego. Carpet cleaners are a stubborn breed – we usually don’t want to try other methods of cleaning such as a low moisture cleaning method. Our ego tells us that using a low moisture method doesn’t really clean the carpet. However, the proof is in the results.

Jim and Mark Morris, CFI’s Central Coast Chapter Director and Junior Director, held their first chapter meeting last June at the Seascape Golf Club. They provided the members with a hands-on low moisture encapsulation cleaning class. Mark and Jim did a great job teaching the class! Mark gave an informative lesson on the tools, equipment, and encapsulation cleaning products needed to clean carpet efficiently using low moisture methods. Mark also gave CFI members a great history lesson on the origins of the Cimex Rotary Scrubber, and how the British Royal Navy uses this tool to clean the decks of their ships. This tool is the “King” of low moisture cleaning tools in order to do the appropriate rate of cleaning per hour – up to 3000 square feet an hour! With the weight of the tool and the ease of operation, a skilled operator can blaze a trail of commercial carpet in hours!

What is Encapsulation Cleaning? When applied properly, encapsulation products that contain crystallization polymers are sprayed onto the carpet, attracted to the soil, surround the soils, and lift them away from the carpet fibers. Then the encapsulated soils dry and crystalize into a residue that is vacuumed away after 15-30 minutes.

Encapsulation cleaning has been around our industry for years, but what is the new technology? In the early 1970’s cleaning with rotary machines and cotton bonnets led the cleaning industry in the residential market. Cleaning agents derived from coconut oil soaps were used and they would leave a sticky residue that attracted soil. This led to the misconception that having your carpets professionally cleaned would make your carpets get dirty faster!

When the chemistry standards changed to utilizing synthetic detergents, the whole cleaning game changed. With the new generation of crystallization polymers used in encapsulation cleaning agents, carpets are getting cleaner – and staying cleaner longer. And it is often more cost effective to use a low moisture encapsulation process…one technician can quickly do thousands of square feet of carpet in a commercial setting with just a few ounces of encapsulate solution per gallon of water.

Low moisture cleaning methods have always been popular in the carpet cleaning industry. From the new craze of encapsulation cleaning to one of the oldest products on the market still being used today – an absorbent compound cleaning product such as Host. Host is truly a “dry-cleaning” absorbent compound that is derived from corn husks. A solvent is added to the cleaning media to help break down oily soils for efficient cleaning. Ellen Amirkhan of Oriental Rug Cleaning in Dallas Texas, and Eloy Flores of Max’s Carpet Care, in Southern California, both members of CFI, use absorbent compound cleaning products in special situations. When it comes to rugs that can’t be cleaned with water, rugs with natural backing construction, or the problematic Wilton woven (Wilton’s have four added borders all going in different direction, and often when wet-cleaned the borders will shrink and distort) the use of “dry” absorbent compound cleaning processes are the answer for a safe and effective cleaning. One of the big advantages of using this method when cleaning problematic rugs is technician control. Rugs that are prone to dye migration can be safely cleaned giving the professional cleaning technician peace of mind and a good, safe, efficient cleaning.

When it comes to the tools we use for low moisture cleaning, it’s a personal choice. For residential cleaning we can use a rotary machine or a counter rotating brush (CRB) tool, or an “OP”. No, not Ocean Pacific the former clothing line of the cool kids of the 1980’s! OP stands for “oscillating pad” systems. Oscillating pad machines simultaneously apply a specialty cleaning solution while the oscillating head(s) agitates, releasing the soils, and the absorbent pads absorb and capture the soils in one quick pass. OP machines are manufactured by many different companies, some made better than others. As business owners we must do our research and pick the tools that are a good fit for our cleaning practices and business operations – and if we have employees, we need tools that make the job productive, efficient…and simple!

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my Cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Your President Roby Harris,
Roby Harris III
President, CFI
IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector
IICRC Master Textile Cleaner
Certified Master Rug Cleaner

The Carpet and FabriCare Institute