Is Your Carpet Cleaner Leaving Shark Teeth in Your Carpet?

I will really try to keep this short, as its impact in the world with all the crazy things going on will not be very much. However, I have been discovering with growing fascination and concern even, more and more carpet cleaners are leaving “shark tooth” patterns in carpet they clean (like a backgammon board). There are no certified cleaning classes anywhere that teach this, and in fact teach against it. I just spent about 2 hours on some carpet cleaner’s forums and was amazed at the high emotions running on either side of this issue!

So simply put, when I clean carpet, any wand marks, swirls from our rotary machine, footprints are brushed/groomed out at the end to try and make the carpet look as close to new as possible. When I start training a new cleaner, he/she will invariably run the wand in a way that will leave “shark teeth”. I then will teach them that they are to run the wand straight forward and then straight back, jog the wand over a few inches, and then repeat. Then after cleaning a section, they will repeat what they just did but without running any water for the dry strokes. That’s it. Simple. Why? Well, glad you asked.

1) This applies a consistent amount of cleaning and drying to all parts of the carpet. When angling the strokes instead (that can cause “shark teeth”) on either the cleaning and/or dry strokes, different parts of the carpet are being treated inconsistently. The only inconsistency I will purposely cause is between cleaning a lightly soiled area (such as under a couch) as compared to a main traffic area, but that is only done by varying how far over the wand is “jogged” over at the end of each back and forth stroke (which is called the “j” stroke by the way).

2) After cleaning a section, if there is still an area that needs more cleaning to be as clean as possible, this will be readily apparent if the wand was used properly. However, when leaving shark teeth in the carpet, it is very difficult to see if traffic areas/spots are actually cleaned as well as possible, since the reverse shading hides just about everything (you may want to read this paragraph again…).

Now, some cleaners will clean the proper way I just described, but then will purposely groom/brush the carpet so as to leave the shark teeth. Now we are getting down to personal preferences. The thing to keep in mind is that marks like the shark teeth that are left in the carpet as it dries will not be going anywhere anytime soon. They may be visible for several weeks or months. If that is cool with the homeowner, then that’s great. If they are NOT cool with it, then the cleaner better groom it evenly. Again, pretty simple. Some people (and you may be one of them), property owners, etc feel like the marks give the carpet a “just cleaned” look and so want them in there. In some circles this has progressed to where the customer will wonder if the carpet was even cleaned if there aren’t any marks!! Wow, what is happening to the world? (Sorry for the drama). Anyway, rest assured that a high majority of carpet cleaners still clean the proper way, and if you have a specific concern about this subject you can just ask them on the phone when scheduling or when they show up to clean. After all, clean carpet with marks or no marks is better than dirty carpet. Have a great day!