I shared some history of the ways our use of cleaning products changed over the last 30 years, and how outside forces influenced those decisions.
Where are we today is in many ways, a full circle. Once again, after all the changes of the last few decades, we are using preconditioning agents with pH ranges from 11-12, a few slightly higher.
The advent of olefin carpet began the move back to higher pH products, and the recent explosion of oil loving polyester and triexta fiber carpet only increased the need to do so.
I have to confess that I smile at how quickly our industry went from fearfulness of using anything over 10 to now almost writing off such products as "weak".
Still, we are also doing things better than 30 years ago. The use of acid rinses, non detergent cleaners, and (with regrets to Tom Forsythe) clear water rinse systems all came about because we are far more interested in having carpet stay clean longer.
We also pay far more attention to our cleaning tools. 30 years ago, the choice was between "straight" ("Hydrahoe" as example....now an unfortunate name..) and "gooseneck wands". The RX20 was a few years old, but no other rotary tools yet existed.
Now we have a number of rotary jet extractors, and revolutionary wands that all had the "greenhorn wand" as its common ancestor. Glides have made carpet cleaning easier for an increasingly aging cleaning population, and we owe a huge debt to Lisa Weber for fighting to keep that product available. It too is a big part of the expansion of wand types used today.
In the end, for all of the outside pressures, the best innovations have come from within the cleaning industry, and in many ways, cleaners just like yourself. Keith Studebaker, as one example, is one such cleaner/inventor to whom we owe a debt we cannot repay.
And while the cleaning product manufactures did the best they could to provide us with detergents that met the carpet/fiber producers' demands, its to their credit that they listened to your needs (ok..often demands)and have created problem solving products the get poorly maintained carpet very clean, while doing their best to keep "approved products available that work as good as can be expected when such are needed.
I'd enjoy your insights on where we are, and how we got here.
One last thought:
During all of these changes and especially when outside forces challenged our ways, it was industry bulletin boards gave voice to independent cleaners. Mikeysboard was and continues to be a place that gives voice to those needs, and introduces new products and new ideas