Reply To: Stain extraction
For about the last 10 years I have been using the Mytee Hot Water Extractor and have excellent results. No repairs. No Problems. Mine is one of the larger ones, but we have other guys that have the smaller versions. The great thing about the different sizes is that the heater, pump, and spraying system are exactly the same only the reservoirs of clean and dirty water are different sizes. That way you get the same results with any of the units. You might want a smaller one for maximum space conservation or a larger one if you are working on a greater quantity of cars per day. Any size of the Mytee line I think you will be very happy with. One note I would like to make is that I do not take my unit out of the van to use it. I have plumbed it so that it drains through the van floor. This makes using it extremely easy. Just plug in the power cord, bring out the supply and vacuum lines, and you are in business. I would recommend at least 25 feet of the supply/vacuum lines. The units normally come with 15 feet. They will usually take the 15 feet in trade if you ask before you buy the unit. The longer length allows the unit to stay in the van. This keeps what you are using more of a trade secret inside the van instead of an advertisement of what your customers may want to buy in the future.
PROS and CONS: The Mytee units do provide excellent results. The results speak for themselves. Mine paid for itself in 4-6 weeks. They are, however, expensive to buy and repair. I would recommend them over the cheaper models if you are doing more than just the occasional cleaning. They will save you a tremendous amount of time and money. The larger units are bulky but more useful when doing more than one car at a time. The smaller units are great space savers but require much more filling and emptying of the reservoirs. The biggest con I can think of is that with this unit and a little bit of cleaning knowledge you will be working night and day if you are not careful. If you remove what others cannot, the results that you get will put you to work at more and more dealerships as the word gets out.
Recommendations: Even though the unit has a heater, start by adding the hottest water you can in the clean reservoir and use the unit’s heater to boost and maintain heat levels. ONLY use water in the clean reservoir. Additives to the water increase scaling and blockages inside the unit’s plumbing. This can lead to higher maintenance costs. I have only used water the entire life of my machine and still have not needed to have it descaled. Those who have added things like a soil release agent, Firewater, or other detergent to the clean reservoir eventually need to have a descaling process done for the entire supply side. I am not opposed to using soil releasing agents or Firewater on the material. I use a Firewater mixture on the seats, carpet, and, in extreme cases ONLY, the headliner and have great success. Firewater is top of the line in my opinion. Excellent results with low sudsing. Many detail locations now have units like this. The clean up departments or detailers seldom have the same rate of success as we do with the same units. I have had managers ask me why I can get stains out that their people cannot when they have the same kind of extraction unit. I tell them the same thing I am going to tell you: It has to be the knowledge level of the tech doing the extraction. Think of extraction like washing clothes in your washing machine. First match the detergent amount with the load, add water, agitate thoroughly, rinse, and dry. If you add extra detergent you don’t get your clothes any cleaner you just get soap residue on them. The only solution to this is to run the clothes thru another rinse cycle. Similarly, I have found that most problem cars that have been extracted and have staining that returns after drying is mainly caused by the incomplete removal of the cleaning agent they have used. A simple extraction of the seats with only hot water until this agent is completely removed yields the greatest results. When applying more water to the surface watch for the sudsing to stop this is THE indicator you are looking for. Soap does not naturally have suds in it. A sudsing agent is added by the manufacturer to let users know how much detergent is in the water they are cleaning with. Firewater is a professional cleaner that has a lower amount of sudsing agent and can be used successfully in mixture ratios up to 100 to 1. That is incredible results from a product that water downed. I typically mix Firewater 31 to 1. Mainly because I have a 32 oz. bottle I apply it with. I use the extractor to apply water to the material needing to be cleaned. If suds appear at this time I simply extract and rewet until the suds cease. If there are no suds, I apply Firewater with the spray bottle and scrub the material to get the stains to release and then extract until the stains are removed and the sudsing ceases. I leave the car open until it has dried completely to avoid the “souring” that occurs when you close up a car when still wet. If stain bleed ups occur I re-extract until they stop. In extreme cases you may have to add a desudsing agent to your DIRTY water reservoir or the suds will trip the cutoff switch inside the reservoir and turn the entire unit off until that reservoir is drained. I now do more simple soap removal than actual stain removal. They usually let the detail departments get all the dirt out and let me get the soap residue that they leave behind. This makes for a much more enjoyable and productive extraction process for me as a tech. One note I still charge the same price for extracting seats whether I am removing stains or removing soap.
A side note: You mentioned using an iron with the red relief. Before your iron dies or one of the wet towels you are using dries out and bad things happen to the material being cleaned, consider a steamer. You will get the same results you do with the iron but you no longer have to keep the towel wet or worry about the material being burnt by the iron. The steamer keeps the towel wet and lets you do other repairs while it is doing all the work. The steamers ($75-$80) are expensive in comparison to the iron if bought new. However, I have bought used steamers from $4-$15. I find these mainly at yard sales. They are normally only used once and then useless to the former owner. I have actually bought units that have never been used in the $4-$15 range as well! I don’t wait for mine unit to burn out, I buy all the units I see for future use in our Franchise. All our techs now use steamers. Some have only used the iron during training at corporate. Also, they have never had to buy a new steamer due to my constant search for used ones. Think about it.