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Carpet Cleaning

When I got the Roadmaster it was painfully apparent that something would have to be done about the carpeting. There had been two previous owners and neither were too concerned about the state of the carpets. The carpeting was covered with thin vinyl floor mats that moved easily, and really just allowed water to run off and soak through to the underpad. The end result was 16 years worth of ground-in dirt and salt stains. I really couldn’t leave it like this.

If you’ll recall, back in July, I undertook the removal of the seats and interior trim in order to get the carpeting out for cleaning and get a rust coating on the floor. Pretty much all of that went horribly awry but I have found some good things to say about some of the methods that I used for cleaning.

I started out thinking that my Bissell Little Green Deep Cleaner would make short work of my carpet problems. While I’ve used my Little Green before with great success, that wasn’t entirely true in this case. I vacuumed the carpet thoroughly with a ShopVac to get all of the leaves, loose dirt, and the inevitable french fries collected up. Needless to say, the carpet still didn’t look much better so I filled the Little Green cleaning reservoir with water and cleaning solution, sprayed down the area I opted to start in and moved on to another task. I came back a few minutes later and proceeded to suction out all of the water and, I hoped, the dirt as well. The collection tank in the Little Green was almost black. It looked as though I had mixed up a shovelful of topsoil in the tank before starting. This was good, I knew I’d be done in no time! I moved on and did the rest of the carpet and put it out in the sun to dry. A short time later I investigated my work and saw little improvement. That wasn’t really unexpected so I repeated the process, and I repeated the process, and I repeated the process again. Each time the reservoir was coming out a thick brown or black in colour with all of the sludge that was being drawn out of the carpet, but it certainly didn’t look any cleaner.

Eventually, I ran out of Little Green cleaner and since I was so reluctant to keep buying it for what appeared to be a never-ending task, I wanted some cheaper options. To the Internet!! Online I discovered a common alternative to the cleaning solutions required by deep cleaners. Laundry detergent. A simple mix of a small amount of Tide along with some Vinegar (to prevent it from foaming up like a washing machine in a 60’s sitcom) is all that was required to let me keep on cleaning. This new concoction didn’t have any greater impact than what I had been using, but it wasn’t any worse either. I continued on with my Tide-mix, interspersing my attempts with scrubbing the carpet with a foaming automotive carpet cleaner, as well as another product designed to remove rust stains from fabrics. After a while I switched to using nothing more than clear water in the Little Green to prevent myself from getting more detergent into my carpet than I could ever hope to get out. Throughout the entire process (27 cleaning attempts over many days) the Little Green reservoir continued to fill with water that was well discoloured by what was coming out of my carpet. But the carpet still didn’t look new. As unlikely as it seems, I harboured some hope that I would be able to restore the carpet to a nearly new looking state.

After a while, I discovered a new product that allowed me to grant my Little Green a much deserved rest. Resolve Deep Cleaner. Resolve Deep Clean is a moist powder that gets sprinkled on the carpet and then worked in with a brush. After a brief period of time, during which Resolve binds to the dirt deep in the fibres, it can be vacuumed out again taking the dirt with it. I’m here to tell you…I think this stuff is Magic! Bear in mind that my carpeting is filthy. I’ve cleaned it 27 times using various methods, I’m now resigned to the fact that it will not come as clean as I want, and I’m planning on replacing it next year now anyway. With all of that said, while Resolve didn’t give me the clean I was looking for, that’s really only due to my unreasonable expectations. Resolve provided amazing results on some of the areas that were showing little to no improvement from my various water-based methods. The door sills where shoes drip and drop the most gunk get mighty messy. You can see in the attached picture that Resolve worked wonders there. The area inside the red box was cleaned with Resolve while the area slightly to the right of it was subjected only to the previous 27 cleaning attempts. The line between the previously cleaned and newly cleaned areas is clearly visible.

My interior project got derailed for a number of reasons I’ve no need to go into here, and never really got back on track in time to get the wagon put away for winter. With the Roadmaster in the driveway I’ve been parking my Pontiac on the street at night which my local municipality allows during summer months. That luxury will disappear as of midnight October 31st. This means that the wagon has to be completely reassembled or at least a sufficient amount of my interior has to be placed inside the wagon to allow me to get it into the garage. Because of this, I’ve only recently managed to get working on my interior again. Rest assured that a good portion of my interior is now back in place and anything that could wait until spring is labeled and piled neatly in the Roadmaster’s cargo area. As this post has been about my carpet adventures, I can hardly depart without some final photos of the carpeting now that it’s reinstalled. Obviously, it’s not perfect but it does look a great deal better than it did and I had a considerable amount of fun working on it. When it comes right down to it, working on a car is supposed to be fun.

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