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How to Clean Restaurant Carpet

Of all the carpets a cleaning technician will encounter, the most difficult will most likely be restaurant carpet. Cooking greases that are tracked from the kitchen and airborne grease can literally coat everything in a fine layer of oil, which attracts and holds on to dirt, dust, and particulate soils.


Many restaurants are extremely tight with their carpet cleaning budget. Restaurant owners and managers know that a new group of cleaners are knocking on their door and will give their services away for practically nothing to try and get the job. This leads to a series of cleanings that leaves residue in the carpet, which causes rapid resoiling.



  1. Thoroughly vacuum the area to be cleaned.

  2. Apply an enzyme-based pre-spray, such as Matrix Enzyme Pre-Spray.

  3. Agitate the pre-spray into the carpet using a floor machine equipped with a stiff nylon brush. 
    Allow the product to dwell for 10-20 minutes.

  4. On particularly tough grease spots, apply Matrix Citrus Force ASD.

  5. Use hot water extraction to thoroughly clean the area.

  6. Set up air movers (carpet drying fans) to speed-dry the carpet. 

  7. Once the carpet has been restored by hot water extraction, an encapsulation system can be incorporated on a monthly basis.
    This interim cleaning method can save the budget and keep the carpet in a continuous high state of appearance.


In order to perform the best job, a technician must follow the “cleaning pie” as taught in the IICRC CCT/CCMT classes.

The cleaning pie consists of four parts:
ime, Agitation, Chemical, and Temperature.

Carpet Cleaning Pie


When one part of the pie is decreased, one or more of the others must be increased. For example, if your cleaning solution isn’t hot enough, the lack of heat means you’ll need to use a stronger chemical, allow more dwell time, or apply more agitation to get the same cleaning results.


After a thorough vacuuming, the carpet should be pre-sprayed with a chemical designed for restaurants (usually a high pH and containing enzymes). The pre-spray should be agitated with a brushing system to penetrate the grease and then given adequate dwell time (ideally 10-20 minutes). Thorough hot water extraction containing a good alkaline detergent will suspend and rinse the soil from the carpet.


On carpet that has great amounts of residue, or if the carpet is a printed nylon, it would be a good idea to use an acid rinse, such as Matrix All Fiber Rinse, to neutralize the excess leftover alkalinity from previous cleanings. The acid rinse prevents any type of potential bleeding and will brighten the color in a printed carpet.


The use of air movers will greatly decrease the drying time and allow foot traffic on the carpet sooner. The use of a cotton bonnet will also decrease drying time as well as remove wicking soils.


Be sure to clean the walk-off mats that are used as transition mats from the kitchen tile to the carpet (or by the salad bars) as these tend to be coated with grease that will get tracked back on to the clean carpet.


Once the carpet has been restored by hot water extraction, an encapsulation system can be incorporated on a monthly basis. This interim cleaning method can save the budget and keep the carpet in a continuous high state of appearance.

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  1. Matrix® Enzyme Pre‑Spray
    Matrix® Enzyme Pre‑Spray

    The enzymes in Matrix Enzyme Pre-Spray offer reliable results when you need to cut through grease- and grime-containing protein-based soiling agents. Enzyme Pre-Spray is effective at high temperatures, making it perfect for use with your truck mount or high-heat portable.

    • Cuts through heavy grease and grime
    • Serious cleaning power!
    • pH: 11.3–11.6
    • Not safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at $28.34

  2. Matrix® Citrus Force ASD
    Matrix® Citrus Force ASD

    The LAST additive, spotter, degreaser you'll ever buy. Citrus Force is a revolutionary cleaning additive that doubles, even triples the ordinary pre-spray's soil-dissolving ability. Its powerful blend of citrus solvents makes quick work of the most challenging carpet and upholstery soils.

    • Cleaning additive that strengthens ordinary pre-sprays
    • Powerful citrus solvents
    • pH: 6.0–8.5
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at $63.29

  3. Sanitaire SC684G Tradition™ Upright Vacuum
    Sanitaire SC684G Tradition™ Upright Vacuum

    The SC684G Tradition™ upright is a durable, heavy-duty vacuum that has quickly become the favorite of those who have a lot of commercial areas to clean. Powered by a 7-amp motor, the 684 offers a 12-inch cleaning path and 18-quart shake-out bag to help you make short work of large areas.

    • 12-inch cleaning path; VGII chrome steel brush roll
    • UL listed for commercial use
    • 7-amp motor; 79 dBA
    • 18-quart shake-out bag
    • 50-ft power cord
  4. Cimex Cyclone 19" with Pad Drivers
    Cimex Cyclone 19" with Pad Drivers

    Designed for a fast finish, the 19" Cimex Cyclone vanquishes the competition in a single pass, cleaning 2,500–4,000 square feet of carpet an hour. Job speed is enhanced by direct-to-pad solution administration—no spraying necessary!

    • Cleans 2,500–4,000 square feet of carpet an hour!
    • Direct-to-pad solution administration—no spraying
    • Floating cleaning heads provide effective agitation
    • Reversing cleaning action extends life of brushes and pads
    • The most labor-efficient machine on the market
  5. Unipro Floor Machine, 17 Inch, 1.5 HP
    Unipro Floor Machine, 17 Inch, 1.5 HP

    This 17" floor machine has a 1.5 HP motor and provides a brush speed of 175 RPM. It is perfect for jobs large and small in any commercial environment, including retail, schools, office buildings, and more.

    • 1.5 HP motor, 175 brush RPM
    • 17-inch cleaning path
    • Heavy-duty, 50-foot power cord
    • 3 year warranty
    • Pad driver and clutch plate included
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