A True VLM Story
From Struggle to Triumph: A True VLM Journey
The following is a true VLM Story: John Geurkink is vastly experienced in Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning (VLM) and is a long-time friend. He founded Trinity Renewal Systems, located near Lexington, KY.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, internet forums regarding carpet cleaning were getting underway. Many of the discussions highly promoted Hot Water Extraction (HWE), AKA “Steam Cleaning.”
Many of us who employed low moisture carpet cleaning methods were reluctant to join in most of the discussions. When we did, we were regarded as “Hacks.” Most forum participants maintained we could never come close to getting a carpet as clean as they could since they used hot water extraction.
There was much bullying and fun made of low moisture cleaners.
“Big John,” as I call him, was much braver than most, including myself. John is a giant man wearing size 16 shoes; I also call him “Big Foot.” Unlike many VLM cleaners, John never hesitated to wade into any discussion to express his opinions.
Many scoffed at, ridiculed, and lampooned him along with his very low moisture, oscillating pad (OP) cleaning machine. Big John is a good-natured fellow, so he would normally let it roll off his back. However, he refused to back down in any discussion when he thought he was right.
The Beginning of Attitude Changes
One day John called to let me know he was going to a “get-together” of some Hot Water Extraction cleaners in Indiana. He asked if I would like to tag along. I was delighted at the opportunity and went with him.
At the “get-together,” several HWE cleaners had big truckmounts. In advance, they laid out a rather large, nasty, filthy carpet to clean. It was to be cleaned, demonstrating what they could achieve.
Each cleaner was assigned a section of carpet to clean. Most did an excellent job of making that “rat-nasty” carpet look new again. John was the last cleaner to do a demonstration.
He unloaded his little blue OP machine from the back of his truck and carried it in one hand. The onlookers smiled and giggled amongst themselves at the sight. However, Big John made his assigned demo area look as good as the guys with the big truckmounts.
John laid down a clean, bright, white cotton cleaning pad to finish up and placed his little blue machine on top. He then proceeded to reclean an area previously cleaned by one of the truckmount guys. He cleaned a few feet before stopping and turning over the cotton pad for everyone to see.
It was no longer white. It was now very dark and nearly black with unremoved soil!
Suddenly, the smiling and giggling from the HWE cleaners ceased. All eyes were on Big John as he presented them with a question.
He said, “Now, where did that dirt come from?” “Did it come from the top of the carpet or the bottom of the carpet?”
There was complete silence. You could have heard a pin drop. No one dared answer!
The HWE cleaners were now faced with a dilemma. They had always claimed that John’s OP method could only clean the top of a carpet and not reach down the fibers to the bottom.
If they said, “It came from the top,” they would be admitting that John’s machine had removed the dirt from the top fibers of the carpet that their machines missed.
If they said, “It came from the bottom,” they would be admitting that John’s machine had removed the dirt from the bottom of the carpet, which their truckmounts missed.
Big John gained a lot of respect from the other cleaners that day. So did very low moisture carpet cleaning from those that were present. After that day, some of those guys began to employ low-moisture carpet cleaning in their own companies!
No, they didn’t stop using their truckmounts. But after what they witnessed, they realized Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning could significantly impact and have a role in cleaning dirty carpets.
Steve Smith, founder of VacAway Products