Portable v. Truck Mount for Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning companies rely heavily on their industrial equipment. It may be helpful to understand some of the differences in equipment and how it may affect the price of the cleaning service, how long it takes to complete, and in some cases the end results.

Here is what you need to know about using a portable cleaning machine v. a truck mount for professional cleaning.

1. What is a portable cleaning machine?

There are many different types of portable cleaning machines. Some are small and can cost hundreds of dollars, and some are larger and more powerful and cost upwards of $5,000. Most portable cleaning machines are made up of a pump, vacuum motors, and two separate water tanks, one for clean water + solution and one for the dirty, extracted water + solution. The water tanks can hold up to 15 gallons of water which will need to be emptied and possibly refilled throughout the cleaning process. 

In order to operate a portable machine, the technicians may need to have access to the circuit breaker in your home, condo, or apartment to determine which outlets to use for power. Some portables come with two separate power chords, one for the heater and one for the vacuums. Each power chord needs to be plugged into two separate circuits or it could result in a tripped circuit breaker creating a setback in cleaning progress.

The cleaning technicians will also need access to water in order to fill the freshwater tank. A utility sink or a bathtub are the preferred options. The dirty water is then poured into a toilet – this may seem alarming if you are worried about your toilet being clogged. Rest assured, most reputable cleaning companies use portables that have a filter in the dirty water tank to remove any carpet fuzz and debris.

2. What is a truck mount?

A typical truck mount is a van engine-powered system or a slide-in-powered system. Each consists of a high-level vacuum, two 110-gallon water tanks (one for fresh water, one for wastewater), and hoses that span about 400 feet. Most carpet, upholstery, and hard surface flooring cleaners use these top-of-the-line truck mount systems.

3. Is there a difference in cleaning when using a truck mount versus a portable machine?

While most professional cleaners have truck mounts, portable cleaning machines are still necessary in some cases. Portable machines are typically used only when cleaning an apartment higher than the second floor – in other words, when there is no access from the truck mount to the apartment, or it is simply not feasible to run hoses from the parking log across common areas to reach the home.

A portable cleaning machine while it has all of the components necessary to perform the job, uses a much less powerful motor than a truck mount. This results in cooler water temperatures and lower suction. Will it clean the same? The results may be the same, but getting those results will take approximately twice the amount of time than using a truck mount. Because the water is not as hot as a truck mount and the vacuum suction is not as strong, it takes more cleaning solution, a longer dwell time for the cleaning solution to help break down any dirt or stains, and more cleaning strokes to obtain good results.

4. What is the process for setting up the job with a portable versus a truck mount?

The first step to any professional cleaning is the setup. As you can probably imagine, setting up from a truck mount has much fewer tasks and complications than setting up with a portable.

A portable is typically used for apartments and condos that are multiple stories high. Because of this, parking is a necessity and is not always right outside of the building. In many cases, the equipment must be unloaded at a loading dock, then the truck must be driven to a parking space, sometimes blocks away, and then the technician will need to walk back to the apartment to begin bringing all of the equipment inside. Thankfully, most companies send out two technicians at a time, especially for jobs involving a portable allowing one technician to stay with the very expensive equipment while the other handles the parking.

Next, a portable machine and all of the equipment must have access to an elevator. In many cases, the building will not allow cleaning crews to go through the lobby, therefore they must be given access to a freight elevator. Overall, unloading the equipment, finding parking, and getting up to the apartment or condo can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Conversely, parking is rarely an issue with a truck mount and there is typically direct access to a driveway or directly outside. When using a truck mount system, setup takes roughly 15 minutes. There is no waiting around for access to an elevator, or unloading all of your equipment just in case you may need it so you don’t have to walk blocks away to the van because you forgot something. Overall, it is far less time-consuming and complicated for a truck mount professional cleaning versus a portable professional cleaning.

5. Is there a difference in pricing?

Because a portable job can take a significant amount of time and is a cumbersome process, there is typically a higher charge. Some professional cleaning companies do not offer portable cleanings at all because of how difficult and time-consuming they may be.

Need to Schedule a Cleaning?

If you live in an apartment or condo and you would like to schedule an in-home cleaning, Ayoub Carpet Service does utilize portable cleaning machines as needed. ACS® has been performing professional cleaning for over seventy years and services Northern Virginia, DC, and parts of Maryland. To schedule, please call or text us at: 703-255-6000
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Phone: (703) 255-6000

3856 Dulles S Ct
Chantilly, VA 20151

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Sat, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.


Phone: (703) 533-9233

312-A S Washington St
Falls Church, VA 22046

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Sat, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.