Best Carpet Cleaning Method
What carpet cleaning method is best? This question continues to be echoed among consumers and the industry. There are a number of carpet cleaning methods that you can choose to help you to better care for your carpet. By cleaning a carpet before it becomes too soiled, the task of keeping it looking new will be much easier. The thorough routine vacuuming of carpet will remove the majority of dry soil. Carpet needs to be cleaned. Cleaning removes the oily, sticky soil that builds up in a carpets pile. Sticky pile attracts tracked in unwanted soil and odors. There is a false myth that cleaning a carpet before it is necessary will result in rapid resoiling. Years ago coconut oil shampoos were used for cleaning carpets. Most left residues that resulted in rapid resoiling. Today, almost all carpet cleaning products leave very little residue.
Most professional carpet cleaning methods have also been improved to reduce rapid resoiling. This improvement in technology came from an advancement made in Upholstery Cleaning. Rapid resoiling was a very big issue for the upholsters and thus they found out how to solve their problem. The fact is, carpet in a typical household should be cleaned every 12 – 18 months. This depends on the number of people and pets living there and the amount of traffic. A good way to tell if a carpet is due for cleaning is by moving a chair or sofa. You will easily be able to compare the trafficked and non trafficked areas.
Professional Carpet Cleaners
There are many do-it-your-self cleaning machines for purchase and rent. It is usually advisable to use a qualified professional carpet cleaner such as those Certified by IICRC – Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Professional rug cleaning services will have the experience to advise you of the best carpet cleaning method for your carpet. This experience also enables them to do a much better job than you can do yourself.
Doing it Yourself
If you decide to rent a steam cleaning machine and do the job yourself, check on different systems before you make a selection. Most of the units available for rent don’t clean well enough and may end up damaging your carpet. Therefore, you should always consider the following:
- A number of rental companies offer cleaning equipment that is similar to what a professional will use. You need equipment that has enough vacuum power to allow the carpet to dry rapidly, preferably in less than 12 hours. It is best to avoid rental units found in many retail, hardware and grocery stores. Many do not have the power to extract the cleaning solution from the carpet fast enough. Over wetting combined with slow drying can be damaging to a carpet.
- Avoid over wetting the carpet. Prolonged dampness combined with traffic can cause a separation of the backing. When a carpet remains wet for an extended period of time, this can lead to mildew growth and bacteria in the carpet backing.
- After cleaning your carpet place fans to increase air movement and speed the drying.
- Today most carpet has stain resistant treatments. Make sure that the carpet cleaning products you purchase are designed for the type of fiber you are cleaning. Failure to properly clean a carpet is action to void a stain resistant or carpet performance warranty.
- Never use cleaning or spotting solutions that contain bleaches as they can mess up the color of the carpet.
- Never use any silicone based treatments on the carpet. Silicone treatments are not needed and not designed for most of the carpet that is manufactured today.
A Comparison of Carpet Cleaning Methods (Systems)
With all cleaning methods a wall to wall carpet needs to be thoroughly vacuumed prior to cleaning. Vacuuming removes any heavy soil such as silicates (the primary constituent of soil). Without this pre-vacuuming, dirt and sand are forced to the backing of the carpet. It is highly recommended that you give your carpet a very thorough vacuuming prior to the arrival of the professional carpet cleaning company. While vacuuming make note of any special areas of concern and point these out to the cleaning crew upon its arrival.
Absorbent Powder / Dry Extraction Cleaning
An absorbent granular material that has been incorporated into a mixture of detergent, solvent and water. The material is brushed into the carpet pile with a machine incorporating a double cylindrical brush. Once the material has dried the carpet is vacuumed to remove the powder and the soil that it has captured. The best use for the absorbent powder cleaning method is the commercial installation. Especially areas where the carpet is cleaned regularly and requires quick drying.
This carpet cleaning method in appearance is similar to the rotary shampoo method. The machine used is essentially the same. A detergent is usually sprayed onto the carpet. A rotating absorbent pad spins and agitates the carpet fibers as the soil is collected into the pad. This method improperly preferred on cut pile carpet can cause untwisting of the face pile. While this method is reasonably quick drying it must be done more often as it is more of a surface cleaning. The best use for this method of cleaning is the commercial installation where they clean regularly and require quick drying.
Cylindrical Foam Shampoo
The cylindrical foam method uses a machine with an air compressor that whips the shampoo solution into heavy foam. The foam is brushed into the carpet with a cylindrical brush. Once the carpet has dried it is vacuumed to remove the shampoo and the particles that have theoretically bonded to it. Not all of the shampoo and soil is actually captured but instead much of it is forced deeper into the pile. While this method is reasonably quick drying it must be done more often as it is more of a surface cleaning. The cylindrical foam carpet cleaning method is best in the commercial installation where they clean regularly and require quick drying.
The Rotary shampoo carpet cleaning method uses chemicals similar to those used with cylindrical foam. The rotary floor machine usually has an attached solution tank for the shampoo solution. The diluted solution is fed through a tub to a “shower-feed” where it is applied to the carpet. While the shampoo is being applied a round brush on the machine is scrubbing the carpet. This shampoo method uses more moisture than the cylindrical brush method. The rotary shampoo method is not recommended for use on cut pile carpet as it can cause untwisting of the face pile.
Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction
With this carpet cleaning method a non-foaming detergent is injected into the carpet fibers and is almost simultaneously vacuumed out of the carpet taking the dirt and soil with it. The extraction method when performed a skilled technician and quality chemicals will leave very little residue to attract to soil. You can use a truck mounted unit or a portable self contained unit as well. In the hands of an unskilled person a carpet can be over-wet during extraction cleaning so be sure to take extra dry passes when cleaning it yourself.
Today, many carpet manufacturers require that carpets be maintained by the hot water extraction carpet cleaning method. If you have concerns with the performance of your carpet it is suggested to have a thorough professional carpet cleaned by the preferred method of the carpet manufacturer, prior to submitting a claim. While you cannot expect a 5 year old carpet to look brand new in traffic areas a Certified Carpet Inspector will be able to draw a fairer conclusion as to a carpets performance if they are inspecting a clean carpet.
Article by The Weinheimer Group a respected, nationally Certified carpet inspection company;
carpet cleaning Ayot St Peter says
This text is invaluable. When can I find out more?
Thank you, we will continue to add more information.
Deanna R. Jones says
I’m trying to find the best way to clean my carpet so that it will look like new. It looks quite dirty, so I’ve tried several methods to remove all of the stains. The methods that I’ve used haven’t worked, so it helps to have a comparison of different cleaning methods. I thought that the statement about how dry extraction cleaning was rather interesting. Why is it that it’s best used by commercial cleaning companies? It seems like absorbent carpet cleaning powders should also be just as affective if it’s used by people in their own homes.
Sorry you misunderstood. I was saying, “The best use for dry extraction cleaning is the “commercial installation” where they clean regularly and require quick drying.” They are cleaning before the carpet gets too dirty and the carpet dries quickly so the business can operate. Methods that use a granular dry method are actually some of the safest methods for an inexperienced person cleaning their own carpet. The problem is, if you don’t know what you are doing or you have carpet that is “quite dirty” you probably aren’t going to get it clean. I personally prefer a professional hot water extraction cleaning. That does not mean the other methods are wrong, unless the warranty on your carpet calls for a specific method of cleaning and in that case you need to take that into consideration.
Penny Lawrence says
This article is extremely helpful and very well written.
Thank you Penny. See by your address you are in the carpet cleaning business so it is nice to hear your compliment.
Gail Edward says
This article is extremely helpful for the cleaning process.
We are pleased that you found it helpful.
Scott King says
Great info for the homeowner. I run a carpet cleaning business and you nailed this. Steam cleaning, in my experience, seems to out perform the hot water extraction and the other “green” methods out there. Thanks.
Warren Clark says
Wow this is a very detailed guide. After about 30 years in the business myself I was just thinking yes, yes, yes I agree with everything. I like how you covered a few of the different major techniques also. When we get customers calling they often think deep steam cleaning is the only option. But as you know yourself it depends on the situation.
I agree with what you said about avoiding the DIY machines you can get from the store. We have fixed up so many botched DIY jobs that I lost count over a decade ago. It’s a nice way to get some easy business. A little unfair an unfortunate with how it comes in though. But, we are here to fix the issues that those machines cause so it’s win-win right.
All the best,
moses muthiga says
Need more information.these is great advise
Gail Brown says
These are not only methods for me. These are actually gift for me from your side. I was going to buy the new carpet but when I read this article and applied this methods on my carpet, my carpet became new
30 year carpet cleaning veteran here– Spin pad/Bonnet, or now called “VLM” (Very Low Moisture) cleaning has come a long way. You can now get the deepest of cleanings, but without the residues, and dirt left behind. It can all be taken out of the carpet fibers thanks to 21st century cleaning technologies. I myself have used every major method and have found that the HWE (Hot Water Extraction) method to be too over wetting, laborious, and not to mention that the higher the temp/pressure of the water which is almost always filled with corrosive detergents can and will damage the customer’s carpet over time as it pushes the ground in dirt deeper into the pile and eventually breaks down the integrity of the yarns and the latex glued backings themselves. It basically turns the customer’s carpet into mud soup. I know this to be a fact because I have pulled up prematurely damaged carpet many times and found literal “piles” of dirt under the secondary backing and padding. No lie. Look at the picture below for PROOF!
Over wetting a carpet can certainly damage it. Unfortunately some so called professionals that are inexperienced, to lazy or to sloppy to take the extra passes required to properly extract. The same is true for some D-I-Y-S cleaners. That said, my personal preference along with that of most carpet manufacturers is hot water extraction performed by a properly trained professional.
Cliff Monson says
You do not mention Rotary Jet Extraction which is the newest form of hot water extraction. Instead of the cleaner using a manual wand which depends on the strength and number of cleaning passes the cleaner is willing to make, Rotary Jet Extractors have a motor that powers the cleaning heads in a rotary motion which cleans in every direction rather than just up and back and it makes hundreds of cleaning passes. Bottom line is that it does a far better job than any other method on the market today. Rotary Jet Extractors are manufactured by Rotovac. A Youtube search will show numerious videos of the Rotovac process in action. Ask around to find out which companies around you use the Rotovac for the best carpet cleaning ever.
Cliff, thank you for your comment. Actually Rotary Jet Extraction an excellent tool used by many when performing hot water extraction cleaning, it not that new. Rotary Jet Extraction first came out about 35 years ago and was introduced by Hydramaster.
carpet cleaners says
Hello Terry! I am new to the carpet cleaning industry. I need all the help I can get to learn more from this business and manage my own. I am learning a lot from you. I did not know that it would be best to try modern methods compared to the old ones. You are truly an expert. I admire you. Thank you for sharing. I hope to see more expert content from you. Have a great day ahead and continue succeeding in your business.
Evan Cash says
“In your article, you share an excellent topic. However, I think carpet cleaning with a professional is always best. But it is not possible to hire a professional for all reasons. So I was searching for some cleaning information to remove a spot from the carpet. After reading your article, I applied “”Cylindrical Foam Shampoo,”” & I was successful in eliminating spots from my carpet. Thanks for sharing this article.