Carpet Cleaning Methods | Best Pick Reports
Cleaning not only improves the appearance of carpet and upholstery in
the short term, it also extends the life of carpet and upholstery.
Additionally, by removing allergens, carpet cleaning can improve the
health of family members.
Multiple carpet cleaning methods exist, each with its own benefits
and issues. Most systems produce satisfactory results when used by a
conscientious, well-trained technician.
Hot water extraction. Hot water extraction, commonly referred
to as steam cleaning, employs a heavy-duty hot water extraction system,
usually truck-mounted. After a thorough vacuuming to remove dry soil, a
cleaning agent is applied using a portable sprayer and then agitated
into the carpet with a soft brush. After an appropriate amount of time,
the technician will rinse the carpet with a high-pressure jet of clean,
hot water, which immediately gets pulled back into the reservoir along
with the dirt, grease, and oils that were released from the carpet. A
properly steam-cleaned carpet will typically dry within 12 to 24 hours. A
common problem is that stains sometimes reappear when water carrying
the stain wicks back up individual carpet fibers during drying. This can
generally be avoided if the technician applies an anti-wicking powder.
Always use a certified technician with several years of experience.
Encapsulation cleaning. After the initial vacuuming,
encapsulation cleaning solution is applied to the carpet with an
oscillating carpet-brush machine. The cleaning solution bonds to the
soil in the carpet and holds it in tiny crystals that dry very quickly.
The carpet is then vacuumed again, and all the cleaning crystals are
carried away along with the trapped dirt. This method is considered
ideal when carpet has to be dried immediately. However, it is less
effective on carpets with high concentrations of oils or grease.
Dry powder/dry extraction systems. A technician applies a
medium of soft, synthetic particles or microscopic sponges mixed with
solution or cleaning agent. A special machine works the medium into the
carpet fibers. As the particles or sponges pass over and through the
fibers, they collect dirt. The dirt-containing medium is then vacuumed
up. These systems require more technician time than the others and are
therefore more expensive.