Carpets in residences as well as businesses tend to take a day-to-day beating. Ground-in dirt combined with food particles and perhaps sticky spilled drinks can make for a major mess deep within a carpet. This is not to mention dust mites, bacteria, and mold that may be lurking beneath the surface. When it is time for a thorough cleaning, which method works best and why? Here's how to make an informed decision.
Dry Carpet Cleaning Service Using Foam
There are many companies today that offer a "dry" carpet cleaning method. There are two main types of dry cleaning for carpets; one which uses a very low-moisture foam, and one which uses absorbent granules. In the dry foam method, a cleaning solution is used which is whipped into a light foam, and then is applied to the carpet using rotating brushes. The foam is then extracted out of the carpet with a wet/dry vacuum.
Some benefits of the dry foam method are that there is a minimal amount of moisture, allowing for a short drying time. The cleaning solution is penetrated deep into the carpet by horizontally rotating brushes, making for a thorough cleaning. However, opponents of this method would argue that use of rotating brushes is damaging to the carpet fibers, and shampoo residue can be left behind if the vacuum is not powerful enough.
Dry Carpet Cleaning with Granules
Dry carpet cleaning with use of absorbent granules is a popular choice among those who do not like moisture in the carpet. It is the driest method available. In this type of cleaning, small, spongy granules with a very low percentage of water, detergent, and solvent are applied deep into carpet with rotating brushes. The granules break down dirt, oils, and other particles and absorb them. A vacuum is used to remove all materials from the carpet, leaving it essentially dry immediately.
Benefits of this method include very low moisture, so that there is essentially no drying time. Again, cleaning is thorough, as granules are applied deep into the carpet. Additionally, since there is minimal moisture and cleanser, there is no soapy residue left behind. The downside of this type of cleaning is the claim that this method may not kill dust mites, bacteria, and mold.
Carpet Steam Cleaning Method and Water Extraction
The method of carpet cleaning commonly known as steam cleaning typically uses hot water extraction, not steam. In this process, hot water with carpet shampoo is sprayed deep into the carpet. It is allowed to penetrate, and is then extracted out by a powerful wet vacuum. With many machines, the water coming out can be seen, and usually provides proof of thorough cleaning as it is typically brown. This method is very popular, and is thought to be highly effective.
Benefits of the water extraction method include a deep hot water cleansing, which is thought to kill 99% of all dust mite matter in the carpet. This is also an easy do-it-yourself method, as renting a carpet cleaner of this type is easy and relatively inexpensive.
Cons of the water extraction method include a long drying time, which can be up to 8 hours. Also, many believe that the wet carpet may not dry completely deep down, allowing mold and bacteria to develop. This method is also blamed for soapy residues left by the shampoo, which may attract more dirt later on.
Dry Vapor Steam Cleaning
There is a much less common method of carpet cleaning using steam, called vapor steam extraction. This process uses water heated to 240-260 degrees, creating steam which is injected into the carpet. The steam breaks down foreign particles in the carpet, loosening them to be vacuumed later. There are no chemicals or cleaners used, and the moisture level is very low at about 6%.
However, it is not recommended for extremely dirty carpets, and the steam doesn't tend to work well for tough stains. There is no vacuum extractor attached to a carpet steamer, and so vacuuming must be done after steam cleaning.
There are several ways to properly clean a carpet. Dry carpet cleaning, water extraction, and dry vapor methods of carpet cleaning all have advantages and disadvantages. Doing the proper research will help individuals decide which is right for them.