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Here are some interesting facts about Carpet Cleaning
Methods. Although there are five methods used for
cleaning carpets, we at Prestige Carpet & Floor
Care ONLY use Hot Water Extraction. We have found
it to be the best way to completely clean carpets
without leaving dirt attracting residue or excess
moisture in the fibers. It is also the only method
recommended by Shaw Industries—the largest
manufacturer of Carpet and Flooring in the world.
Perhaps after reading this information, you will
find it to be the best method as well.
The five methods are:
- Dry foam
- Bonnet (Dry Cleaning)
- Dry Powder
- Hot Water Extraction (Steam
Let's start with the oldest form of modern carpet
- SHAMPOOING: Shampooing
is the use of a motorized circular brush in which
foaming cleaning products are introduced to the
surface of the carpet and are then scrubbed into
the carpet. This method has very good agitation
and is best suited for low pile commercial carpet
or low cut pile carpet that is highly soiled.
This method, unless it is used with some other
type of carpet cleaning, has no extraction in
the cleaning process but rather relies on vacuuming
after the shampoo dries. Because of it's high
aggressiveness, and the large amounts of cleaning
product residue it leaves, this method is not
recommended for most cut pile residential carpet.
It also can have long drying times associated
- DRY FOAM: This method
is very similar to shampooing in that it relies
on the aggressiveness of the brushing action,
which is usually counter rotating cylindrical
brushes. The difference is that the solution is
whipped into a foam and applied right before the
brushes instead of a liquid as in shampooing.
This does allow for faster drying times. Although
some DRY FOAM machines have a built in vacuum
they still rely on the cleaning product drying
to a flaky residue that the dirt adheres to and
being sucked away by a vacuum cleaner. This method
has the same weaknesses as Shampooing with the
additional one of not being able to deep clean.
- BONNET (Dry Cleaning):
In this type of cleaning sometimes referred to
as 'Dry Cleaning', the cleaning product (sometimes
mixed with carbonated water) is misted onto the
carpet in the form of a spray. Next, a circular
rotating buffer with an absorbent pad attached
is run over the carpet. The soil attaches itself
to the pad and the pad is changed with a clean
one after becoming dirty. This method has the
advantage of drying very quickly
because of the small amount of moisture used.
It generally does a good job of cleaning the topl/3
of the carpet pile that is visible to the eye.
But does little to remove the heavier grit and
sand that damages carpet over time. Because there
is no flushing action or extraction, there is
very little deep cleaning. This method may be
considered as an interim cleaning between more
effective deep cleanings.
- DRY POWDER: With this
method, a dry product (powder or ground corn cobs
that have been soaked with a solvent chemical)
is broadcast over the area to be cleaned. Then
either a circular brush or cylindrical rotating
brush is used to force the dry cleaning product
in contact with the soil. After the carpet dries,
which is surprising fast, a through vacuuming
is required to remove the product and loosened
soil. This method has the fastest drying times
of all carpet cleaning methods and has the advantage
of being able to be walked on almost immediately
after cleaning. Similar to the Bonnet method,
dry powder cleaning does a fairly good job of
cleaning the top 1/3 of the fiber that is visible
if it is not heavily soiled. Again, it does very
little to remove the heavier soils in the base
of the fibers. It's weakness is the extraction
cycle. If not vacuumed with a powerful commercial
vacuum, large amounts of the cleaning product
can remain, and over a period of time build up
and cause considerable problems later on.
- HOT WATER EXTRACTION:
Hot water extraction is sometimes referred to
as 'Steam Cleaning'. Actually this is a misapplied
term, for real steam is too dry and hot to clean
carpet properly. In this method, hot cleaning
solution is sprayed under pressure onto the carpet
and is immediately extracted with a vacuum source.
The dirty solution is collected in a recovery
tank and is usually poured into the sanitary waste
system. The advantage of this system is that is
has the ability to flush out large amounts of
soil and contaminants in carpet. It is the most
preferred method by all of the major fiber producers,
such as Dupont, Monsanto and Allied Signal, as
well as the carpet manufacturers like, Shaw, Mohawk,
World, and Queen. Because this method removes
more contaminants than the other carpet cleaning
methods, hot water extraction is favored by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is the
preferred method of the Institute of Inspection,
Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
It does have the disadvantage of having longer
drying times and the possibility of wick up of
spots if they are not thoroughly extracted. Most
higher quality carpets that have extended appearance
and texture retention warranties require this
type of cleaning every 18 months in order to retain
the warranty coverage.
NOT ALL HOT WATER EXTRACTION MACHINES ARE
There are three basic types of extraction machines.
- Residential/Rental. These machines
are fine for spills and maintenance of lightly
soiled traffic areas. But they lack the power
needed to do the deep cleaning required to get
out the grit that lies deep in your carpet pile
and to maintain carpet manufacturer warranties.
- Professional portables. These
machines are many times more powerful than residential
units. The number and size of vacuum motors and
pumps plus heat exchangers differentiates one
from another in terms of performance. The most
powerful machines may have two power cords to
enable household circuits to cope. A really good
job can be done with these units. if the operator
has excellent training and takes his or her time.
Sometimes portables are the only way the carpets
in some locations can be cleaned.
- Truck mounted units. These
machines have large independent engines or run
off the motor of the cleaning van. They can develop
up to 1000 pounds of pressure (though normally
carpet is cleaned at only 500 lbs. of pressure).
They also heat the water to 180 or more degrees
and have very powerful vacuums. These machines
are expensive but they can leave the carpets drier
in many cases when used properly. Typically, this
type of hot water extraction machine should give
improved results as well as decrease time on the