The Best Way to Clean Carpet
The Best Way to Clean Carpet
What’s the best way to clean carpet? This should be one of the first questions to come to mind when choosing the best carpet cleaning company for your home or business. There are lots of options, although only two or three ever seem to make it into the phone directory.
There are four elements that make carpet cleaning possible, and any of the four elements can be adjusted to compensate for a lack or lesser amount of one or more other elements. You can remember this formula with the acronym CHAT.
Nearly every organic element can be called a chemical, soap is a chemical product. By using better, stronger, or a variety of chemicals, cleaning can take place
By the addition of heat, up to 180 degrees, you can often improve the chemical reaction of cleaning solutions and assist in the removal of difficult soils like oil and grease.
By scrubbing the fibers, soil is loosened and the cleaning solution can reach the entire fiber
Time or dwell time, is important for the cleaning solutions to work. By allowing chemicals time to work, effort and agitation can be reduced.
What’s The Most Important Step You Can Take Towards
Getting Your Best Carpet Cleaning Ever?
The most important step in any carpet cleaning job is a thorough pre-vacuuming. Up to 95% of the soil in your carpet is loose soil, and unless it is properly vacuumed out, when moisture is added, it will create a mass of mud and sticky fibers from dust and dander. It won’t matter what the best way to clean carpet is without a great vacuuming first. It’s critical to vacuum until very little soil comes up in the vacuuming process.
Lets look at the basic varieties of carpet cleaning first.
- Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction (HWE)
- Dry Chemical Cleaning
- Shampoo Cleaning
- Encapsulation Cleaning
- Pad or Bonnet Cleaning
- Orbital Pad or Low Moisture Cleaning
1) Steam Cleaning,
(Also called “Hot Water Extraction” or HWE )
This is a method that can be performed with either a large gasoline engine powered “truckmount” or a portable extractor with two or more electric vacuum motors for suction. Amazingly, some portable extractors have the same amount of water pressure and vacuum lift as the large gasoline powered units.
When looking in the phone book, this is the most common method of carpet cleaning available, but is it the best way to clean carpet for your situation?
Benefits: Large volumes of water are used to flush out dirt and debris. Relatively easy to train their staff on the use of equipment, but a better job can be expected from technicians with several years of experience or certifications.
Drawbacks: large Volumes of water can lead to over-wet carpets that become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria, all of which can create foul odors that linger for days.
Properly steam cleaned carpets will be dry to the touch within 24 hours at normal room temperatures. You can expect longer than normal drying times for cold rooms below about 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unless carpets have been pre-vacuumed, soils may turn into mud and stains may reappear. Wet carpets may also draw stains from the backing to the carpet fibers in a process called “wicking”. You can remedy this by finding an experienced cleaner with an iron clad money-back guarantee.
2) Dry Chemical Cleaning,
A quick drying carbonated chemical is applied to the carpet and then vacuumed up. The most well known for this process is the “Chem-Dry” franchise. Some cleaners in the business refer to this method as “Chem-Stick” because an inexperienced technician can leave your carpets feeling sticky and crunchy when the carpets are dry. An experienced Dry Chemical technician though can provide superior results equivalent to the best steam cleaning technicians.
3) Shampoo Cleaning
Although sometimes considered old school, shampooing carpets is a method that when used correctly works very well. Once again, shampooing is a process that is best done by a professional.
Residues left behind by cheap or inferior cleaning solutions combined with poor quality workmanship can cause rapid re-soiling of your carpets and take years off its useful life.
If your carpet has been shampooed and feels soapy, sticky, or gets dirty within a week or two of cleaning, you might want to call in a Hot Water Extraction Company to rinse your carpet of the soap residue. You may need several rinses over a few months to completely remove the soap and shampoos.
These reasons make shampooing carpets one of my least favorite methods.
4) Encapsulation Cleaning
New to the market in the last 8-10 years is encapsulation cleaning. A non-toxic polymer product is used in this process. Encapsulation cleaning is an exciting area, especially for large commercial spaces or in homes requiring maintenance between major cleanings.
The polymer solution is sprayed on the carpet, scrubbed into the fibers, and as the polymer product dries, it grabs hold of dirt while releasing itself from the carpet fibers in a process that resembles chemical crystallization. Some cleaners will offer this service as a crystallization cleaning.
5) Pad or Bonnet Cleaning.
This is where a machine spins a cotton or synthetic pad at high speed, typically 300 to 1200 revolutions per minute to scrub the carpets with a cleaning solution. This method dries very quickly in most cases. Bonnet cleaning is most widely used in commercial settings like hospitals and large office settings.
The high speed spin action of the machines can be very damaging to many plush carpets designed for home use, and so may void your carpets warranty. In large office settings on commercial loop carpeting, this is a very effective way to clean carpets
6) Orbital Pad System or Low Moisture Cleaning
This is probably the least recognized methods on the market, but one of the best for your carpets. In heavily soiled rooms or restaurants, and when combined as a two part cleaning system with Hot Water Extraction, the results are unparalleled. Using these two methods together, a portable carpet cleaning machine can easily outperform many truck mounted units used as the sole cleaning method.
This is different from bonnet cleaning because the pad rotates at a much slower pace, only about 60 to 100 revolutions per minute, while providing thousands of agitating movement at the same time. The result is less wear and tear on the carpet fibers, and exceptional cleaning results.
Orbital Pad Systems are the next generation of cleaning. They provide high agitation and minimal wear on the carpet, and dry times are typically among the fastest in the carpet cleaning industry.
Superior results and minimal use of chemicals and water make Orbital Pad System Cleaning one the most popular cleaning methods with environmentally conscious consumers. Many low moisture carpet cleaners use almost exclusively green or environmentally friendly organic and non-toxic cleaners, making this a favorite among some consumers in our chemically contaminated communities.
7) Absorbent Cleaning
This method is slowly disappearing, and many times you can find the old machines used for this method in junk and second hand stores. The most common brand under which this method was used was the “HOST” carpet cleaning system.
The basics of the system are that an absorbent material like sawdust is impregnated with a solvent based cleaning solution, scrubbed into the carpet, where the solvent dissolves the dirt, and then the sawdust absorbs the liquefied soils so that both can then be vacuumed up and thrown away.
This type of cleaning, by far, relies heavily on operator know-how to get a superior job. In my opinion, this is the least favorable method for cleaning your carpets.
In summary, the best methods for carpet cleaning are :
- Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction (HWE),
- Low Moisture or Orbital Pad method
- Dry Chemical Cleaning, and
- Encapsulation Cleaning.
If you look for experienced and qualified cleaners using any or several of these methods, you should be able to get a superior cleaning that will keep your carpets looking cleaner and add years to the life of your carpets.
Click The Best Way to Clean Carpet to find out how to find the best cleaner in your area.