What is the absolute best way to clean the carpet? Carpet manufacturers are almost unanimous. The best way is to use hot-water extraction, also called steam cleaning. Shaw Industries, for example, which is the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends only hot-water extraction.
It is also recommended that you use truck-mount units since portable machines don’t have as much suction power and heat. Hot-water extraction is not the only way, though. You can dry-clean your carpet as well. A discussion of both methods follows.
Dry Cleaning Carpet
There are several variations of dry cleaning. None of these, by the way, involves rinsing your carpet when finished. One method uses a foam that dries in your carpet and then is vacuumed up. It is doubtful that all the residue can be extracted.
Another method uses a cotton bonnet that spins. This is meant to absorb the dirt in your carpet. There are some questions as to how deeply this method can clean your carpet.
Finally, there’s a dry-cleaning compound that looks like wet sawdust. This is brushed into your carpet, where the dirt adheres to it. When it’s dry, it is vacuumed out.
Given their doubtful effectiveness, why are these methods used? The primary reason may be that the equipment costs less. In fact, it is thousands of dollars less than hot-water extraction equipment.
Steam Cleaning Carpet
It is actually hot-water extraction, but it steams a lot. It is also the best way to clean the carpet. A good truck-mount hot-water extraction unit forces very hot water into the carpet under high pressure and then sucks it (and the dirt) out thoroughly. “Steam cleaning,” as it is commonly called, has the following advantages:
– The high heat kills bacteria, fungus, mold, and dust mites, making it the healthiest way to clean carpet.
– It doesn’t leave residue if it’s done correctly. Detergent residues attract dirt, which can damage the carpet.
– The high pressure cleans the carpet more deeply.
– The strong vacuum also cleans the carpet more deeply.
– Heat really helps! Above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, every 18 degrees higher changes in chemical reactivity by 100%. Hot water extraction cleaning is done between 150 and 200 degrees. Is that too technical? The bottom line is that it’s just the best way to clean the carpet.