Real Information on Carpet Cleaning Methods
What is the best way to clean your carpets? Lately you hear so much about all of these new products its so hard to make head or tails out of it all.
Steam is actually a misnomer. The water and solution used is hot, but by the time it reaches your carpet it is not at boiling point and it is not true steam. This is the most common type of professional carpet cleaning and it has its downfalls. First, let's explore how wet extraction (the correct name for this type of carpet cleaning) works. Hot water and detergent are forced into the carpet. The dirt and debris is forced down into the bottom of the carpet. It should be agitated and then extracted. Not all carpet cleaners use agitation. After extraction, the rug should be rinsed with clean water to remove soap residue. This also needs to be immediatley extracted. The problem lies in the fact that all wet extraction methods leave behind some of the water. You have all seen what is in their collection tanks. Well, the best extractors only remove 90% of what they put down. That leaves 10% or more of that dirty water in your carpet. As this dries, the carpet fibers act as a wick and this is why stains sem to reappear within 3 days or the carpet looks yellow / or brown a few days after. This is because of the dirt left behind wicking up into the carpet fibers. Wool, Sisal, and other natural fibers should not be wet cleaned as there is danger of shrinkage and distortion. Also, carpets with a jute backing should not be wet cleaned as the jute will release its natural brown dyes. When in doubt, call your carpet's manufacturer.
This type of cleaner uses a foam. Some call it a dry or carbonated foam. Be sure that if you decide on this type of system that the cleaner uses a machine that has large brushes to scrub the carpet. Von Schrader makes a great system. Be sure your professional uses this type of cleaning system. Drying time is much faster with this type of cleaning.
This type of cleaning has a machine with a cloth disk attached to a rotary machine. This disk spins and twists carpet fibers. It cannot get the ground in dirt up and it cannot remove deep down dirt. I'd pass on these systems altogether.
This is actually the preferred method of cleaning carpets. If it were not, then the major carpet manufacture that developed Capture(tm), would not have done so. Not all dry cleaning systems are equal. Some are do it yourself. Capture(tm) and HOST(tm) both have do-it-yourself methods. Capture is found at major home improvement centers. It must be scrubbed in by hand which is a real downfall. Ever try scrubbing a 300 sq. ft living room by hand? You will not want to do that more than once. HOST(tm) can be rented at local rental stores, they have a machine that will scrub for you - way better. Both systems require you to wait until the cleaning compound is dry and then you vacuum it up. Another option is profession dry cleaning. By far HOST(tm) is the best dry cleaning system used by professionals. It is green - meaning safe for the environment. They have USDA biobased certification, woolsafe certification, and the green seal.
OXY Based Cleaners
Did you know that the "oxy" in these cleaners stands for peroxide? They say its oxygen which is true. As peroxide breaks down, it turns into water and oxygen. The problem is that these cleaners only oxidize the stain, they do not remove it. The other thing to keep in mind is that none of these cleaners have a Woolsafe seal. Do not use them on your wool rugs, carpets or upholstery! Also, over time these cleaners can harm some carpet fibers and actually "bleach" them. So, while many swear by them in the short term, be careful with long term use.
Before you choose a carpet cleaning method, research your options and make sure if you use a professional, that they are competant. Call your State Attorney General's Office to see if there are any complaints. The BBB is also a good way to check. Get at least 5 references in your area and call those references! Read your labels, only use products that have the Woolsafe seal if your carpet contains any percentage of wool. Properly cared for, you carept should last 20 years or more. It should be professionally cleaned every 8-10 months, more often if you have kids or pets.
About the Author
Linda ALtman is the CEO of Carpets and More, a carpet cleaning business located in raleigh, North Carolina. You can find out more about by clicking on Carpets and More website http://www.carpetcleaningandmore.com