Best Methods for Deep Cleaning Carpets
You know its time. Even though you have been religious about vacuuming your carpets, quickly attending to spots and spills, and varying traffic patterns to reduce soiling and wear, your carpets are ready for a freshening, and you have decided to hire a professional to give your carpets a deep cleaning.
All carpets should be deep cleaned every twelve to eighteen months; a thorough cleaning not only revitalizes the look of your carpeting, it also reduces wear, extends its life and may be required in the terms of your warranty. But just how should your carpet be cleaned? There are five accepted methods for cleaning carpets, and one is right for you.
In most new carpets, your carpet manufacturer or retailer will recommend the best cleaning procedure for deep cleaning your carpets. Always follow these recommendations. If you are attempting the deep cleaning yourself, chose a carpet shampoo or cleaning and follow the directions for application and dilution to the letter. Never use soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent or other household cleaners intended for use on other flooring surfaces. For the best results, be certain to vacuum the carpet thoroughly before cleaning, and apply a preconditioning solution before the deep cleaning process.
These pre-cleaning solutions are mild detergents that begin loosening soil before the actual cleaning begins.
There are several ways to find the best professional for your job. You may simply ask for referrals from friends, family or even carpet stores or you may use the Internet to do your own search. No matter which means you use, be aware of the five basic methods professionals use to clean carpets. Each has its advantages and disadvantages; discuss with a professional which is best for your carpets before you begin deep cleaning your carpets.
Dry extraction cleaning uses an absorbent compound containing special detergents and solvents that is infused in and around the carpet fibers with specially-designed machines and brushes. The compound acts as a tiny magnet, attracting dirt, oils and soil in the carpet fibers, and then both the soil and the compound are removed by vacuuming. This method is recommended for sturdy fibers, including most synthetics, and is especially appropriate for natural fibers like wool and cotton that should not be exposed to excessive moisture.
The dry foam extraction method applies a special detergent solution that has been fluffed into a foam, and then applied to the carpet. This foam, which is less dense and much drier than a wet solution, is worked into the carpet by specially designed machines, and then removed by wet vacuuming. Some dry foam machines have their own extraction capabilities, while others need a thorough vacuuming after the carpet is dry.
The hot water extraction method, or “steam cleaning,” as it is sometimes called, is the most common method for do-it-yourselfers and mobile professional cleaners. After preconditioning carpet areas that have experienced heavy use, the carpet cleaner uses hot water extraction equipment to infuse a pressurized cleaning solution into the carpet. Suspended soil and the cleaning solution are immediately extracted. Use caution with the hot water extraction system so that carpets do not become saturated, and accelerate drying in any way possible – using fans, air conditioners, dehumidifiers or additional drying strokes – to avoid possible damage and discoloration resulting from the moisture.
The rotary shampoo method is the classic home carpet cleaning technique. A machine with rotary brushes injects a cleaning solution into the carpet, and then removes the loosened soil and cleaning solution.
And as with steam cleaning, be certain you carpet dries as quickly as possible. Never use a machine intended for hard surface flooring to shampoo your carpets – pile distortion and untwisting of fibers can occur, causing permanent damage to your carpet.
The absorbent pad method should be used only by a trained cleaning professional. In the absorbent pad method, a special machine similar to a floor buffer with an absorbent spin pad is used to remove the soil. The pad absorbs soil on the carpet, and the soil is then rinsed off of the pad. The pad must remain saturated with the cleaning solution or damage to the carpet pile may occur. And regularly change the pad to prevent returning the soil back to the carpet face.
When choosing a deep cleaning method for your carpets, always check the recommendations of the carpet manufacturer, the equipment manufacturer,and your carpet cleaning professional. The match between your carpet and the right deep cleaning method will give your carpets added years of beauty and wear.