TLDR: There are a plethora of methods used by the professional carpet cleaners in order to obtain a pristine clean of your floor. Acknowledging your specific carpet cleaning need and the composition of your carpet will help you be a savvy shopper and make the smart calls when purchasing services. The main ways professionals tackle the clean are through steam cleaning, hot water extraction, carpet shampooing, and bonnet cleaning.
When shopping around for professional carpet cleaning, it may be easy to assume that all are created equal. That carpet cleaners are a one-trick pony. Do not make this mistake! There are many diverse methods for carpet cleaning, and they are definitely not synonymous methods. Each different carpet cleaning methodology has its pros and cons and knowing which methods best suit your needs is a necessity before making a final purchase of service. Allow these following excerpts to be your carpet cleaning compendia and your guide to becoming a more savvy carpet cleaning customer!
The Lean-Mean Steam Cleaning Machine
Let’s start with the most popular cleaning method, the steam clean. Steam cleaning machines use a high-pressure application that allows for the injection of steam into the fibers of your flooring. The pressure plus heat combo is a debris buster, loosening its tyrannical staining hold on your precious floors. Once the debris is free floating away from the carpet fibers in the injected water left over from the steam, the steam cleaner uses suction to pull up the water-dirt combo, storing it for disposal in a chamber separate from the one that has the boiling clean water for injection.
While this may sound like an elegantly simple and effective cleaning solution, there is one major drawback: ambient moisture. That’s right, once that super hot, steamy water hits those polyester frills, it’s near impossible to remove all of it from your floor. The high power suction of even professional steam clean machines isn’t enough to prevent a soggy rug.
Protip: Relative humidity is a huge consideration in hiring steam cleaners. Areas that are more humid are less likely to have flooring that will organically dry quickly. Prolonged moisture exposure can cause mold and mildew to grow where your carpet rests against the foundation. Yuck!
Hot Water Extraction; Not Just Another Steam Cleaner
This method often gets confused with the aforementioned steam clean. The differences are subtle but still notable. For one, the temperatures reached in steam cleaning are much higher than in hot water extraction, exceeding 212 degrees Fahrenheit in order to boil and produce steam. In hot water extraction, boiling is unnecessary. Hot water extraction also has a rinsing step, to remove residue, where this step is unneeded in steam cleaning due to the high heat high-pressure combo. Both methods, however, have the ambient moisture drawback e.g. the soggy rug debacle. The pros and cons look similar between steam cleaning and hot water extraction with one notable exception: hot water extraction is preferable for natural fibers, as steam cleaning can shrink natural fiber materials
Protip: Most modern carpets are made of synthetic fibers, so steaming cleaning is usually a safe option for modern homes. If you have older carpets, however, maybe consider hot water extraction instead.
Carpet Shampooing; Traditional, Simple, Rustic
Much like when washing your hair, carpet shampooing is all about vigorously scrubbing a detergent into your carpet, working it up into a sudsy soapy lather, and then rinsing away all the muck trapt away in that satisfying bubbly lather. Carpet shampooing is probably the most low-tech and potentially cost-efficient method, but it has one considerably major drawback: residue. It is impossible to rinse away all lather after shampooing. The residual lather leaves a film, that over time can leave your carpet looking dingy and just overall unkempt. If you’re looking for a long-term cleaning solution, this method is one to avoid.
Bonnet Cleaning, For The Industrious Sort
Bonnet cleaning is where carpet cleaning gets really high-tech and industrial. A bonnet cleaner is a heavy-duty machine, that has a metallic cylinder with handles at the top attached to a large metallic disk at the bottom. The disk, equipped with what looks like a large circular sponge, spins with an impressive amount of RPMs to buff dirt out of the carpet. Bonnet cleaners provide a quick and efficient way to clean a large number of rooms, but they only deal with superficial grime.
Protip: A bonnet cleaner will never unseat deep detritus that leads to eventual fiber decay.
With a bit of know-how, you too can uncover the secrets of professional carpet cleaning. Steam cleaners and hot water extraction for example are some of the leaders in carpet cleaning tech. Don’t be fooled into thinking high-tech is the best tech for all situations. Bonnet cleaners are mostly used in high-traffic areas of businesses like hotels. They only provide a cosmetic clean, so the viability for its use in your average home is pretty unlikely.
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