Comparing Different Carpet Cleaning Methods

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Comparing Different Carpet Cleaning Methods

Comparing Different Carpet Cleaning Methods

So, you’ve decided to get help with the carpet cleaning. Now you’re faced with different companies offering different types of services, and each claim that their approach is the best. Feel bogged down by the information that you’re being flooded with? Let’s take a quick look at the various carpet cleaning methods that are used, to make choosing between them easier for you. 

Dry Carpet Cleaning 

There are different modes here:


  • Dry powder


A carpet cleaning product – usually a powder of an absorbent compound, but it can also be ground corn cobs which had been soaked in a solvent, are sprinkled over the target area. They are then worked into the carpet using a brush, and given a short time to dry. 

Vacuuming follows, removing the cleaning product and the soiling. This method is really fast, and you can resume using the carpet immediately it has been cleaned. While the method will be fairly sufficient for the loose soiling, it usually just gets to top third of the carpet, but leaves the heavy soiling that is at the base of the fibres. 

A second concern with this carpet cleaning process is in the efficiency of the vacuuming that will be used. Without a high-powered vacuum, there will be loads of residue remaining, which will increase the rate of dirt build-up. 



The carpet cleaning agent is whipped up into a foam, which is then applied to the carpet. Motorised brushes work it into the pile, and it is then allowed to dry. This approach shortens the drying time. The contents are then vacuumed off the carpet. The only extraction here is the vacuuming, which usually means that there while be larger amounts of residue left in the carpet. Like the dry powder method, it also doesn’t deliver a deep clean. 



An absorbent carpet cleaning solution is first sprayed onto the carpet. This solution is occasionally mixed with water. The cleaner then runs a circular rotating buffer over the carpet. This buffer has been fixed with an absorbent pad. The soiling that is on the carpet gets attached to the pad as the machine is passed over the carpet.  When the pad gets dirty, it is switched out, and the process continues. 

Since the moisture levels are low here, the drying time is fast, and the carpet cleaning process is used for removing the visible soiling. The carpet may appear clean, but it will still contain the grime that is buried within the pile. This approach may be carried out for the occasional touch-ups in between the more thorough deep carpet cleaning sessions. 


Wet cleaning methods

There are two kinds here:



A foaming carpet cleaning product is applied to the fibres, and then scrubbed into the material. The motorised circular brushes that are used, agitate the soiling, and the method is usually used for the commercial carpets with a low pile. The shampoo is allowed to dry, after which the contents are vacuumed up. This is different from the dry foam, since the liquid is first directly applied to the carpet here. This also means that there will be a longer drying time in comparison too. Residue is usually a problem here, which causes the carpet to get resoiled faster. With the motorised circular brushes being highly aggressive, the method is usually not recommended for the cut pile carpets. 



This is sometimes referred to as ‘steam cleaning’ though that would be a misrepresentation. Actual steam is too hot and dry to clean the carpet. 

With hot water extraction, a mixture of cleaning solution and heated water is pumped into the carpet at high pressure, and then the contents are immediately extracted by a vacuum.  These are then directed to a recovery tank for eventual disposal. 

With this method, the carpet cleaning team is able to reach deep into the pile, flushing out the soiling and contaminants that are in the structure. The effectiveness of the process has seen it become widely adopted by multiple carpet cleaning companies. It removes a greater level of soiling, and the temperature and heat involved reduce the amount of carpet cleaning products required for the process. 

What’s the downside? Well, being a wet cleaning method, there will be a longer drying time carpet to the other carpet cleaning methods mentioned. In addition, if spots are not properly extracted, as is often the case with the rookie carpet cleaning companies, then there will be a possibility of the spots getting wicked up. 

There are different types of hot water extraction systems. For instance, with rental units that typically used for the DIY carpet cleaning jobs, these target the lightly soiled areas. They don’t have the same power and capacity as the gear the professionals use, hence they tend to leave behind the soiling that is ingrained deep into the fibres.  The professionals use industrial-grade machinery, and this can be looked at in two basic categories:

  • Portable units – They are much larger and powerful compared to the rental units, combining with higher capacity pumps, vacuum motors and heat exchangers. They can require two power cords in order to work with the load of the household circuits. Here, the operator needs to be trained to use them. 
  • Truck-mounted units – These crank things up, with such power and pressure ratings that they don’t rely on household ports, but instead use independent engines housed in the van that the carpet cleaning team come in. While carpets can usually be cleaned with pressures of 500 lbs, the truck-mounted systems can yield double this, clocking 1000 lbs of pressure for the carpet cleaning process. The extraction power and vacuuming are also greater here, and consequently, the costs of buying the machines is higher. However, they decrease the amount of time spent on the task. 

Additional aspects that weigh into the type of carpet cleaning method used are the material of the carpet itself, and the level of soiling that is being dealt with. The goal is to get the most optimal results without posing a risk to the carpet. There are also those keen on getting eco-friendly carpet cleaning, which also takes into account the formulation of the chemical to be used.  

Comparing Different Carpet Cleaning Methods

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