Warm Underfoot But Dirtier Than A Toilet Seat
Just how gross can a dirty carpet get? Well, it is a prime germ hotspot, clocking even 4,000 times higher bacteria concentrations than the average toilet seat. There is a wide horde of microorganisms that can survive and thrive in soiled carpets – from strains decomposing the organic matter that is strewn all over the carpet, the disease-causing variants like E. Coli, Micrococcus, and Norwalk viruses living in the carpet for weeks, to the larger dust mites that go depositing their faecal residue around the fibres of that lush carpet. While it is a core furnishing item in the household, failing to follow a proper carpet cleaning schedule can quickly result in it becoming one of the largest health hazards in the building.
Infiltration is also an issue. This is where the carpet gets dark lines along its edges. As air from the outside gets forced into the room – such as through the small spaces that are under the closed doors and gaps between wall frames, it continues to the carpet, forcing its way through the pile while leaving behind particulate matter in the process. This also includes the dust that comes from air ducts that have stayed for long without being cleaned, as well as pollutants like cigarette smoke particles. With infiltration, the pollutants and particles that create the dark lines are usually small and barely noticeable. By the time the dark lines become unmistakable, then the carpet cleaning is long overdue.
When it’s time to clean the carpet, it is recommended that you hire professionals for the task. This is to enable you to get the results you desire without posing a risk to the carpet. Taking it on as a DIY job comes with a whole range of frustrations, from the laborious nature of the job, the balance acts that need to be taken when dealing with the stubborn stains – especially with the chemicals that can be used for the carpet cleaning, all through to the machinery involved, where DIYers typically don’t have access to the industrial-grade machinery that the professionals use.
How Carpets Are Cleaned
There are different methods that can be used for carpet cleaning, and these vary from one service provider to the next. They include:
i) Hot water extraction
This is one of the most popular carpet cleaning methods due to the thorough nature of the process. Here, heated water is pumped into the carpet at high pressure. The heat and pressure break down the dirt and grime, dislodging it from the fibres. Moreover, the action kills the horde of microorganisms that is in the carpet. This, coupled with detergents being used in the process to break down those stubborn stains, enables you to wind up with a fresh and vibrant carpet.
Due to the amount of water involved, the drying time tends to be longer than comparative methods. However, professional carpet cleaning companies are increasingly adopting the use of high-powered wet vacuum systems, which suction out the bulk of the moisture from the material. This leaves the carpet just slightly damp to the touch, cutting down the drying time to as little as three hours. That way, you can resume using the carpet within the same day it has been cleaned.
ii) Dry cleaning
Here, the carpet can be used immediately after it has been worked on. An absorbent compound is spread onto the carpet, and a mechanical brush used to drive it deep into the carpet pile. The chemical binds the dirt, and it is then vacuumed off. While it is a time saving process, the drawback is on the level of cleanliness that is obtained. Here, there tends to be grime that is left behind in the carpet, as well as residue from the compound used for the cleaning. These act as dirt magnets, causing the carpet to get soiled at a much faster rate, and the carpet cleaning process will need to be repeated much sooner than had been anticipated.
For this case, a bonnet machine – with a rotary pad and mechanism for distributing the carpet cleaning detergent, is used. The personnel manoeuvre the machine over the carpet, as the solution is spread onto it. The rotary pads then carry out the cleaning, but in this case only working on the top sections of the carpet’s fibres. As such the dirt and dust covering the carpet can be removed and it will appear clean, but there will still be grime buried deep in the carpet. So, while it can appear as a short-term solution to a soiled carpet, it ends up costing you more in the long run due to the negative effects of the dirt that continues to accumulate within the lush pile.
This process involves an encapsulating agent being sprayed onto the carpet, then brushed into the material with a rotary brush machine. Bonnets can also be used here for the application. The focus here is on the encapsulating agent, where it surrounds the different soiling particles, then crystallizes. The encapsulated particles are then simply vacuumed off. One of the main advantages of this method is it’s quick drying, since minimal moisture is involved. The drawback comes in the thoroughness of the task, since it doesn’t achieve the deep carpet cleaning that is seen with the hot water extraction process.
Carpet cleaning using the shampoo method has been in use for ages. Basically, shampoo and its foam are spread into the carpet by brush with a scrubbing machine. A wet vacuum is then used to remove the mixture of the foam and dirt, and thereafter a dry vacuum to deal with the residue that remains.
The choice of carpet cleaning method will depend on the particular material being worked on and the kinds of chemicals or levels of heat that can be handled , as this is different for the various natural and synthetic fibre carpets. The types of stains involved also factor in, especially for those stubborn sections where you want particularly potent agents to break down the stains.