Carpet Cleaning

Carpet cleaning is the process of removing accumulated soil from carpet.

This accumulated soil comes from:

  • soil we bring in on our shoes
  • spills from food, drinks, and who knows what else
  • all the air borne dust, oil and grease from cooking, smoke and every other pollution that gets deposited in the carpet

Not removing these contaminates from the carpet can result in premature carpet wear, an ugly appearance and an unhealthy indoor environment.

With these drawbacks, why use carpet? Wouldn't it be better to remove the carpeting and just have hardwood or tile floors? After all, many children suffer from asthma and other allergies. Even many doctors suggest removing the carpet to help with these kinds of problems.

The truth is carpet acts like a giant filter on the floor which traps and collects soil. Cleaning the carpet removes this accumulated dirt which in turn extends the life and appearance of the carpet as well as providing a healthier indoor environment for the occupants.

Cleaning the carpet allows you to remove many of the allergens which can trigger asthma or other allergies.

Compare this with a hard floor surface that cannot grab these same contaminates. They continue to swirl around the room like dust bunnies or become air borne with the slightest air movement.

What are the best carpet cleaning methods?

There are many different methods of cleaning carpet. Each system has both advantages and disadvantages. All of today's viable cleaning systems for carpet have been designed to handle general or specific cleaning problems.

It is the job of the professional carpet cleaner to understand the pros and cons of determining the best approach for a specific cleaning situation.

With each cleaning method there must be a technician operating the equipment. The skill level of the operator is probably more important to the outcome of the job than the method used.

Most of the negative aspects of any cleaning method can be attributed to operator error. It's the untrained technicians that have not taken the time to educate themselves about the professional carpet cleaning machines, the tools or the cleaning chemicals used.

With this caveat in mind, lets look at the today's viable methods of cleaning carpet.

The level of cleaning needed generally dictates which method of cleaning is best. Does the carpet need corrective cleaning or is the cleaning part of a planned maintenance program?

The three levels of cleaning which carry the carpet from brand new through its first overall cleaning and repeat the cycle throughout the carpet's life include:

  1. Preventive: the introduction of proper sized and placed walk-off mats to catch the incoming soil, a frequent (daily) vacuuming program, a diligent spot removal program, and the use of protectant sprays to make the vacuuming and spot removal programs easier to expedite.
  2. Interim: can be more critical in cleaning commercial carpet than residential cleaning. This is more of a surface cleaning, to keep the carpet appearance even and consistent. The methods include absorbent powder extraction, encapsulation, bonnet cleaning, and dry foam or rotary shampoo.
  3. Restorative or Deep Cleaning: when the carpet soiling level has reached an unacceptable level and requires a deep cleaning or washing extraction process. The methods to accomplish this are rotary shampoo extraction and hot water extraction (steam cleaning).

These methods are best performed by a professional carpet cleaner or building maintenance staff rather than the do it yourself individual due to the equipment cost and the required training to perform the method.

What about professional carpet cleaning supplies?

Choosing the appropriate cleaning supplies are as important as choosing the proper cleaning system or method. This includes the equipment and tools needed, and the carpet cleaning solution.

The interim cleaning level is performed with methods which utilize a low moisture cleaning solution due to the need for minimal downtime. Whichever low moisture method is selected, the equipment or tools utilized for that method all essentially function the same.

For instance, the bonnet cleaning method involves pre-spraying a cleaning solution on the carpet and uses a floor machine to spin an absorbent pad to pick up the soil.

An equipment manufacturer may put more bells and whistles on their floor machine to make operating easier but unless the cleaning agent is effective, the results will be poor. With a quality cleaner, an operator could use only a cloth and achieve good results.

The same with the hot water extraction method of cleaning. Whether the equipment is truck mounted, portable or even the kind one can rent from a grocery store, the theory behind the equipment is the same.

The hot water based cleaning solution is pumped through a hose and cleaning tool onto the carpet. A vacuum then extracts the dirt and moisture to achieve clean carpet. No matter how powerful the equipment is, if the cleaning solution is not effective, the results will suffer.

Although equipment and tools are important when selecting cleaning supplies, considerable emphasis should be placed on the carpet cleaning products. One which is effective, safe for the user and building occupants, and environmentally friendly.

What other carpet care information is necessary?

Other information to consider is the cleaning service itself. Whether the service involves cleaning commercial carpet or carpet cleaning in a home, the following concerns should be addressed:

The more educated the consumer is about the different aspects of cleaning carpet, the better a decision can be made concerning the methods, supplies and general cleaning information.

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