by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated April 4, 2016)
The first, and most accessible, appliance used in the home for cleaning carpets is the vacuum. Vacuums come in different varieties, but all use suction to draw dirt and other debris inside so it can be collected. When purchasing a vacuum, you can choose between one of several different collection methods, the three most popular being:
Once you have chosen a vacuum, you'll want to pick a good carpet washing method so you know which kind of machine to choose for your carpet. There are a few different types of cleaning machines that do this, but most carpet manufacturers recommend using only one type of cleaning method: steam cleaning.
The other ways are not classified as "deep cleaning" methods, since they not only cannot penetrate deep into the pile, but also deposit and leave cleaning substances on the carpet. Dry foam extraction and shampooing machines operate on the principle of working a chemical into the carpet, which attracts dirt and dries so that it can be vacuumed up later. However, this can leave behind some sticky residue that only attracts more dirt. Both machines work by scrubbing the carpet with powerful agitators, which can deteriorate your carpet. Carpet shampoos sometimes contain brighteners, which temporarily make your carpet look cleaner than it actually is, and, while this in itself is not a terrible thing, such brighteners can eventually leave a yellowish color on your carpet.
"Dry cleaning" your carpet can cause just as many problems as the dry foam extraction and shampooing methods. Dry powder cleaning, which means that you pour a powder on your carpet, leave it on for a while and then vacuum it up, can compromise air quality and works best on short commercial carpets. Bonnet or chemical cleaning can be equally problematic, though some people prefer to use this means of cleaning because they are worried that the steam method will destroy their carpet. Sometimes carbonated water is used, and instead of a brush, a spinning pad is used to buff the carpet. Some manufacturers of carpet say never to use this method.
The steam cleaning method injects a very hot and very fine misting of a solution of water and cleanser into your carpet and while agitating the carpet, and draws back the moisture (via vacuum), as well as any dirt that there was in the carpet. The most expensive carpet steam cleaners can use a smaller amount of water to make a hotter steam, which gives great comfort to those with allergies to dust mites and other living creatures that dirty your carpet.
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