Carpet Cleaning Methods

by Emily McBride
(last updated July 20, 2020)

After getting walked on all day every day, your carpet occasionally needs a cleaning. When people think of carpet cleaning, they usually think of calling a professional carpet cleaner who uses a steam cleaning method. Although steam cleaning is the most popular way to clean carpets, there are still other ways to clean it. There are five basic carpet-cleaning methods:

  1. Dry Powder: First, a dry chemical product is spread on the carpet, which is then rubbed into the carpet by a motorized brush. Next, the carpet is vacuumed and the dirt is removed. This method does a good job at removing dirt—but only from the top portion of the carpet. This carpet cleaning method dries faster than any other method.
  2. Dry Foam: This method of carpet cleaning does not deep clean. It uses a foam and a motorized brush to clean it—or basically spread the dirt around. The foam is supposed to mix with the dirt, dry, and flake up, so you can then vacuum up the dirt. Using dry foam instead of a shampoo lessens the drying time.
  3. Carpet Shampooing: This is the oldest way to clean carpets, but it is not the best. The carpet is shampooed and then scrubbed with a motorized circular brush. It does not extract the dirt, and it really only spreads the dirt around. Brighteners in the shampoo may make your carpet look nice, but the dirt will eventually reappear. The leftover shampoo will actually attract dirt. This method is not recommended as much for residential carpet as it is best for short-cut carpet in commercial, heavy-traffic areas. It takes a long time for shampooed carpet to dry.
  4. Dry Cleaning/Bonnet Cleaning: First, the carpet is sprayed. Then an attached absorbent pad and circular buffer goes over the carpet. The pad absorbs the dirty water. This method only takes about thirty minutes to dry because very little moisture is used. It does not deep clean, but it does do a good job cleaning the top portion of the carpet.
  5. Hot Water Extraction/Steam Cleaning: First, a hot cleaning solution is sprayed onto the carpet, which is then immediately vacuumed. This method of carpet cleaning is very effective because it extracts the dirt out of the carpet instead of just spreading it around. Most carpet manufacturers as well as the Environmental Protection Agency favor this method. The biggest disadvantage is that it has a longer drying time.

Make sure you ask a professional which method they will be using before you agree to have your carpet cleaned. Different methods are more suitable for different needs, but steam cleaning is usually the best method for residential carpets.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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