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Wet or Dry Carpet Cleaning?

Wet or Dry Carpet CleaningThis is a question we are asked quite frequently, and it is not an easy one to answer. There are good and points to both methods. Perhaps a brief description of the different types of carpet cleaning would be helpful.

Dry Foam: The carpet cleaner applies shampoo, allows it to dry and then, without rinsing, sucks the dried shampoo into a vacuum. Carpet manufacturers don't recommend this method but some retailers use it as a profit center.

Dry absorbent powder: The dry compound method spreads a moist absorbent powder through the carpet. The powder is allowed to dry and then sucked into a vacuum, because the carpet is wet with residue of the process, It is not very effective.

Absorbent pad ("Chemical Clean"): This is the one that gets the most press, mostly because of its wide advertising and national franchises. It has built its reputation on 30-year-old scare tales about water-based cleaning. The method involves the spraying of a liquid cleaner on the carpet and then passing over the carpet with a spin bonnet or absorbent pad on a machine that operates like a floor buffer.

Hot water extraction: This used to be called "steam cleaning" but since that is not technically correct, it is no longer used. For our purposes, it is a truck-mounted extraction system. Hot water and solution are applied under pressure, and then solution, water and soil are removed using the truck-mounted vacuum.


So, Which Best?

For the sake of brevity, let's just eliminate the first two methods. They are ineffective and usually take a lot of time with minimal results.

The Absorbent Pad method has its strong points. It dries quickly and does a nice job of cleaning the surface of the carpet. There are times, such as in between extraction cleans, when it is a good option. The downside is that it does not extract. Therefore deeply imbedded soils, mites, etc. are not removed. Many carpet manufacturers no longer recommend this method, and some still cleaning this way will void their warranty.

The Hot Water Extraction Method has come of age in the past 20 years. Now it is the method recommended by most major carpet manufacturers. Many carpet guarantees require extraction cleaning only in order to maintain the carpet warranty. The downside is that the carpet is damp after cleaning. It can take up to 24 hours, depending on the carpet type and degree of deep soiling, for the carpet to be returned to daily use.

Ninety percent of our cleanings are extraction cleanings. We also do absorbent pad cleaning when the degree of soiling is light, and no sand or grit needs to be extracted; or when the client needs the carpet in use in less then two hours.

Call us and we can discuss which method is best for you.