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Carpet Cleaning F.A.Q & General Information
This is my site Written by Mike Anderson on November 11, 2016 – 12:12 am


Carpet Cleaning F.A.Q & General Information


What is the Difference Between “Professional Carpet Cleaning”
and “Do-It-Yourself” Carpet Cleaning?

The maintenance brochure published by the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, recommends professional carpet cleaning over “Do-It-Yourself” method.  This is because of the potential problems that can occur from using rental equipment – such as yellowing, over wetting, fiber tip damage, severe resoiling, overuse of detergents, etc. Most rental units available do not adequately clean and may actually damage the carpet.  Professional Carpet Cleaning will also do a superior job at removing stains and cleaning the pad under the carpet fibers. 


How Often Does Carpet Need To Be Cleaned?

Carpets and rugs should be cleaned before they become too unsightly.  This ensures the best possible results & increases the longevity of the carpet.  Allowing the carpet to become overly soiled may result in irreversible damage. It is a common myth that cleaning the carpet before it is absolutely necessary will cause it to get dirty faster. This goes back to the days when the shampoo methods were the most common.

Carpet in a typical household should be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months.  It depends upon the number of residents, amount of activity and whether the carpet is light or dark color.  You’ll want to have your carpets cleaned more frequently if you have pets.


What Are the Different Methods of Professional Carpet Cleaning?

There are 4 Main Types Of Carpet Cleaning


1) Van Mounted Hot/Warm Water Extraction or Carpet Steam Cleaning

Anchorage Carpet Cleaning Service
This carpet cleaning method is frequently called steam cleaning. This is due to the fine spray of pressurized heated water used to force dirt out of the carpet.
This process begins with spraying a solution of water, detergent & a deodorizer into the carpet pile.  A “Carpet Wand” with both a vacuum slot & pressurized water nozzle is the most common tool.  The wand sprays hot water into the carpet fibers.  The water and soil are next extracted using the carpet wand which is connected to powerful van mounted vacuum.  Dirty water is pumped into a holding tank in the van.  

Using a portable, system brought into the home or office is another option.  From a health standpoint, the van-mounted system is preferred because the dirty air and humidity are exhausted outside rather than around the house. Additionally, truck-mounted systems are more powerful than portable units.  They achieve a deeper clean while extracting more water.  This also helps the carpet dry more quickly. Depending upon the equipment, temperatures may range from cold tap water to boiling hot water.  Many systems heat water in excess of 200 degrees F.

dry-foam-carpet-cleaning2)  Carpet Foam/Shampoo Method

There are several different methods & tools for use with Foam.  The theory in the shampoo method is to generate a lot of foam in the carpet.  The foam will then dry with the goal of collecting soil.  The next day the dried foam & soil are vacuumed up.

The most common ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate or one of its relatives. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate type products exhibit a very high and very stable foam. Unfortunatly they are mediocre as detergents. The problem is that they dry to a soft, sticky residue which causes resoiling.  Due to resoiling, carpet shampoos often have an anti-resoiling additive.  These additives are typically a resin to reduce this resoiling tendency.  These shampoos tend to be very poor detergents and bury much of the dirt.  They frequently contain high levels of optical brighteners which take invisible ultraviolet light and convert it to visible light. The result is carpet that appears cleaner and brighter than it really is short term.  As a result, the carpet can develop a yellow cast.  Discoloring cannot be removed from the carpet.

Combing foam through carpet pile using revolving cylindrical brushes is a common practice.  This method leaves dirt trapped in the carpet pile. Carpet must be thoroughly vacuumed before and after cleaning.
The Rotary Shampoo method uses an ordinary rotary floor machine (the same kind used for stripping wax).  It sprays shampoo onto the carpet from a dispensing tank.  A rotary brush whips the detergent to a foam.

absorbant-carpet-cleaning-powder3)  Carpet Absorbent Cleaners

Carpet Absorbent Cleaning is often called “dry cleaning” since virtually no water is used. Dry absorbent compound is sprinkled over carpet or worked into the carpet with a machine.  Absorbent compound usually contains small amounts of water, detergent, and solvent.  The purpose of this cleaner is to attract and absorb soil. Mechanical agitation from a brush works the cleaner through the carpet.  The theory is that the liquids dissolve the soil and this soil/detergent/solvent mixture is absorbed into the carrier and is then vacuumed up. A detergent pre-spray is often times used in heavily soiled areas.

Before & after cleaning, the carpet must be thoroughly vacuumed.  Vacuuming needs to be very thorough to ensure that most of the carrier comes out of the carpet.  This cleaning method has the advantage of no drying time for interim maintenance, since little water is used. A common problem is for this white powder to reappear after wet extraction cleaning.

Bonnet Carpet Shampooing. 4) Bonnet Method / “Carbonated Cleaning”

This method is also called “dry cleaning”, which is a misnomer since water is used.  Bonnet Shampooing is simply an adaptation of hard floor spray buffing to carpets.  Cleaning carpets using a bonnet machine consists of the use of a rotary or oscillating brush adapted with a stiff brush or drive block designed to drive wet or dry pads.  Carpet Technicians spray the carpet with the cleaning solution and/or the pads can be soaked in the cleaning solution.  Sometimes, carbonated water is used to give better soil suspension and bring down the pH.  Although it hasn’t been proven that using carbonated water has provides any advantages.

Check with your carpet manufacturer as many leading carpet mills recommend against this method of cleaning.

 What Is The Best Way to Clean  Carpet?

The choice of the the best carpet cleaning method is extremely important. Some systems leave residues which promote re-soiling and defeat the entire purpose of cleaning. Some methods actually damage the carpet fibers and shorten the life of the carpet. Check with the carpet manufacturer for recommendations.

“Hot or Warm Water with External Extraction” (otherwise known as steam cleaning) is the best way to clean carpets according to nearly all carpet manufacturers.  Alaska Premier Services only utilizes this method of cleaning.  We use a van mounted 20hp steam carpet cleaning system which is used with either a carpet wand or Rotovac for those tough to get out stains.  It uses water heated to over 200 Degrees for the best possible results. 

Further more, Hot Water and Steam Cleaning with water extraction is the cleaning method nearly all carpet manufacturers and carpet fiber producers recommend.  This is the only cleaning method classified as “deep cleaning”.  Bonnet, Carpet Foam & Carpet Absorbant methods are all considered “light surface cleaning” because they are incapable of removing soil deep in the pile. In addition, all other methods leave large amounts of cleaning agent in the carpet after cleaning.  Shaw Industries recommends this method because research indicates that it provides the best capability for cleaning carpet and rugs.  Shaw Industries is the worlds largest carpet manufacturing company.

What Are Some Downsides To Various Cleaning Methods?

Carpet Foam/Shampoo Method:  Most carpet mills and carpet fiber producers discourage the use of rotary brushes on carpet.  This is because of the potential damage that can occur. Over wetting is common with this method which can cause jute straining, shrinkage and odor. Shampoo methods are inferior due to poor cleaning plus resoiling problems. The Rotary Shampoo method can damage the carpet, especially cut pile (which is the most common residential carpet).

Carpet Absorbent:  A common problem is for this white powder to reappear after wet extraction cleaning.

Bonnett Method:  Shaw Industries specifically recomends against cleaning carpet with a Bonnett machine. Its especially important on cut pile, due to pile distortion and fiber damage. This method has very limited capability for soil removal and leaves much of the detergent in the pile since it employs no real extraction. As a result, rapid re-soiling often occurs. Another disadvantage is that the spinning bonnet may distort the fibers of cut pile carpet, fuzzing the pile and leaving distinct swirl marks.

What Are the Benefits of Routine Carpet Cleaning?

Having your carpet cleaned routinley by a professional has many benefits.  The benefits range from the health of your family and pets to the longevity of your carpet.  For a comprehensive list of the benefits please visit our article:  Top 10 Reasons To Have Your Carpets Professionally Steam Cleaned



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