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How to choose the Best Carpet Cleaning Method

Last Updated: August 10, 2021

Written on March 30, 2021 by Karen Norman
Carpet Cleaning Methods - Five to choose from

Which Carpet Cleaning Method is Best?

Puzzled by the different carpet cleaning methods? Let us help you choose.

Cleaning some Challenging Wrinkled Carpet in Calgary

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The above Video demonstrates why we believe the Steam Cleaning Method is probably the best for most situations. 

Steam Cleaning is one of the most common and most popular carpet cleaning methods. It is officially called Hot-Water Extraction and is considered by many to be one of the best carpet cleaning methods to choose. Nevertheless there are other carpet cleaning methods to consider.

What are the different Carpet Cleaning Methods? 

There are five different carpet cleaning methods. They are:

  • Hot Water Extraction – Steam Cleaning
  • Carpet Shampooing
  • Dry Carpet Cleaning
  • Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning
  • Bonnet Carpet Cleaning

These different professional carpet cleaning methods can make it confusing as to which to select. 

Yet some of these methods can be as beneficial as steam cleaning in certain circumstances and so we have described them here so that you can make an informed decision as to which carpet cleaning method to pick for your carpet cleaning service.

Invariably, factors such as cost, depth of cleaning, drying times and level of disruption during the cleaning service play a part in the decision-making process. Each of the following cleaning methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to decide which method is right for you.

Hot Water Extraction – Steam Cleaning

Hot Water Extraction is commonly known as Steam Cleaning. More often than not, when people think of carpet cleaning, they default to steam cleaning, as it is one of the most well-known carpet cleaning methods. Whilst there are other carpet cleaning methods available, steam cleaning is the preferred method for many and the one used by Dang Good Carpet and Furnace Cleaning.

It is often the preferred method for carpet manufacturers too as it does not damage the carpet fibres and rarely leaves a residue.

Ironically, hot water extraction is not really about steam although you will often see steam coming from the carpet cleaning wand during the injection and extraction processes. To start with, carpets are pre-sprayed using natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products. In addition, sometimes the carpets are agitated too, to further loosen the grime and dirt.

Once the pre-spray has worked, hot water extraction begins. In hot water extraction, water is injected into the carpet at very high temperatures. Simultaneously, the hot water is removed using high pressure extraction. One of the most effective ways of extraction is by using a Truckmount System.

Truckmount equipment is extremely powerful. It creates good suction, and the temperatures are very high, which helps to kill bacteria, dust mites, odor, and mold. However, sometimes a truckmount system is not practical, especially if the area being cleaned is above the second-floor level and cannot be reached by Truckmount.

Then a portable unit will be needed. Both portable and truckmount equipment use similar processes although invariably the portable unit may take extra work to achieve the same results. They both extract waste water into a dirty water tank.

Steam Cleaning is good for Residential and Commercial Carpet cleaning. It has the advantage of being a deep restorative clean as well as being a gentler and safer clean for carpets. However, to be most effective it requires the work to be done by an experienced, trained technician.

The process can be a little noisy and as a consequence can be somewhat interruptive which means some commercial properties may want this done outside of office hours and will need to allow drying time.

Another significant advantage of Steam Cleaning is that the carpets will stay cleaner for longer than some of the other methods mentioned here. Take a look at another video of two crew members demonstrating hot water extraction.

Carpet Shampooing

Carpet Shampooing is one of the older methods of carpet cleaning, but it is still used especially commercially. Industries such as in the hospitality industry find it useful for carpets that get a lot of foot traffic but need to continually appear visibly clean.

A cleaning shampoo, a foam like chemical substance is brushed onto the carpet using a rotary floor machine. Stiff bristles spin the foam into the carpet. This is not as gentle as steam cleaning and is not good for delicate carpets.

Once the foam has dried which can take some time, a wet vacuum is used to remove the foam. A sticky residue can be left which can both damage the carpet and attract dirt again much quicker.

However, in the short-term, carpets can seem brighter and cleaner at least for a while. This is often seen as the least effective carpet cleaning method yet it may be considered a cleaner approach than simply vacuuming.

Dry Carpet Cleaning

Dry Carpet Cleaning is sometimes known by one of the following names:

  • Dry Extraction Cleaning
  • Dry Powder Cleaning
  • Absorbent Compound Cleaning

Essentially a Dry Compound is distributed evenly over the carpet with specialized scrubbing equipment which uses rotating brushes to open up the carpet fibres. The compound then attaches to the dirt in the fibres.

Once the compound had done its job of drawing out the dirt, an industrial vacuum is used to remove the compound along with its accompanying dirt.

This is a newer technique which is well suited to commercial locations. It is more appropriate for those who do not want the carpets to be damp after cleaning. There is a small amount of water used but it is considerably less than that used in steam cleaning.

The other advantage is that there is minimal downtime for business staff occupying the buildings where the cleaning is taking place. Carpet Dry Cleaning is not necessarily considered to be a deep clean but it is for sure good for a quick maintenance clean up.

Unfortunately, the powdered compound may build up in the carpet overtime and could leave odours that trigger allergies. It is often considered to be a less environmentally friendly method but with that said some organizations have come out with greener products which make that argument null and void.

Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning

Sometimes encapsulation is thought of as dry carpet cleaning but it differs in that it uses an encapsulating chemical. The encapsulating chemical is a kind of foam which crystalizes and then gets vacuumed up.

Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning is considered by some to be an interim carpet cleaning method, good for maintenance.

The process uses encapsulation polymers. In an article called: “Putting Carpet Cleaning Polymers to the Test” by CleanLink, they say that encapsulation polymers act as a ‘vehicle’ for isolating dirt from the fibres through crystallization, so the dirt can easily be removed from the carpet.

Vacuuming both before and after is crucial. After pre-vacuuming, the carpet is pump sprayed with the encapsulant and then a machine with counter rotating brushes is used to lift the fibres.

This method has the advantage of low moisture and fast drying times but every few cleanings it is advisable for the carpet treatment to be followed up with a hot water extraction to ensure a deeper clean.

Sometimes this method can be confused with Bonnet Cleaning, but Bonnet Cleaning is only surface cleaning whereas Encapsulation is somewhat deeper. Just not as deep as Hot Water Extraction (in our opinion).

Bonnet Carpet Cleaning

Bonnet Carpet Cleaning refers to carpet cleaning using a Bonnet machine. A Bonnet machine uses a rotating absorbent cotton pad – a machine with a bonnet if you will. In some ways the process is similar to carpet shampooing but it focuses on the carpet surface, giving it a kind of polishing.

Bonnet Cleaning is good for routine maintenance in commercial properties that have a lot of pedestrian traffic and need a regular light cleaning.

The rotating bonnet is saturated in a cleaning mixture before being spun over the top layer of carpet about 1/8 inch deep. The Bonnet pad will need changing frequently so as to prevent re-soiling of the carpet.

Whilst this is not a dry cleaning, it is not exactly wet cleaning either. Some even talk of pre-spraying the carpet first and then using dry bonnet pads. Either way, the process uses a minimal amount of liquid. It is a fast-drying surface clean which helps alleviate the appearance of dirt and give the carpets a fresh clean look.

Yet to be truly clean the carpets may need a sanitization too and dirt may remain deep in the carpet fibres. Hotels often use this method so that it does not disturb their visitors as they navigate the corridors to their rooms.

Which Carpet Cleaning Method to Choose?

The carpet cleaning method you choose will really depend on what you are trying to achieve. Are you looking for an interim carpet cleaning to temporarily enhance the appearance of the carpet? Or are you looking for a thorough deep carpet cleaning – such as steam cleaning?

Bear in mind, that what ever you see on the surface, carpets can entrap a lot of hidden dirt and pollutants even if not immediately apparent.

It would be wise for businesses that have carpeted buildings to choose both frequent carpet maintenance as well as a deep restorative carpet cleaning such as steam cleaning now and then.

Like wise households may want to consider who is likely to be sitting or playing on their carpet and choose a method that will give them the confidence that their carpets have been truly deeply and comprehensively cleaned. That said all these methods have their place and the maintenance methods can often be cheaper.

Before ruling out Steam Cleaning as not within your budget take a look at our various carpet cleaning deals.

Or simply give us a call to learn more.

Call: 403-984-3680

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161, Panamount Drive NW, Calgary, AB. T3K 5L7

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