Getting your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year will considerably prolong their lives. Regular deep cleaning prevents soil and stains from running deep and settling on the fibres. The dirt can be effectively agitated and removed by professional cleaning, thereby increasing the efficiency of subsequent cleaning processes as well.
Professional cleaners use multiple cleaning and sanitizing methods to get the best results. You need to be aware of the most popular techniques as it will help you get involved in the cleaning process as well as make informed decisions regarding the cleaners you choose.
All cleaners use all or a combination of the most popular methods to clean carpets. All the methods are effective provided they are performed by trained professionals who know their job well.
Cleaning Method #1: Steam Cleaning
Hot water extraction, commonly known as steam cleaning, is the most popular carpet cleaning method. It’s works on the time-tested cleaning combination of hot water, soap and thorough rinsing. The drying part raises much concern, because the complete soaking of carpets makes drying a tedious and time-consuming process.
In this method, water at high temperatures (often boiling) is sprayed onto the carpets, soaking them to the padding. The hot water dislodges the soil, grime and stains from the fibres and the carpet base. A specialised cleaning solution is used which is worked into the carpet fibres and agitated to loosen all the dirt and grime.
The foam and the water are allowed a settling time of a few minutes and then removed by powerful industrial-strength extractors. The strong suction ensures all the dirt and moisture are removed, leaving the carpet partially dry.
The drying process is of utmost importance because if left damp, mould and mildew infestation will start almost immediately on the carpet. Make sure you begin using the carpet only after it is completely dry.
Hot water extraction kills dust mites, bacteria and other microorganisms that reside nestled in the fibres of your carpet. It also helps remove odors, stains and oils from the carpets.
If the cleaning is done by inefficient and untrained cleaners, soap residue may get left behind. Soap acts as a powerful magnet to dirt and grime and your newly-cleaned carpet will be soiled again in no time.
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Cleaning Method #2: Carpet Shampooing
This was the original cleaning method used by professional cleaners for decades before advancements in technology brought forth newer and more efficient techniques.
In this method, a specialised carpet shampoo is applied on, and scrubbed into the surface of the carpet. This shampoo contains chemicals that generate a lot of foam which is allowed to settle and rest on the carpet for some time.
The foam leaves behind a dry and non-sticky residue that attracts soil and dirt. There is no extraction technique used in this method. The soap residue and soils are removed by thorough vacuuming.
Experts do not recommend this method because it is not effective to remove deep and buried dirt. Also, the foamy shampoo cannot be completely removed by vacuuming. The soap residue left behind attracts dirt and leads to quick re-soiling of the carpet. If you are keen on cleaning your carpets yourself, a carpet shampoo can be a good solution in between more intensive professional deep-cleanings.
Cleaning Method #3: Carpet Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is a quick process that gives fairly satisfactory results. A specially formulated absorbent compound is sprinkled on the surface of the carpets. This is then worked into the fibres using a mechanised brush. The chemicals present in the cleaning compound break down the soil, the dirt and the grime, thus making them easy to remove. A commercial vacuum cleaner is used to draw up the cleaning agent and the soil.
Though the method is termed ‘dry cleaning’, a small amount of moisture is used to apply the cleaning compounds to the surface of the carpet. Thorough vacuuming leaves you with a fully dry and clean carpet.
This method is suitable in office settings where it may be difficult to resort to other methods. Also, if you are in a hurry and want your carpet to look good in a jiffy, this method is for you.
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Cleaning Method #4: Absorbent-Pad or Bonnet Method
Bonnet cleaning uses a cleaning product which is usually mixed with a carbonated solution and applied over the surface of the carpet. The solution spreads as a mist and brings the dirt and grime to the surface. The cleaning solution is allowed a settling or resting time to work its magic.
A circular rotating buffer is run over the soiled area. The buffer is also called a ‘bonnet’ and has an absorbent covering over it. This covering removes the cleaning solution and the dislodged dirt. The bonnet is run over the surface of the carpet several times. The soiled absorbent covering is replaced with a fresh one and the cleaning process is repeated.
This method helps remove dust and dirt from the upper portions of the carpet fibres, but it does not work deep. Soap residue also contributes to quick soiling of the cleaned carpet. A good temporary method to get neat-looking carpets, but they do not remain tidy for long. You can use this as a handy method in between more elaborate professional cleanings.
The bonnet cleaning method is not recommended for cut pile carpets. The rotating buffer causes pile distortion and damage to carpet fibres.
Professional cleaners make use of several techniques and methods that give you clean, fresh, hygienic and healthy carpets. Consult with the cleaning technicians and read up on the maintenance tips specified for your brand of carpet before deciding on the cleaning technique. This will allow you to choose a safe and efficient method.