Some may not realize it, but there is more than one way available for your carpet cleaner to clean your carpets. Essentially, you have a “wet cleaning” method or a “dry cleaning” method. Many people would like to know the difference between the two. While the main difference is that obviously one involves more water than the other, there is a little more involved than that. (It should be noted that before starting either method, the carpet should be vacuumed first. This make the cleaning process easier.)
Wet Cleaning The first method we’ll take a look at is the wet method. Wet methods of cleaning, as the name suggest, use the most amount of water in the cleaning process. There are two main types – shampooing and steam cleaning.
With the shampooing method, you literally shampoo the carpet. The cleaning machine covers the fibers with a shampoo foam. This process stirs up the dirt and stains. When the dirt is stirred up, it becomes trapped inside the shampoo. After the carpet has dried, it can vacuumed clean. The dirt and stains, which had previously been attached to the carpet fibers, are cleaned away with the dried shampoo solution.
Steam cleaning can also be classified as a wet cleaning method. With steam cleaning, your cleaner sprays a mixture of hot water and detergent on the carpet. This loosens the dirt. A specialized vacuum is then brought in to suck the water from the carpet.
Dry Cleaning With the dry method of cleaning, a moist powder is spread over the carpet and then massaged into the fibers with a special machine. The powder consists mostly of detergent, a dissolving solvent, and an absorbent. It also contains a slight amount of water, enough to make it moist. The special makeup of the powder allows it to act as powerful cleaning agent. After the powder is spread across the carpet, it is vacuumed clean.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Dry cleaning is considered a “surface clean.” In other words, it doesn’t clean as deeply as a wet clean does. The advantage of this method is that it’s faster. With a wet cleaning, you may need to wait anywhere from 12 to 24 hours for the solution to dry. And so that is also the potential downside – it does take a little longer. The advantage, as mentioned, is that it’s more forceful and more thorough, and so the wait is often worth it.
Typical Cleaning Process Most professional cleaners would use something similar to the following process outlined below. First they survey the area to be cleaned to understand the layout of the area and the type of dirt and stains they will be dealing with.
Next they vacuum the area to remove as much “easy” dirt as possible.
After vacuuming, they pre-condition the carpet with a specialized cleaning solution. This emulsifies the suspended dirt and biomaterials.
Next they agitate the areas that receive the most amount of foot traffic. This serves to loosen the compacted dirt.
After agitation, they rinse the cleaning solutions applied in Step 3. This leaves the carpet fibers residue free. If there are stubborn stain spots, they then treat these areas with specialized stain removers. If necessary, these areas are left to “dwell” for a time so that the spot removers can really do their work. When the proper amount of time has passed, the removal solutions are rinsed from the carpet.
Once the carpet has been completely cleaned and all the stains have been removed, they normally apply something along the lines of Dupont’s Teflon Advanced Fiber Protectant for carpets. Although this last step is optional, many recommend it.