The object behind carpet cleaning is simple: to remove spots, dirt and soil from carpets, while preserving the integrity of the carpets fibres, so as to ensure longer carpet life. Over the years a number of different carpet cleaning methods have been developed and the following is a brief overview of these different systems, with a note of some of the advantages and disadvantages of the most commonly used methods:
This cleaning method employs a buffer which scrubs a shampoo solution into the carpet to be cleaned. There is no real attempt to extract the soil at the time of cleaning so, to be in any way effective, this method of cleaning should be combined with thorough vacuuming both before and after the cleaning has taken place. One of the difficulties with this method of cleaning is that because of the nature of the rotary pad, and the construction of carpet pile, texture distortion can occur. Drying times can also be quite long, often up to twenty four hours.
This method also uses a rotary machine, but in this case a special attachment is added, onto which one applies an absorbent pad. The pad is dampened with water and appropriate cleaning agents before being spun by the rotary across the carpet. Sometimes the machine will have an added heater attached which helps reduce drying times. Dirt and soiling are attracted into the pad. This method of cleaning is quick and, to a degree, effective but the absorbent pad should be changed frequently or else it will simply smear or spread the soil across the carpet, rather than cleaning it. Again, care should be taken with this method to avoid distortion of the carpet pile caused by the rotary action. Drying times with this technique are good and carpets can often be in use within thirty minutes to one hour after cleaning.
Hot Water Extraction:
This method of cleaning is often called "steam cleaning" and can be performed with either a portable machine or a larger, more powerful truck mounted machine. Either way this technique involves spraying a solution of water and cleaning agents into the carpet under pressure to dissolve the soil, before a powerful vacuum removes the now-dissolved soil and dirt, along with the water. This technique can be very effective, with short drying times, although both these factors depend to a great degree on the type of equipment used and the skill of the operator.
This system of carpet cleaning is also known as the absorbent compound system, the most well- known of which is the "Host" system. Using this technique, the cleaner will first vacuum the carpet thoroughly before applying absorbent sponges to the carpet by means of a contra-rotating brush. The sponges, which are slightly damp, absorb the dirt and soil in the carpet while they dry, before they are removed by further vacuuming. This technique uses very little moisture so that the carpets can be used immediately after cleaning has taken place. It is therefore particularly suitable in situations where a lengthy drying time is impossible, such as in offices, hotel bedrooms or guest houses.
There are other carpet cleaning methods available, but the above represents the most commonly used techniques. Which method your professional carpet cleaner employs will depend on a number of factors. In addition to the above processes, a professional carpet cleaner will also be able to advise and assist on special techniques to deal with difficult or persistent stains or spots, although one should bear in mind that certain stains or marks may be permanent and resistant to any type of cleaning method.