Most carpet manufacturers recommend getting your carpet cleaned by a professional at least once a year. The method they normally prefer is known as steam cleaning, or hot water extraction. Steam cleaning is an excellent carpet cleaning procedure that is known for its thorough and sanitary results.
Studies have shown that hot water extraction cleaning can remove up to 99.2% of the contaminants typically found in dirty carpet. These contaminants can include germs, bacteria, dust mites, and various other microscopic pests. This style of carpet cleaning involves using steam from very high temperature water (up to 220 degrees) to penetrate deep into your carpet fibers. This penetration, along with some good agitation, provides the most comprehensive cleaning available.
Steam cleaning will also incorporate pre-spotters and pre-conditioners. These pre-treatments work to loosen the dirt and soil from the carpet fibers, making extraction more effective. Of course you do have the option of using only the steam, which would fall into an eco-friendly category of carpet cleaning due to the lack of chemical use. Nowadays there are alternatives to the traditional chemical supplements that carpet cleaners typically use. New all-natural formulas are now available that provide the same effective results without the harmful chemicals.
A typical steam cleaning procedure starts with a thorough vacuuming with a commercial strength vacuum cleaner. The technician should make sure to get along the baseboards also to remove any dust or animal hair that can accumulate along the edges. The next step is pre-treating the carpet. This phase includes using spot removers to break up any stains within the carpet. Next is the actual steam cleaning process. This step is much like vacuuming. The tech goes over the carpet with the steam cleaner and then extracts all the moisture (which includes all the pre-treatment solutions and dirty water) into a holding tank.
After the cleaning is complete the carpet is left to dry for anywhere from 2-24 hours. Once again, advancements in steam cleaning equipment can now cut down the drying times to 2-4 hours. Consult with your local carpet cleaner to find out what type of equipment they are using.
Hot water extraction can be used on just about any type of carpet. The process is a wonder because it is so gentle on your carpet without sacrificing any of its effectiveness. Usually you get one or the other but this process has them both. The high temperature steam, agitation, and pre-treatment sprays combine to create a very comprehensive cleaning system.
You want to make sure to ask questions when deciding on the right company to clean your carpet. The most important would be whether or not they are certified. Also, get a written quote or estimate prior to hiring. This will let you see exactly what they plan on doing and what the cost is for each thing they do.
Steam cleaning is currently the most preferred and most thorough carpet cleaning technique available. No other method of cleaning can boast the same safe and effective results.