There is a lot of information, sometimes very confusing information, available regarding the different methods of carpet cleaning. The method known as VLM or Very Low Moisture carpet cleaning is probably one of the most misunderstood. In this article, I would like to clear up some of the misunderstandings and explain the benefits of VLM.
Low moisture carpet cleaning is sometimes referred to as “dry cleaning”, which it is not. Dry carpet cleaning involves spreading a dry compound, about the consistency of corn meal onto the carpet. The compound is then worked into the carpet, allowing it to absorb any soil and dirt present which can then be vacuumed away. This method can be effective and leaves behind no moisture or residue, but unless a very thorough vacuuming is done a lot of the dry compound can remain and cause build up in the carpet.
VLM is also frequently compared with Hot Water Extraction cleaning; more commonly know as “steam cleaning”. HWE is the most aggressive form of carpet cleaning and the best method on carpets that can be described as trashed. In this process, hot water usually combined with some sort of cleaning agent is forced under pressure into the carpeting and then extracted using powerful industrial vacuums, either truck mounted or in a portable machine. This is done with a tool known as a “wand”. HWE provides the most thorough and deepest cleaning for carpets. However, due to the high volume of water, carpets can be left saturated with water if proper care is not taken during extraction. Also, the volume of water and high heat can damage some carpets.
Low moisture carpet cleaning combines some of the best qualities of the other two methods. With VLM, cleaning agents are mixed with water and then lightly sprayed onto the carpeting. There is just enough moisture present to activate the cleaning agents and interact with the soil. After the detergent is allowed enough time to dwell, a rotary floor machine or another machine known as a cylindrical rotating brush machine is used to work the cleaning agents into the carpet and loosen the soil and other contaminants. Now with this method, some of the soil and detergent is removed by the brushes or pad, but quite a bit can remain in the carpet. By using encapsulating cleaning agents, this method becomes extremely effective. After, agitating the carpet the remaining soil becomes “encapsulated” in the cleaning agents as it dries. The dried detergent and soil can then be easily removed during a thorough post vacuuming.
While all carpet cleaning methods can be effective and have their strengths, low moisture carpet cleaning is very effective way to regularly maintain your carpets without using excessive moisture. Keep in mind this method is best used on commercial carpeting or any other short pile carpet. It is also best used carpet that would not be described as trashed.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find the information helpful in deciding which cleaning method is best when choosing a carpet maintenance plan.