Lets get technical, shall we? Were about to tackle some serious stuff when it comes to carpet cleaning techniques.
Should you go with dry cleaning or steam cleaning?
Is one method better than the other? Are these even the right terms? Well, as usual, these terms only hint at part of the issue at hand. Both dry and steam are incomplete and inaccurate terms. Neither are technical terms that properly describe carpet cleaning methods.
There are actually four methods of carpet cleaning approved by the IICRC, the worlds most recognized body of certification for carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Method 1: Hot Water Extraction
Otherwise known as steam cleaning, hot water extraction is the process most people are probably familiar with. Hot water extraction is the correct technical term, not steam cleaning. Actual steam is not used at all. A hot water solution is produced and immediately recovered, creating a flushing action on the carpet.
The smallest portable machine rented at the grocery store could be called a steam cleaner, but a powerful truck-mounted machine is obviously more capable of doing a thorough cleaning job.
However, the biggest and most important difference is in the person cleaning the carpet. A trained technician will know what pressure to use, what cleaning products to use, and how to get maximum soil removal and maximum spot removal without over-wetting the carpet or leaving a sticky residue behind. The horror stories of carpet being wet for days are due to operator error, not because steam or hot water extraction caused it.
Hot water extraction applied properly will remove more soil than any other method. Further, anything that has seeped into the backing such as coffee, other beverages, or urine can be flushed out with hot water extraction. This method can also be used in lightly soiled and maintenance situations, as it is very versatile.
More methods to come in our next blog!