Should you go “dry” or “steam” 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.
This article will give you an overview of the 4 methods of carpet cleaning that are approved by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s 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 that most 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.
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 is due to operator error, not because “steam” or “hot water extraction” caused it.
Method #2: Absorbent Pad
Also known as bonnet cleaning, this method employs a round pad that spins across the surface of the carpet, absorbing the soil. A solution is applied to the carpet or the pad to aid in releasing soils. This is a method that some may classify as “dry cleaning” although water based products are used in almost all “dry cleaning” systems, therefore the term dry cleaning is not technical and would not be desired. Absorbent pad cleaning is not a deep cleaning method. It should only be used in lightly soiled situations.
Method #3: Dry Compound
This method uses a powder that has been treated with detergents, water, and solvents. The powder compound is sprinkled onto the carpet and a brush with cylindrical brushes is used to work the powder into the carpet pile. The solution that is in the powder releases the soil. The soil is then absorbed into the absorbent powder. This method should only be used in lightly soiled and maintenance situations.
Method # 4: Shampoo or Dry Foam
In this method, a shampoo or foam is generated and worked into the carpet with a rotary brush or cylindrical brush machine. The shampoo or foam releases the soil. The soil is then vacuumed with the machine or allowed to dry and removed with a conventional vacuum cleaner. This method should be used in only lightly soiled situations and maintenance cleaning. When using shampoo, great care should be taken to avoid leaving a sticky residue on the carpet.
Quality Carpet Cleaning is experienced in all methods of cleaning. Our main carpet cleaning Memphis method of choice is hot water extraction cleaning with powerful truckmounted.