Haley Gaetani | June 07 2016
Is your carpet looking particularly dirty? As the weather increasingly gets warmer, are there a bunch of tracked in mud stains popping up all over your floor? It sounds like your carpet needs a good professional cleaning. So you go online, search some companies, and realize you’ve never noticed there’s a difference between the cleaning processes each company has to offer until now. You think to yourself, how am I going to figure out what method is best for me? Simply start off by asking yourself, “What’s my definition of clean?” Hopefully this will shed some light on the topic.
For starters, dry cleaning and hot water extraction are the two different ways your carpet can be cleaned. Within the dry cleaning category, they’re several different methods in which it can be done. I’ll explain them all so you can gain an understanding, and we’ll cover hot water extraction as well.
One way your carpet can be dry cleaned is by using a dust-like product that functions similarly to a kitchen sponge. This product is sprinkled onto your carpet to absorb the dirt on its surface. Then the carpet is vacuumed so the absorbed dirt can be removed. This method will leave behind some dust and dirt within your carpet, which probably isn’t the best to breathe in.
Let’s go back to your definition of cleaning and imagine this scenario for comparison: You’ve already skipped a day or two from washing your hair and it needs to be done, but you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes and you don’t have time to shower and get ready all over again. You decide to spray some dry shampoo onto the roots of your hair and then shake some baby powder over your whole head in hopes of making your hair look less oily. Does it look better? Probably a little bit. Does it meet your standards of clean? Probably not.
Another dry cleaning option for carpet is by using carbonated cleaning bubbles with minimal moisture. The carbonated bubbles are applied to the carpet and then the carpet is buffed, which rubs everything around in attempts to clean its surface. This method has no way of removing the solution from the carpet after it’s buffed, and it doesn’t get rinsed out either.
Again, think back to your definition of clean and imagine this second scenario: You noticed your favorite jeans haven’t been washed in a while and there are several dirty spots on them. You don’t have time to put them into the washer machine to clean them properly so you moisten a paper towel with club soda and you scrub the stains a little to make them less noticeable. Then, you run the paper towel over the entire length of the pants for good measure. They’re slightly damp so you throw them into the dryer for a couple minutes with a dryer sheet to make them smell better. Are they in better condition than before? Yup. Are they up to par with your definition of clean? Most likely not.
The third, and last, way to dry clean your carpet is by using a solution that has an oxygenated booster combined with an encapsulator. The oxygen is supposed to break up dirt and the encapsulator forms into sodium crystals which trap the dirt inside of them. Next, a machine with two counter-rotating brushes is used to lift the debris from the carpet. Keep in mind, no matter the technique used to brush a carpet; it still isn’t the best way to make sure the dirt is extracted.
As you can see, these three methods tend to leave dirt behind, chemicals and dust were never thoroughly rinsed out and removed, and no hot water was used (which is the best way to make sure something is completely hygienic and safe.) In conclusion, it’s probably better to use these methods for in-between cleanings, as they prove to be limiting in many aspects of the process.
Now, I’m sure you’re asking, “What’s hot water extraction?” Hot water extraction is a method that uses a powerful truck mounted machine to produce a deep, thorough clean within your carpet. A pre-conditioner is sprayed and groomed into the carpet to agitate and loosen up dirt. By using a carpet cleaning wand, a hot water solution is applied and immediately recovered, creating a flushing action throughout your carpet. Heated water, pressure, and suction used during this process are the primary components to this type of cleaning which results in a clean carpet with no residue left behind. The cleaning products mixed into the solution are secondary to the hot water. Unlike dry cleaning, hot water extraction relies heavily on simply hot water; what can be more “green,” than that?
One more time, let’s think back to your definition of clean. If you’re cleaning a used lasagna pan, are you going to barely turn on your sink faucet, use cold water, and just let it sit there? No, because it’ll still have food stuck to it and it won’t get rinsed out. Yuck! So what you’re actually going to do is turn your faucet on all the way, turn the temperature to hot, add a bit of detergent, use your sink sprayer to create even more pressure, and then rinse it out when you’re done, right? Of course, because that coincides with your definition of clean.
I’m sure your last question goes along the lines of, “Why do prices fluctuate between companies that both use hot water extraction?” Keep in mind, the process can be the same but the execution of it can fluctuate tremendously. It all comes down to the ethics of the company and what they’re trying to achieve. A reliable company with good morals will be worth the price, trust me.
Keep in mind, the Oriental rug cleaning process is a whole separate ordeal, so we’ll get that info to you in a different post ASAP.
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