Many people think that all carpet cleaners pretty much do the exact same thing. But that’s not always the case. There are even a lot of “professional” cleaners who still use older technology that might appear to make your carpet cleaner when it is in fact just making it worse. Let’s take a look at the difference between:
- Dry cleaning
- Portable cleaners
- Hot water extraction (steam cleaning)
Dry Cleaning Carpet
Some carpet cleaners use what is called a dry cleaning or ‘bonnet’ cleaning technique. The way that this works is a rotary buffer is placed on top of a large cotton pad that looks much like an old string mop or dust mop. They will often add some dry cleaning agents and occasionally some type of spray. The buffer then spins rapidly on top of the carpet and appears to “buff” the dirt and grime away. Do not be fooled!
In fact, what is actually happening is that the buffing action actually grinds the dirt, grime and stains deeper into the carpet. While it might look better initially your carpets will quickly look dirty again as the soiled material works its way back up to the surface. In addition, this shortens the life of your carpet as that dirt and grime cause increased wear and tear on your carpet. Not only that, the actual buffing motion can damage the carpet material due to the weight and violent spinning motion that it performs.
Portable Carpet Cleaners
Ah, the dreaded trip to the store to pick up a DIY floor cleaning option! First, you rent a smelly, beat up unit that may (or may not) work. It comes with a tangled mass of tubes and hoses. Finally, you aren’t sure exactly what you need so you buy several different bottles of cleaning chemicals. You lug the entire monstrosity back to your house or apartment, up the stairs and then the real fun begins.
After several hours you’ve wrestled this “portable” cleaner into every nook and cranny. After spilling hot, dirty water all over yourself you begin to wonder, “Is this worth saving a few dollars?!?” The short answer is, probably not.
While portable cleaners can do a serviceable job at getting some dirt and grime out of your carpet they are a lot of work and hassle. And despite your best efforts they are still going to fall short of what a professional industrial carpet cleaning system is capable of.
While they offer a form of “steam cleaning” they often do not get the water hot enough to maximize the cleaning agent. Perhaps more importantly, they are also not nearly as effective at extracting the hot water and chemicals from your carpet. That means you are left with more residue in your carpet and much longer drying times.
Steam Cleaning / Hot Water Extraction
Professional hot water extraction, more commonly referred to as “steam cleaning” is the most effective method of getting clean carpet. Why is that and how does it work?
There are several reasons beginning with the key aspect of “steam”. In a professional system the water that is being injected into the carpet is heated to 212 degrees, which is the boiling point of water. Now why does that matter?
The simple answer is that heat can help destroy things. Think of grease, dirt, bacteria and other elements. The hot water helps to break apart the bond that keeps these nasty elements embedded in your carpet. Another significant reason is that it isn’t just the hot water that is doing the cleaning. We use gentle cleaning agents that get injected into the carpet along with the hot water by our cleaning wand. The heat present in hot water extraction actually increases the effectiveness of these carpet cleaning agents by as much as 300%!
But that’s only half the battle. Once the water and cleaning agent is injected into your carpet you want to remove as much as that as possible, leaving behind only the freshly cleaned carpet fibers. That is where the high powered extraction comes in.
Professional cleaning units, like the truck mounted rigs we use at Master’s Touch, feature a big powered vacuum that provides incredible suction capabilities. This helps to remove as much of the cleaning solution as possible and also vastly reduces drying time.
With a rented, “portable” unit you will not be able to get as much of the water back out of your carpet, which means you often have to wait 12-24 hours to walk on your carpet after cleaning. However, with our professional, truck mounted cleaning system we have had some of our customers say in their reviews that it felt almost completely dry to the touch by the time we finished cleaning!
Carpet Cleaning and Your Warranty
Most of the time, when you get new carpeting installed in your home it is covered by a warranty. The warranty might be through the manufacturer (i.e. Stainmaster) or through the reseller (Home Depot for example). However, what most people don’t realize is that the warranty will be voided if the carpet is not properly maintained and receives regular cleaning. In fact, most manufacturers specify that the hot water extraction method of cleaning IS REQUIRED to maintain your warranty. Take Stainmaster for instance:
“To qualify for coverage under all limited warranties outlined in this warranty brochure, you must have had a hot water extraction cleaning performed by a trained, qualified carpet care professional, at least as frequently as every 18 months since the date of your carpet purchase. Failing to do so will void your warranty coverage.”
Wow! If the company manufacturing the carpet insists that you use professional steam cleaning to maintain your warranty then there must be something to it.
Dry Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning
Now, in spite of all the evidence some people might think we are just trying to convince them that our method of cleaning is superior to some of our competitors. And we totally understand…we are often skeptical when someone says “Our way is the best!”. But we do believe we have the best carpet cleaning company in McKinney, Frisco and Plano.
To top it off we really wanted to give you a dynamic visual example of why hot water extraction is so much more effective than the dry cleaning method. Check out this video:
Hopefully this article was helpful and gave you a better idea of what to look for when you are hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Unlike Dalworth or Oxi Clean we are a local, family owned business that has been around for over 20 years. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and your business.
If you are looking for the best carpet cleaning, tile cleaning or water damage restoration services in North Texas please get in touch to get your free estimate!