There are quite a few different methods for cleaning a carpet and each of them may seem like the perfect solution for your home.
The truth is that removing the dirt and stains from your carpet without damaging its delicate fibers is difficult and really requires the services of a trained professional with the right equipment. Some of these professionals still disagree over the best way to clean these carpets and typically favor either dry cleaning or steam cleaning as the technique they choose. Understanding the differences between these can help you decide which one of them is right for you and your carpets.
Dry cleaning is a relatively recent entry into the carpet-cleaning profession and basically relies on specialized powdered chemicals to act as the cleaning agent. These chemicals are either applied completely dry or slightly moist depending on the company. They are sprinkled onto the surface of the carpeting and then worked down into the fibers with a specialized machine or a brush. Once applied, they need to sit in the carpeting for a short period of time to loosen the dirt. They are then removed from the carpet with a vacuum along with the dirt. These dry cleaning agents are mostly sold directly to consumers although they are starting to be used by commercial carpet cleaning companies as well.
While this dry cleaning system might seem like a better solution than steam cleaning, there are a few potential problems you might encounter. Because the agent is applied dry, it is hard to actually deliver it deep enough into the carpet to be completely effective. This is important since most of the dirt in your carpet starts off on the surface but quickly sinks deeper as the carpet is walked on. These dry agents do a fair job of removing this surface dirt but miss most of the deeper particles.
The other challenge with most dry cleaning products is that they are very hard to remove completely from a carpet and will leave residue behind. This trace amount of cleaner adheres tightly to the carpet fibers and will actually remove the dirt from shoes traveling across the carpet. In time this residue can actually result in dirtier carpets as it collects more and more dirt on the surface of the carpet.
Steam cleaning presents none of these problems and relies on a natural cleaning agent for removing dirt and stains from your carpet. This liquid cleaning solution is super heated to a very high temperature as the first step in the process. It is then injected deep into the carpet fibers at high pressure by a specialized nozzle that turns it into steam. The combination of the cleaning agent and the high temperature loosens the dirt in the carpet, which makes it easy to remove. The final step in the steam cleaning process utilizes a high-powered vacuum that is used to remove both the cleaning solution and the dirt from the carpet. This process is so efficient that over 95% of the liquid used in the cleaning process is recovered, leaving your carpets looking and smelling great. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes for the average sized room, which can be walked on as soon as the cleaning is finished. Steam cleaning is also the process endorsed by the major carpeting manufacturers who recommend it for keeping their carpets in the best shape possible.