Who wouldn’t want a magnificent carpet to adorn the floors of their home? Most of us would want to, which is why the carpet making industry is itself thriving.
It is expected that the revenue for the global carpet and rug industry will reach about $45 billion by 2021.
This stat makes it clear that carpets aren’t a small investment rather they are indeed serious investments that needs so much care and attention.
Though there are hundreds of ways to clean your carpet, let us have a look at the best and proven carpet cleaning methods.
Let’s jump in to make your carpets glowing!
Dry Cleaning or Wet Cleaning- Which one to choose?
Carpet cleaning methods can generally be classified into Dry and Wet cleaning.
So what are they?
The wet carpet cleaning method is the one where your carpets are cleaned with liquids and made dry with absorbent pads or dryers.
The dry carpet cleaning method is where chemical powders or foams are applied by special machines with counter-rotating brushes or cylinders.
Each of these two methods has its own pros and cons and choosing the best one for your carpet is purely based on:
- How fast do you need your carpet cleaned?
- How much are you willing to pay?
- How much dirt is there in your carpet?
Hot Water Extraction Cleaning (Steam Cleaning) – For Stubborn Stains or Spills
As the name suggests this is a wet carpet cleaning method that makes use of hot steam to clean your carpet. This method is commonly known as Steam Cleaning too.
Do you believe that the Hot water extraction method for cleaning your carpet does not make use of chemicals? If you do, trust me it’s just a myth!
Though the machine used to clean your carpet do produce steam, it is not just the steam that’s cleaning your carpet rather there are cleaning solutions involved in it.
How does hot water extraction cleaning method work?
The steam cleaning method is a time-consuming process but it’s worth the entire wait. Steam cleaning is a methodical process and it goes like
Step 1- Removing the dry debris: Using a powerful vacuum cleaner the loose debris on the carpet is sucked out clean.
Step 2 – Pre-Spray: Depending on the fiber with which the carpet is made of the suitable cleaning agent is determined. Extreme care is given in this stage to figure out the optimum pH value of the cleaning agent to ensure that it doesn’t damage your carpet.
Step 3- Agitating: Once the pre-spray has been applied the carpet is scrubbed thoroughly to let the pre-spray spread evenly on the carpet. Depending on the size of the carpet a rotary machine or a hand brush may be used.
Step 4- Dwelling: Once the pre-spray is evenly spread it is left to do its work. It is normally left as such for 15 to 30 minutes
Step 5 – Hot Water Extraction: The above discussed 4 steps is more like preparation for the Hot Water Extraction. In this stage, a cleaning solution is sprayed on the carpet mixed with steam and is vacuumed out almost instantly. The cleaning solution will rinse the carpet fibers of the pre-spray, stain, dirt, oil and other debris.
Benefits of Hot Water Extraction Cleaning
- Gets out soiling from deep down in the carpet
- Recommended by carpet manufacturers and experts
- Kills bacteria and mites
- The chemical used in the cleaning process are carefully chosen ensuring your carpet sustains no damage
- The cleaning solution and pre-spray used are not made of harmful chemicals. It is safe to use in places where there are people with allergies and asthma.
- The deep cleaning gives you more lasting results
- No chemical product residue is left behind
Cons of Hot Water Extraction Cleaning
- This method is relatively time-consuming. Depending upon the carpet it can take any time between 12 to 24 hrs for the carpet to dry completely and to use it
- You might have to hire a trained technician to avoid over-wetting of your carpet
- Relatively higher cost
Shampoo Cleaning – For Deeper Cleaning
Shampoo cleaning – The most widely used method for cleaning a carpet!
I believe till date more carpets would have been cleaned using this method than any other methods. Starting with natural soaps and slowly progressing to cleaning with synthetic detergents this method has proven to be effective in cleaning carpets.
Step by Step processes to do shampoo cleaning
Step 1: Remove all the furniture from the carpet and clear the area.
Step 2: Thoroughly vacuum your carpet to remove the loose debris, sand, hairs, and other dirt. While vacuuming, go in straight lines up and down the carpet and then go sideways (Such that it crisscrosses the first line).
Step 3: While you vacuum, identify spots on the carpet that might need some extra cleaning or places where you think the stain is too strong.
Step 4: Fill the solution tank and water tank in the machine with an adequate amount of water and cleaning shampoo. While filling in the soap tank be careful to fill in the soap that goes with the shampoo you are going to use.
Step 5: Using a rotary floor machine with a solution tank and shower feed brushes the carpet is scrubbed thoroughly while the shampoo solution is fed through the shower feed brushes.
While using the shampooer make sure that you use it properly. Shampooers are not made to be pulled back and forth in a random manner like a vacuum cleaner. Making a straight line across the carpet is the most effective way. Don’t hustle, these machines take time to clean the carpets. They aren’t going to be fast like your vacuum cleaner.
Once you are done with the first round empty all the tanks in the shampooer and fill it with cold water and repeat the cleaning. Though shampooers are designed to suck up all the soap and dirt it may not be as effective as it is claimed to be. It is always advised to have a second round of cleaning to finish the job.
Benefits of cleaning with a shampooer
- Depending upon the fiber in the carpet and the strength of stain, various combinations of chemicals can be used to safely target the different stains
- A longer dwell time of chemicals on the carpet fiber
- The agitation in this cleaning method is relatively higher enabling better removal of soil than the other methods
- The lubricating materials in the shampoo protect the carpets from strong brushes of the machine.
Limitation of shampoo cleaning
- The residue build-up (Though not harmful chemicals) are high in shampoo cleaning.
- In this method, the carpet is not rinsed properly rather the foam is sucked up. This may cause the fibers in the carpet to re-soil soon
- Using the wrong brush or shampoos that are not suitable for the carpet may cause distortion to the carpet
- The sticky shampoo residue that’s left in the carpet fibers may attract more dirt
- It takes a relatively long time for the carpet to dry out completely compared to the hot water extraction method
Dry Foam Shampooing Method – For Low Moisture Cleaning
Though this method of carpet cleaning is most commonly mistaken with the carpet shampooing method, the two are as different as chalk and cheese. Unlike the carpet shampooing method, the dry foam shampooing method is a very low moisture cleaning procedure where the job is done by about 90% air and 10% liquid.
Similar to a shampooing machine, the dry foam shampooing machine has a pressure tank in which a mixture of water and shampoo is placed. This machine houses a compressor that converts the shampoo and water mix into a thick foam which is then dispensed onto the carpet through a revolving cylindrical brush.
This revolving brush is made such that uniform bubbles of foam are slowly worked on to the carpet ensuring that each individual fiber of the carpet is thoroughly cleaned. Once the foam has been dispensed evenly, it is left as such to dry. Once the foam dries it is sucked out of the carpet with the help of a vacuum cleaner.
Steps to Dry Foam Clean a Carpet
Step 1: Vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove any loose debris or dirt and note areas where the stains are strong
Step 2: Mix the dry foam solution following the directions of the manufacturer. Be careful enough to stick clearly to the manufacturers’ instruction
Step 3: Run the machine thoroughly through the carpet in straight lines
Step 4: Once the foam has dried vacuum the carpet thoroughly
Advantages of Dry Foam Shampooing Method:
1. It helps to cover a large area in a shorter duration of time.
2. This method of cleaning makes use of 90% of air and 10% of water making it a water-efficient method of cleaning a carpet. There is only a little danger of saturating the carpet because the moisture content is low. Low moisture content has an additional advantage of being able to minimize the problems that are commonly associated with overwetting.
3. It is a better choice for carpets that are old and soiled that you want to get as clean as possible.
4. It’s quite easy to rent a cleaning machine and the rent is affordable too.
5. Less moisture means faster drying time.
6. This cleaning method is effective when it comes to getting rid of dirt on the surface fibers.
Disadvantages of Dry Foam Shampooing Method:
1. Only average levels of soil can be collected in this method.
2. This method of cleaning is only suitable for surface cleaning of carpets and not for deep cleaning.
3. Extraction capability of the machine is very important as there is a huge possibility of excessive build-up of sand and dirt on the carpet.
Dry Capet Cleaning – For Water Free Cleaning
Dry carpet cleaning method involves the use of chemical compounds and cleaning agents to clean a carpet without the use of much water. This method is found to be effective in removing dirt, stains, sand, debris, pollens and other allergens from your carpet.
There are quite a few effective dry cleaning methods, let’s have a look at them.
Using A Dry Compound – For Quick & Easy Cleaning
A slightly moist cleaning compound is used in this cleaning method. The moist cleaning compound is thoroughly brushed to the fibers of the carpet and is left as such for 15-20 minutes.
The dirt and allergens in the carpet will get attracted to the chemical compound and bind with it. The carpet is thoroughly vacuumed to suck out the cleaning compound along with the dirt, debris, and other allergens.
Extreme care has to be done while vacuuming, you don’t want to leave the compound and the dirt in the carpet.
Encapsulation Method – For Carpets That are Big
Encapsulation method as the name suggests encapsulates the dirt on your carpet into dry residues. In order to enhance the cleaning processes, polymers are often mixed with detergents or other cleaning solutions.
The polymer mixed with detergents is applied to the carpet, thoroughly brushed, and is left as such for a while. This mixture begins to dry and crystallize while holding the dust and dirt in them. These crystals can then be easily removed by the help of a powerful vacuum cleaner.
Benefits of the Encapsulation Method:
- Takes very less time than the hot steam extraction method
- The carpet will easily dry within an hour so
- While the hot steam extraction method uses about 20 gallons of water per 1000 square meter, the encapsulation method uses only about 4 gallons per 1000 square meter
- Relatively an easier method to use than the hot steam extraction method
- This is an environmentally friendly method as the polymers used are green-rated
- Encapsulation stretches carpet extraction frequencies
Encapsulating methods are generally expensive and are commonly preferred by hotels, offices and other commercial spaces.
DIY Dry Cleaning methods – For Home Carpets
If you are looking for something simple, something you can do by yourself at home this one is for you.
There are lots of dry cleaning powder and foams available on the web or in the offline market. All that you need to do is to spray it on your carpet, brush in thoroughly and let it dry for 30 minutes.
Use your vacuum cleaner to suck the dry crystals out of your carpet. Make sure that you vacuum the carpet thoroughly and do not let any chemical residue on the carpet.
Effective Home Made Carpet Cleaners – For Cost Effective Cleaning
Let’s say you had a small spill on your carpet after a party and you wish to clean it by yourself rather calling in an expensive carpet cleaner, these methods are made for you!
1. Vinegar – The mighty cleaning agent
a. For light carpet stains: Mix 2 tablespoon of common salt in 1/2 cup of white vinegar and rub the stains with this mixture. Once the solution dries vacuum your carpet.
b. For darker stains: Add 2 tablespoon of borax to the above mixture and follow the same steps.
c. For coffee and tea stains: Combine equal parts white vinegar and water and blot the stain using a soft cloth.
d. For ground-in stains: Make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon corn-starch, using a dry cloth rub this paste to the stain and let it dry for 2 to 3 days. Once it is dried, vacuum it thoroughly.
e. For fruit and fruit juice stains: Mix 1 tablespoon laundry detergent with 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar and combine with two cups of water. Rub the mixture to the stain and blot.
2. Shaving cream – The handy carpet cleaner
Shaving creams are found to be extremely effective against stains from juices, oil, and grease.
Blot the stain and pat the area with a wet cloth or sponge. Squirt some shaving cream on the stain and wipe it off thoroughly with a damp cloth or sponge.
You might have to repeat these steps depending on the toughness of the stain.
3. Corn Starch – Best against ink spill
Mix corn starch with cold milk to make a paste and rub it on to the ink stain. Let the paste remain on the ink stain for a few hours. Once the paste is dry brush it off and vacuum the spot.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide – For stains, you can’t identify
Not able to identify what caused the stain? Worry not, for hydrogen peroxide can be a savior!
Mix a teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with a little cream of tartar or a drop of non-gel toothpaste.
Using a soft cloth rub the stain with this paste and rinse the area thoroughly. The stain should be gone.
If it hasn’t, repeat the process a few times until the stain is gone.
Conclusion: Carpet Cleaning Methods
Cleaning a carpet is not a walk in the park.
It is always advisable to have a regular cleaning schedule rather let the dirt pile up and spend one full day cleaning it.
The cleaning methods discussed in the earlier sections have been shortlisted from a rather big list of proven methods, with a focus on helping you get the job done in minimum cost and time.
Do let us know your comments!