What are the different carpet cleaning methods?

What are the differences in carpet cleaning methods? And why should you NOT use them in your house? What is the best carpet cleaning method?

Here is a brief description fo the different carpet cleaning methods

The Interim Methods

These methods are used mainly in commercial buildings.  These methods are designed to be fast drying, and are recommended for commercial carpet.  Commerrcial carpet is flat, and has a tight weave.  Hair like fibers make up residential carpet.  These methods are NOT recommended for residential carpet cleaning.

1. Absorbent compound – uses a granular carrier, which is uniformly distributed and when dried, the carpets are vacuumed to remove residues. The compound is designed to attach to soils and is worked into the fibers with counter rotating brushes. The carrier is either cellulose or polymer based. Most companies that use this process use the polymer based product. The cellulose brand has been shown to cause mold growth during laboratory testing. Process has the slowest production rate and is the most expensive.

2. Bonnet carpet cleaning methods – detergent solution is applied to the carpet. A pad attached to a floor machine is worked over the carpet to remove surface spots.  Method is one which dries very quickly. Has a very fast production rate and is one of the least expensive methods.

And more.

3. Dry foam – minimal moisture method where a dense foam is produced through mechanical aeration and distributed via the mechanical brush. The excess foam and suspended soil is extracted using a wet vacuum typically incorporated into the same machine. Fast production rate.

4. Shampoo – shampoo is distributed into the carpet and agitated with a mechanical brush. The shampoo is removed by either a wet or dry vacuum. Fast production rate.

5. Dry encapsulation – involves shampooing the carpet with mechanical brushes. The chemical used modifies the soil to make it invisible to the naked eye. Chemical used dries to an ash and is vacuumed away more so than any other interim method. Still leaves a residue, but when followed up with HWE the carpet is cleaner than with any other interim method. Even when the other methods are followed with HWE. This method has the highest production rate, where one person can clean 6,000 to 10,000 square feet within an hour using one gallon of concentrated chemical. Process works best when allowed to dry for 24 hours before vacuuming, but the facility can be used during the drying time.

All interim methods failed the CRI Seal Of Approval  testing because they do not extract soils. The residue that is vacuumed with dry encap releases from the fibers far better than any other interim method. The ash residue does not re-soil as quickly as the other interim methods.

Hot Water Extraction

6.  Hot Water Extraction-(HWE)  when used with a truck mounted system, is the best carpet cleaning method, and is what is recommended for most carpets. Required by some carpet manufacturers, such as Shaw Mills,  to comply with their warranty requirement.  Truck mounted hot water extraction is also known as “steam cleaning” because the water gets so hot that steam can be seen coming off the carpet wand and the carpet itself.

HWE generally consists of using a pre-treatment agent to loosen the soil and oils from the carpet fibers, which is followed by hot water extraction. Rinsing using powerful jets of hot water that are forced through the carpet fibers, then quickly extracted using high powered vacuum pressure, leaves the carpet fibers clean and fresh.  Carpets will dry in a 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the extraction head used.

What types of equipment are used

Traditional carpet wands, rotary extractors, and other HWE equipment that has been developed over the past few years that make the cleaning even more effective and gives faster drying times.   Hot water extraction can be done with portable equipment, but it is not as effective as using a truck mounted unit. Portables cannot get the same type of heat or vacuum power.  Portables are generally used in high rise situations, or areas where use of the truck mount is prohibited somehow.

In conclusion, although the 5 interim carpet cleaning methods failed to clean according to the industry standard of clean, they were never intended to pass this standard of clean. The standard of clean was written mainly for residential carpet, and the IICRC S 100 standard specifically calls for HWE for all residential carpet cleaning.

IICRC Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification 

The problem with carpet cleaning companies

People try to start carpet cleaning companies that are not properly trained.  Someone goes out and buys a machine, and starts carpet cleaning with no knowledge fo the best carpet cleaning methods, or how to properly use the carpet cleaning machine.  Manufacturers and suppliers of both carpet cleaning equipment and chemicals are not qualified to train people how to clean carpets.

They may have studies regarding their products, their findings are usually from in house testing, and are not third party certified. Any manufacturer will claim their products are the best, but the studies they are using to back up their claims have not been completed by an unbiased third party.

Call someone who knows about all the different carpet cleaning methods. We can discuss which one is best carpet cleaning method for your needs, not just their wallet. The professionals at Accent American Inc have over 37 years experience, and have used and tested all of the methods for carpet cleaning.

Experience That Matters

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