Dry Vs Steam Carpet Cleaning

Dry Carpet Cleaning

The phrase dry carpet cleaning can have a broad spectrum of meanings.  Most people consider using their own domestic vacuum cleaner at home a dry cleaning method simply because there is no water involved.  In truth however, while a pre-vacuum in this sense may be applied to remove larger, bulkier materials, dry cleaning from a professional cleaning service will most likely use wet agents of some sort.  This wetting agent is most likely a chemical that is applied to help loosen up dirt and grime from the carpet fibres that is often held down by the grease and oil which naturally accumulates (yuck right!).  A professional machine then uses pads (normally made out of cotton) that rotate over the carpet releasing the dirt and grime.  The pads are normally also wet down so the whole process wasn’t as dry as you thought was it?

Steam Carpet Cleaning (or is it?  See below)

Want to know a secret?  To complicate matters even further, what people call steam carpet cleaning doesn’t actually use steam.  It does however use hot water though not normally at a temperature that will boil it (one hundred degrees Celsius, two hundred and twelve degreed Fahrenheit or for all you science nerds out there three hundred and seventy three degrees Kelvin).   This method is actually called hot water extraction.  This makes it not just a safer method than people think but also one that is less likely to harm the carpet as certain materials don’t like the intense heat to that extent.

Instead of steam, the hot water is actually sprayed with sufficient pressure to loosen the dirt and grime while the heat, not too hot to cause steam, actually loosens the carpet fibres further allowing the removal of foreign materials.   Before all this, chemicals such as soaps and detergents can also be sprayed onto the carpet first to loosen any unwanted materials making the process far easier and more efficient.  This provides a thorough cleaning process and is often the preferred method of professionals to get a desired results.  THe down size is the wetting method can take hours to dry, and the thicker the carpet, the longer the drying period before anybody can reuse or walk in the area.

Real steam cleaning is also actually a thing but is not as popular or as widely used as the hot water extraction above.  The water needs to be boiled and while this heat is good for killing bacteria and other germs in the carpet, isn’t always a better cleaning method.  Some materials may contract and recede under the intense temperature, making it harder to extract the dirt and grime while and is not always the best solution for many carpets.  Further, the intense heat can actually set foreign materials that leave marks such as stains, making them set and harder to remove.  With some practice and knowledge you can identify which carpets are better steam cleaned (normally synthetic materials) but it is not usually worth the investment for these particular fibres, especially if you are not a professional.

Any professional carpet cleaning business will generally provide a steam cleaning service, by which most often will be a hot water extraction cleaning service. 

When to use each different method

There are certain number of factors to choose before deciding on a method for cleaning.  These include:

          – Cleaning efficiency (hot water extraction cleaning is more efficient for the time)

          – Drying time (obviously the dry method here reduces any drying time)

          – Carpet type

          – Pest and germ control (steam cleaning will kill all the bad beasties more thoroughly and quickly).

The best advice is to speak to your carpet cleaning professional and they can work with you to decide what receives the best results for yourself.

Should I buy a steam cleaner of how water extraction cleaner

We generally do not recommend this unless we are sure people have had some experience with the units in the past.  Experience Is required to get good quality carpets from a cheap steam or hot water extraction carpet cleaner.  The process is also made harder unless you are willing to buy a decent cleaning device which are quite costly, a price which you would find it much cheaper to employ a cleaning professional to do the work themselves and give the floor a deep clean on an annual or bi annual basis.  Without the experience and spending valued dollars on a decent cleaning device, you may find you have spent all that money without getting the results you thought you would.