Our carpets keep our feet warm, make a home feel homely and keep the noise down. They are also the first line of abuse in any home as people walk in dirt from outside, pets lay on them and various dirt and bodily fluids are spilt onto our carpets. Mostly are just accidents, some are just the passage of time, like oils from cooking or airborne dirt from living in a city. At some point those carpets need to be cleaned and finding the best carpet cleaning methods for your home is an important decision.
Before we begin recommending the best carpet cleaning methods it is vital that you are reminded the ultimate cleaning method that should be used daily or at a minimum, every other day…
Yes, this is really the best cleaning solution you can do for your carpets. It keeps the fibres from getting dirt stuck deep down and when spills and stains occur, they can be easily cleaned without the rest of your carpet looking bad.
If you are reading this article because you want to do this DIY style the next vital detail is; never rub a stain, always always always dab with a clean white cloth and plenty of cold water. You’ll be amazed at how it brings out the marks and keeps them looking good. (Read some DIY solutions on How to Clean Wool Carpets here)
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Types of cleaning
There are a few different ways your carpets can be cleaned and whether you are going with a professional or if you are doing it yourself you should know what method works for the solution you are aiming to achieve.
The main types of cleaning methods are:
- Steam Cleaning
- Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning
- Shampooing Carpet Cleaning
- Dry Cleaning Carpet Cleaning
- Foam/Powder Carpet Cleaning
Now we will always recommend that you seek professional help first if you are unsure about carpet fibres or even cleaning methods as using the wrong method can result in your carpet falling apart and looking terrible.
For example, Sisal, Seagrass, Coir and Jute are all specialist fibres that shouldn’t get wet and don’t like hot steam.
Please check with a professional if you are unsure.
Before any carpet cleaning is done – vacuum your carpets with a powerful vacuum 2-3 times to ensure all loose dirt is removed.
As it sounds, this method uses a steamer that sprays hot steam over the surface of a carpet and kills off bacteria and removes surface dirt. This is a quick easy DIY way to rejuvenate your carpet fibres and also results in a short drying time.
The steam comes through a towel as it moves across the carpet, which absorbs the majority of the loosened dirt from the surface. Once the carpet is dried, vacuum the remaining dirt from the surface that the steam cleaner loosened to ensure a clean carpet.
Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning
The majority of professionals use hot water extraction carpet cleaning for cleaning residential properties as it is a deep cleaning method which gets down to the bottom fibres of the carpet.
After a vacuum, a precondition carpet cleaning solution is sprayed over the carpet and left to work on it. Then the carpet is cleaned a number of times by forcing hot clean water into the carpet and sucking it back out again. This is very effective at removing stains, odours and rejuvenates the ‘spring’ of the carpet.
There is a need to air dry the carpet afterwards and this can take anywhere from 2 hours for short pile, and 4 hours + if you are using a well-ventilated room with air dryers. Longer if not.
Shampooing Carpet Cleaning
This method of cleaning usually involves a machine which has bristles on it and agitates the soap into the fibres for a deep clean. The process uses a variety of soaps within the carpet which if not rinsed out will result in your carpets getting dirty very quickly again.
To prevent that, a lot of water is needed to ‘flush’ the shampoo out leaving carpets very wet and requires plenty of drying time. Note, this is unsuitable for high traffic areas as you cannot walk over the wet carpets until they are dry.
Dry-Cleaning Carpet Cleaning
This method is very good for high traffic areas and will be dry in the shortest period of time. The carpet cleaner uses dry chemicals and foams to agitate the fibres, and then they are vacuumed away.
There is a serious consideration for these chemicals which leave a strong odour left afterwards which can cause those suffering from breathing problems to have serious reactions. High ventilation must be used and anyone with allergies to the chemicals should be warned.
This is a fast and effective method but does have serious effects on some people.
Foam/Dry Powder Carpet Cleaners
There are products know as encapsulation foamers which are sprayed onto a carpet and then the chemical foams up resulting in the dirt being ‘encapsulated’ in the foam bubbles.
This takes around 10-15 minutes to work and then is vacuumed off.
The dry powder works in a similar fashion, working to loosen stubborn dirt, however, be aware that the solutions are not always removed from vacuuming which often results in the carpets getting dirty quickly afterwards due to the sticky residue of the chemicals attracting the dirt.
What’s the Best Solution
The majority of professional cleaners recommend hands down that Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning is one of the best carpet cleaning methods for the majority of carpets.
This is because the water, which is heated to 90 degrees Celcius plus, kills bacteria, carpet mites, bugs, mildew and molds and when done professionally, won’t leave any shampoo residues within the carpet fibres.
This results in a healthier clean, less stress on your carpet, removal of odours and a more allergy-friendly home.
The action of preconditioning first and then the high pressure heated water into the carpet with a powerful suction afterwards leaves a longer-lasting clean.
There should be a mention about cleaning carpets yourself. There are machines you can hire, and there are carpet cleaning chemicals you can use.
Please bear in mind, that the machines on hire do not provide as high a suction as a professional cleaner does, and if the professional cleaning service you just hired to clean your home arrives with a small suction machine our advice would be to ask them not to carry out the work.
You need a good amount of clean water to flush out residue chemicals and soaps and loosen dirt but more importantly, you need your carpets as dry as possible to ensure you don’t have damp floors for days afterwards.
Knowing what carpets you have, the type of soiling and what type of process you require for a good deep down clean is all part of the process of deciding how to clean your carpets. Knowing what the Best Carpet Cleaning Methods are can also be of help when you discuss your ideas with a professional or whether you are deciding to do the job by yourself. We recommend that you use a professional when it involves rooms that are used often so that the time you are waiting for the carpet to dry is short and the best, most hygienic result is achieved.