Carpet CleaningCarpet cleaning is available in many forms: do-it-yourself, wet cleaning, dry cleaning, or hiring a professional. The type you choose will depend on how much cleaning you need and the type of carpeting you're cleaning. Also, significant differences between commercial carpet cleaning and residential carpet cleaning means that the carpet cleaner chosen will be different.
For spot cleaning in homes, many spray-on solutions are available, either as foaming agents or liquid. You spray the cleaner onto the carpet, scrub in some cases, and then vacuum up when dry. This approach works well when a stain is caught quickly and is small. While these cleaners are not the most effective, they are sufficient for small, minor spills.
Shampoo and bonnet cleaners spray a liquid cleaning solution into your carpet, and work it into the carpeting via either a rotary brush method (shampoo) or the bonnet, which rotates horizontally on the carpet. The cloth bonnet can be rinsed out and turned over, so it can be used multiple times, until it's too dirty to come reasonably clean. With both these methods you're using the motorised cleaner to infuse water and a cleaning agent into the carpet, rub it around, and then wait for it to dry.
The advantage to these is that they sink deep into the carpet, and the water helps spread the cleaning agent thoroughly through the carpeting. The disadvantage is that the water, before it dries, attracts dirt. Once the carpeting is dry, you vacuum everything up and your carpeting should look like new!
Dry shampooing, typically used for commercial premises like schools and businesses with low-pile carpet, is very similar to bonnet cleaning except that no water is used. The powder cleaning agent does attract some dirt while it's on the carpet (usually around 15-30 minutes), though not as much as the wet method. Some claim, however, that the dry method removes less dirt.
Steam cleaning can be used by either homeowners or professionals. Steam cleaners can be rented for home use, but are more typically used by professionals. Hot water, mixed with a cleaner, is sprayed under pressure into the carpeting. Then, almost immediately afterwards, the water/cleaner mixture is sucked up with a vacuum wand. Since this method employs heat as well as water and cleaner, it typically picks up more dirt than the other two methods.
Most professionals advocate professionally steam-cleaning your carpets at least once per year. Besides the obvious benefit of keeping dirt out of your carpet, it keeps the nap from flattening and keeps the colour fresh.
Steam cleaning is generally the most expensive method of cleaning your carpets. Whether you rent a cleaner, buy one for home use, or hire a professional, steam carpet cleaning is generally reserved for whole-house use, which means moving furniture around, then back again after the carpeting has dried.
The shampoo and bonnet methods are good for single rooms or larger soiled areas within a house or room, such as traffic patterns. The cleaner-in-a-can method is best reserved for smaller stains.
Newer, environmentally-sensitive cleaners are now available which don't have many of the harsh chemical ingredients used in the past. Look for these options on store shelves for self-cleaning options, or ask professionals about eco-friendly products. Not only are these good for the environment, they're a huge benefit for homes with babies, chemically-sensitive persons, or people with allergies.
Choosing a carpet cleaner isn't difficult once you outline your needs and the area to be cleaned. And a clean, fresh carpet is a definite way to brighten your day!