Zerorez Blog

Best Way to Clean Carpets: Pros and Cons of Carpet Cleaning Methods

What is the best way to clean carpets and area rugs?  We hear that question a lot, and we know it can be a bit confusing because most people just don’t think much about cleaning their carpets until they actually need to have the work done!  We employ over twenty technicians who have worked using every technique available, and they have some very strong opinions about various carpet cleaning methods.  Here is a summary of typical carpet cleaning methods and the pros and cons they have identified:

best way to clean carpets girl and her dog

Hot Water Extraction/Steam Cleaning Carpets
The carpet is cleaned using water heated close to boiling. A pre-treat product may be used to help liquefy oily soils, and the solution is pressure injected into the carpet fibers and then suctioned out. This method is recommended by Shaw and Mohawk, the number one and two carpet manufacturers in the U.S.  Zerorez uses this method, but does not use soap or detergent to pretreat the carpet because our alkaline water solution actually takes the place of the surfactant used by other carpet cleaners.

PROS

  1. Deep cleans the carpet fibers
  2. Is the most effective in restoring the original feel of the fibers and leaving them soft and pliant
  3. High heat and pressure provide a more effective and sanitary cleaning process
  4. Conforms to carpet manufacturer warranty requirements

CONS

  1. Higher cost factors due to expensive equipment required, generally a truck mounted system
  2. Requires technicians to be very well trained and prepared to work with special equipment
  3. Can require longer dry times if too much moisture is applied or there is poor air circulation
  4. Potential surfactant/chemical residue left in the fibers if not fully rinsed and extracted

Cleaning Carpets with an Absorbent Pad
Carpet must be vacuumed, and a chemical spray is then applied. The chemical solution must dwell on carpet for several minutes, then a rotary buffer with an absorbent pad is spun on the carpet surface at 100 to 300 rpm. The chemical solution and soils are then picked up by the absorbent pad.

PROS

  1. Fast, simple, and inexpensive
  2. Reasonably good results if carpet is very low pile (indoor/outdoor carpet) and relatively clean

CONS

  1. Cleans only the top third of the carpet fibers, cannot reach below that
  2. Can be abrasive on the carpet fibers when rotary machine spins on the surface
  3. No suction – leaves dirt and chemicals to accumulate at the bottom of the carpet fibers
  4. Surfactant residue may leave fibers stiff and “crunchy”  

Dry Cleaning Carpets
A dry powder with solvents and chemical cleaning agents is spread over the carpet and worked into the fibers with a special machine with counter rotating brushes, allowed to dwell on the carpet for 10 – 15 minutes, and then vacuumed up.

PROS

  1. Very simple process, no technical knowledge or training is required of the technician
  2. Fast drying. Carpet will be ready for use in under an hour.

CONS

  1. Powder will be left in the carpet fibers to build up over time
  2. Does not clean deep down into the lower portion of the carpet fibers
  3. Not effective for extensive soiling, no heat is used to sanitize fibers

Rotary/Dry Foam Method to Clean Carpets
A foaming surfactant is applied to the carpet, then whipped into a foam and worked into the carpet fibers with the rotating brushes of a special machine.  After a short dwell time, foam will be extracted using a vacuum.

PROS

  1. Simple to apply, little training of technician is required
  2. Reasonably dry process so dry time is quick

CONS

  1. Cannot remove soil below the surface, surfactant residue will remain in the fibers
  2. Cannot achieve high temperatures to help sanitize fibers
  3. Brushes my cause damage or wear to the carpet fibers

Do It Yourself Portable Carpet Cleaning Machine

PROS

  1. Inexpensive

CONS

  1. Homeowner or business owner does all the work!
  2. Equipment is underpowered and does not achieve sufficient heat or suction to do the job
  3. Heavy residue generally remains leading to rapid re-soiling and chemical products left in fibers

Conclusion
Our technicians all agree that hot water extraction cleaning provides the most effective clean.  There are occasions when you may want a very quick, brush off the dirt, topical clean that can be provided by the other four methods, but rapid re-soiling should be expected.  The large carpet manufacturers recommend hot water extraction, and some even require it in order to maintain their carpet warranties. The biggest negatives to hot water extraction are the potential for over wetting the fibers and the potential for soap or residue build-up, which can lead to rapid re-soiling and potential adverse reactions to the chemical residues left in the carpet fibers.

The most thorough and effective carpet cleaning method is hot water extraction. This is the method that Zerorez uses. What makes Zerorez unique in the field of carpet cleaning is that it’s the only company that uses a patented, soap and chemical-free, cleaning technology. So if you are looking for a company that uses the most effective and thorough carpet cleaning method look no further than Zerorez. You can reach them by calling 866-937-6739 or online at www.zerorezsocal.com.