Carpet Cleaning for beautification, and the removal of stains, dirt, grit, sand, and allergens is achieved by several carpet cleaning methods; both traditional and modern.

Clean carpets are more visually pleasing, longer-lasting, and healthier than poorly maintained carpets.

Sanitary Maintenance magazine reports that carpet cleaning is widely misunderstood, and chemical developers have only within recent decades created new carpet-care technologies. Particularly, encapsulation and other green technologies work better, are easier to use, require less training, save more time and money, and lead to less resoiling than prior methods.

The professional carpet cleaning methods industry; is primarily educated and unofficially governed via Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification IICRC. It is a nonprofit certifying body for the specialized fabric-cleaning industry that sets modern carpet cleaning methods and standards. It accepts five basic dry and wet professional cleaning methodologies.

Steam Cleaning Carpet Cleaning Methods

In high-pressure Steam Extraction; after preconditioning with analkaline agent for synthetic carpets (an acidic solution is required for woolen or man made fibres). Agitation with a grooming broom or an automatic scrubbing machine, and appropriate dwell time. A pressurized manual or automatic cleaning tool (such as a wand) passes over the surface several times to thoroughly rinse out all preconditioner, residue, and particulates. If an alkaline detergent is used on an woolen fibre, use of an acitec acid solution will restore neutral fibre.pH. The acid rinse neutralizes the alkaline residues, and can contribute to softening cleaned fabrics.

Rather than soaps, the steam-cleaning system uses detergent-based solutions that dry to a powder or crystal. The surface is then dried to avoid saturation, typically taking 4-12 hours. Some carpet-cleaning solutions are carbonated to dissolve organic material more effectively. Beyond these treatments, anti-staining and antisoiling products can be applied.

Truck mount steam carpet cleaning methods

Extraction is by far the most important step in this process. Since the hot-water extraction method uses much more water than other methods like bonnet or shampoo cleaning, proper extraction and air flow are critical to avoid drying issues. Drying time can be decreased by extra use of fans, air conditioning, and/or outdoor ventilation.

Older surfaces, such as double jute-backed carpets and loose rugs with natural foundation yarns, could shrink after a wet treatment, leading to suppositions that wet-cleaning could also remove wrinkles. However, this notion is antiquated and this method could also occasionally tear seams or uproot strips. Newer carpets, such as with synthetic backing and foundation yarns, do not shrink, and they smooth easily; in such carpets, wrinkles indicate an underlying problem, such as adhesive, that may need a certified carpet inspector to determine

Wet-cleaning systems naturally require drying time, which has led to customer fears and concerns about very slow drying, the risk of discoloration returning during drying, and odors, bacteria, fungi, molds, and mildews.

Pre-treatments similar to those in dry-cleaning and “very low moisture” systems are employed. Although they require a longer dwell time of 15 to 20 minutes, because of lower amounts of carpet agitation. Ideal pre-treatments should rinse easily and leave dry, powdery, or crystalline residue; these should easily flush without contributing to re-soiling

Dry-cleaning Carpet Cleaning Methods

Many dry carpet-cleaning systems rely on specialized machines; dry carpet-cleaning machines These systems are mostly technically “very low moisture” (VLM) systems, relying on dry compounds complemented by application cleaning solutions, and are growing significantly in market share due in part to their very rapid drying time, a significant factor for 24-hour commercial installations. Dry-cleaning and “very low moisture” systems are also often faster and less labor-intensive than wet-extraction systems.

Heavily soiled areas require the application of manual spotting, or of pretreatments, preconditioners, or “traffic-lane cleaners”. Which are detergents or emulsifiers that break the binding of different soils to carpet fibers over a short period of time. Sprayed onto carpet prior to the use of the dry-cleaning system. One chemical dissolves the greasy films that bind soils and prevent effective soil removal by vacuuming. The amount of time the pretreatment “dwells” in the carpet should be less than 15 minutes. Due to the thorough carpet brushing common to these “very low moisture” systems, providing added agitation to ensure the pretreatment works fully through the carpet

Dry Compound Carpet Cleaning Methods

A 98% biodegradable absorbent cleaning compound is spread evenly over carpet, then brushed or scrubbed in. For small areas, a household hand brush can work such a compound into carpet pile. Dirt and grime attracts to the compound; later vacuumed off, leaving carpet immediately clean and dry. For commercial applications, a specially designed cylindrical counter-rotating brushing systems are used. Machine scrubbing is more typical, in that hand scrubbing generally cleans only the top third of carpet.


In the 1990s, new polymers began literally encapsulating (crystallizing) soil particles into dry residues on contact, in a process now regarded by the industry as a growing, up-and-coming technology. Working like “tiny sponges”, the deep-cleaning compound crystals dissolve and absorb dirt prior to its removal from the carpet. The cleaning solution is applied by rotary machines, brush applicators, or a compression sprayer. Dry residue is vacuumable immediately, either separately or from a built-in unit of the cleaning-system machine. According to ICS Cleaning Specialist, evidence suggests encapsulation improves carpet appearance, compared to other systems; and it is favorable in terms of high-traffic needs, operator training, equipment expense, and lack of wet residue. Encapsulation also avoids the drying time of carpet shampoos, making the carpet immediately available for use.

The use of encapsulation to create a crystalline residue that is immediately vacuumed; as opposed to the dry powder residue of wet cleaning systems. Generally this requires an additional day before vacuuming has recently become an accepted method for commercial and residential carpet maintenance.


Club soda combined together with with cleaning product expelled onto carpet as a mist. Then a round buffer or “bonnet” scrubs the mixture with a rotating motion. This industry machine resembles a floor buffer. It has an absorbent spin pad attracting soil, and is rinsed or replaced repeatedly. The bonnet method is not strictly dry-cleaning and involves significant drying time. Usually only addresses the top third of carpet, making it a quick solution rather than deep cleaning dirt or odor as considered suitable for valuable carpet. To reduce pile distortion, the absorbent pad is kept well-lubricated with cleaning solution.

When a large amount of foreign material is below the carpet backing, extraction may be needed. The spin-bonnet method may not be as capable of sanitizing carpet fibers due to the lack of hot water. However, a post-cleaning application of antimicrobial agent is used making up for this. Compared to steam cleaning, the small amounts of water required with spin-bonnet carpet cleaning favor water-conservation considerations.


Wet shampoo cleaning with rotary machines, followed by thorough wet vacuuming, was widespread until about the 1970s. Industry perception of shampoo cleaning changed with the advent of encapsulation. Hot-water extraction was not introduced yet. Wet shampoos were once formulated from coconut oil soaps wet shampoo residues can be foamy or sticky. Steam cleaning often reveals dirt unextracted by shampoos. No rinse is performed; therefore residues continue to collect dirt after cleaning. Thus leading to the misconception that carpet cleaning can lead to the carpet getting “dirtier faster” after the cleaning.

When wet-shampoo chemistry standards converted from coconut oil soaps to synthetic detergents as a base; the shampoos dried to a powder. Loosened dirt attaches to the powder components, requiring vacuuming the day after cleaning.

Household processes

Other household carpet cleaning methods and processes are much older than industry standardization. These have varying degrees of effectiveness as supplements to the more thorough cleaning methods accepted in the industry.

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