If you hate cold floors, then you also know that there is nothing better than the comfort that comes with a newly installed carpet. Plus, carpets offer more than comfort.
The right choice of carpeting compliments your furniture and upholstery, besides adding a touch of softness to a room. Carpets are also great for cutting down noise and echo from both residential and commercial spaces.
On the other hand, they have some disadvantages that make them a less exciting flooring option for some people. The most apparent problems include harboring all sorts of dirt and debris, staining and ruining the overall air quality.
Of the three issues, dirt and stains that get deep into the fabric fibers are a persistent source of trouble because they do not disappear with regular vacuuming or cleaning, thus making it way hard to keep the carpet in its best condition.
For that reason, most carpet manufacturers and installers recommend professional cleaning every once in a while, with hot water extraction as the most recommended professional carpet cleaning method.
What is Hot Water Extraction?
Hot water extraction is technically steam cleaning but quite different from the regular steam cleaning that you do at home. With this method, professional cleaners extract dirt from your carpet by spraying a hot water cleaning solution into the carpet under high pressure, then suck it back immediately with a powerful vacuuming system.
Basically, the spray jets inject large amounts of water into the carpet, allowing thorough cleaning and removal of dirt, stains, pet danger, pet waste and every other filth that is impossible to remove with a regular vacuum or alternative cleaning methods.
Further, the process applies strong cleaning agents to battle soil resistance, a problem that is common with carpets because of accumulation of dirt over time.
Unlike most carpet cleaning methods, hot water extraction finds favor among carpet cleaning professionals because it is more effective at rinsing detergent from the carpet after cleaning.
This is an important part of the cleaning process because detergent residue attracts dirt, and the carpet begins to retain dirt at an alarming rate after cleaning.
The Benefits of Hot Water Extraction
Hot water extraction is downright the most reliable carpet cleaning method. You can vacuum your carpet every day, blot spills immediately and spot clean stains, but you still cannot achieve benefits of hot water extraction.
It is best to spare your best efforts every once in a while, make a call to the most reliable carpet cleaners in your local area, sit back and realize the benefits below.
Hot water extraction is effective: When you finally make up your mind to have your carpet deep-cleaned, results is the only thing that matters. When done correctly, hot water extraction is 99% effective. It is your best bet for the visible and unseen dirt that lurks in your carpet. Further, the method eliminates stains and heavy soiling with more ease than any other carpet cleaning method.
Hot water extraction destroys parasites and allergens: If your house is infested with bedbugs or some other bloodsuckers, exterminating them is harder than climbing Mount Everest.
That said, hot water extraction is a sure way to rid them and their eggs from your carpet whereas steam cleaning can help you with upholstery and the rest of the house. The carpet provides a save haven for laying eggs and multiplying in numbers to usher you into never ending suffering.
Hot water extraction can also eliminate parasites that thrive in pets as well as allergens and other contaminants that make your house less habitable.
Hot water extraction rinses out your carpet properly: Have you every washed your carpet then it quickly became dirty again? Worse off, have you ever spot cleaned it and the spot become discolored a few weeks later? That’s because the detergent residue from the spot cleaner attracted dirt to the spot.
It is important to rinse a carpet properly after cleaning so that it can stay clean for as long as possible. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with the most common carpet cleaning alternative method to hot water extraction which is shampooing. It leaves a lot of soapy residue on the carpet fibers, which makes it impossible for the carpet to stay as good as new.
Hot water extraction does not leave the carpet soaking wet: Even though this approach uses a lot of water to clean your carpet, it does not leave it soaking wet. The powerful vacuuming system sucks most of the water from the carpet, and you only need a few hours for the carpet to dry completely.
The Disadvantages of Hot Water Extraction
Despite numerous benefits, hot water extraction is not perfect. It has its limitations just like any other carpet cleaning method.
Uses a lot of water: There is dry foam, dry, absorbent powder and bonnet carpet cleaning methods which do not require water all. Then there is shampooing, encapsulation and regular steaming which require a few gallons of water. And lastly, there is hot water extraction which requires gallons of water even for carpeting that covers just a small section of a house.
Water is literally flushed into the carpet in large quantities, and since it contains cleaning chemicals and all kinds of dirt when it is sucked back, it cannot be recycled.
Hot water extraction can damage the carpet if poorly done: Hot water extraction is not one of the carpet cleaning methods that you can quickly adopt as DIY technique. Operating the equipment is a bit technical and requires some level of expertise.
As a homeowner, do not be quick to give in to the temptation of hiring the equipment and doing the job yourself. Even with professional cleaners, you have to ensure that they have the necessary certification and a reputation to ride on.
When done poorly, the cleaning process can expose the carpet padding to moisture and eventually lead to the development of mold and mildew.
Hot water extraction has a bit of impact on the environment: Most people assume that hot water extraction is 100% environmental friendly but it isn’t. It has a bit of negative impact and you are about to understand how.
For starters, the water used to clean your carpet gets contaminated with cleaning chemicals and all the grime it absorbs from the carpet. This means that it cannot be treated for use again.
Secondly, professional cleaners mount their equipment on trucks that use fuel and release gases to the environment.
Carpet takes time to dry: After hot water extraction, you have to give your carpet some time to dry completely. The cleaning method leaves the carpet feeling a bit wet, and this wetness can provide the right condition for the development of molds and mildew.
Sometimes the carpet can feel overly wet because of unskilled manpower or poorly working equipment. This lengthens the period that your carpet takes to dry completely.
Choosing the Right Hot Water Extraction Service Provider
Choosing the right professional carpet cleaners can be an uphill task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Firstly, there are many questions that come into the mind. But like most homeowners, the focus should be getting the best results without breaking your pockets.
Be on the Lookout for Recommendations
Whether searching online or relying on the word of mouth, you can bet on recommendations for the best carpet cleaning companies out there. Further, you can compare the budgets as people share their experiences and costs.
Choose Certified Service Providers
It takes a blink of an eye to find a carpet cleaner but how much effort does it actually take to find a competent one? Carpet cleaners and cleaning companies are many. That said, a good number of them are not so professional. Finding top-notch professional services takes time and effort.
The most reliable method is to ensure that a service provider is certified or at least, there is another verifiable way to determine their level of skill and competence.
Another worth trying approach is searching through the internet and in particular, forums and social media pages or groups.
Do not be deceived by Low Prices
The temptation to choose the cheapest option and save more always runs high. But once you give in, it becomes the beginning of new troubles. To begin with, do not be surprised to find that a cheap company has a lot of hidden costs that sum up to a relatively higher charge than the “expensive companies” you were initially avoiding.
Secondly, cheap services can mean cheap equipment as well as poor manpower.
All the same, price is an important factor to consider when settling for professional carpet cleaning services. However, combine pricing with other decision making points, so that you can choose a service provider based on all critical factors.
Choose Service Providers that Offer Money Back Guarantee
A service provider with friendly terms has a given degree of confidence. They are sure that most of their clients get satisfied with their services and they have no reason to doubt that you will be satisfied as well. Such a service provider is also sure that they will have to offer partial or full refund if bad gets to worse. This leads a higher sense of responsibility during service provision and customer care.
The carpet cleaning business is competitive and some new entrants find it hard to breakthrough especially if their services are below par. This pushes them to finding unscrupulous ways of making money.
One such approach is to pose as representatives from reputable companies, get work and end up providing substandard services.
It is important to ensure that you are dealing with honest people because integrity manifests even when it comes down to the actual services.
Alternative Carpet Cleaning Methods
Hot water extraction is not an every week or every month cleaning method. It should only be done when it is absolutely necessary, after the carpet has accumulated enough soiling that cannot be removed with regular cleaning or simpler alternative methods. There are 4 alternative methods that you can consider, most of which do not exposure your carpet to any moisture.
Also known as low moisture encapsulation, this is a technique that utilizes polymers that encapsulate soil and dirt from your carpet, as well as the detergents that loosen up the bits of dirt, debris, grease and stains from it. The soiling crystalizes with the polymer as the carpet dries, and you remove it from the carpet fibers through vacuuming.
The main advantage of this method is that the crystalline polymer captures most of the detergent from the carpet fibers. This leaves the carpet fibers free from sticky detergent residue that is linked to rapid re-soiling.
Encapsulation is the next most effective carpet cleaning method after hot water extraction. Its results are reliable and can last reasonably long.
Bonnet Carpet Cleaning
Bonnet is a cleaning method that some people confuse with encapsulation but the two are completely different. While both are low moisture cleaning techniques, the latter utilizes a crystalline polymer whereas the former employs formulated liquid preconditioners that are sprayed to the carpet fibers and used to remove soiling with the bonnet system.
A bonnet pad is made of an absorbent material such as cotton or microfiber. The work of the pad is to absorb dirt after the equipment agitates the cleaning formula into the carpet fibers.
Many professional carpet cleaners have been drifting from bonnet cleaning over the years because most carpet manufacturers discourage their customers from its use. It has a reputation of cause quick carpet wear and tear because of leaving substantial amounts of detergent residue on the carpet pile, a problem that leads to rapid re-soiling.
The equipment used for cleaning can ruin a carpet permanently by causing irreversible marks. Other disadvantages of bonnet cleaning include poor workmanship which leads to additional damage on the carpet fibers, and a sandpaper effect on the carpet if a soiled pad is used.
Absorbent Compound Cleaning
The absorbent compound cleaning method is also known as dry cleaning. It entails the use of a powdered substance to remove relatively light soil from the carpet. The powder compound comprises of a bit of water, a solvent and a detergent. The powder is sprinkled directly into the carpet pile, then worked into the carpet fibers.
Soil is released from the carpet fibers, then the powder absorbs it. A vacuum is used to lift the compound and absorbed dirt from the carpet.
The primary advantage of this method is exposing carpets to extremely low moisture. This quickens the cleaning process without leaving a sticky residue on the pile.
Shampooing is a cleaning method that employs a high foaming formula with a rotary brush machine as the equipment used to work the shampoo into the carpet fibers. The shampoo releases the soil from the carpet fibers and vacuuming helps to lift the soil and dried form from the carpet pile.
Most professional cleaners discourage shampooing because it leaves a sticky detergent residue on the carpet. This promotes quick re-soiling, whereby the carpet ends up looking dirtier than it was before cleaning.
High temperature steam cleaning is a method where an equipment with a boiler (steam cleaner) is used to release hot steam to the carpet under high pressure. The steam destroys bacteria, parasites, pathogen and allergens while dislodging dirt from the carpet fibers.
The technique applies low moisture to the carpet, which allows it to remove dirt without causing over-wetting.
Hot Water Extraction vs Steam Cleaning
The terms hot water extraction and steam cleaning are used interchangeably, even though the two methods to do not refer to the exact same thing. Hot water extraction is mostly employed at professional levels while steam cleaning is mostly a DIY technique.
With steam cleaning, you only need to buy the right steamer and follow the user manual to clean your carpet. Proper hot water extraction utilizes equipment that requires a certain level of skill and it is also expensive to acquire for personal use.
Depending on the equipment, the water temperature for hot water extraction can go way beyond the boiling point. On the other hand, a steamer heats water to produce steam which is applied to the carpet during the cleaning process.
Because of the high temperatures, both methods are reliable for killing germs and all sorts of organisms that thrive in carpets.
Hot water extraction combines hot water with detergents whereas steaming uses hot steam only. The use chemical detergent rules out hot water extraction as an environmentally safe method. It is less safe for an environment with kids and pets. Steaming is 100% environmentally friendly. You can confidently expose your children and pets to a carpet after cleaning it with this method.
In terms of water consumption, steaming consumes very little water compared to hot water extraction. Carpets cleaned with a steamer are less likely to develop mold and mildew because they do not become overly wet. Hot water extraction can lead to over-wetting if it is not done properly.
Because of the difference in water consumption, carpets cleaned with a steamer dry way faster compared to carpets cleaned with the hot water extraction method.
When it comes to removing dirt and stains, hot water extraction is more reliable method. A combination of large amounts of water and cleaning chemicals makes it easier to loosen heavy soiling from the carpet fibers. Steaming destroys all the germs but it can also fail to lift some stains and dirt from the carpet.
Overall, both steaming and hot water extraction are reliable carpet cleaning methods. That said, steaming should be done more regularly should only be employed after the carpet becomes heavily soiled.
Hot Water Extraction vs Carpet Shampooing
Hot water extraction and carpet shampooing are completely different because one method uses a lot water to remove dirt and detergent residue from the carpet whereas the other applies shampoo to capture dirt from the carpet while leaving behind sticky detergent residue.
The most important factor to consider when comparing these methods is their effectiveness and how long the results for each last. Ideally, both clean effectively, but the sticky detergent leftover that results from shampooing leads to rapid re-soiling. That being the case, the results of hot water extraction last much longer.
How to Maintain a Carpet in Between Professional Cleaning
Calling in professional carpet cleaners is not something you do every other day. Meanwhile, you cannot sit back and allow all sorts of dirt and contaminants to collect on your carpet. You have to find daily and weekly ways of keeping obvious dirt out of your carpet.
Use Mats on Heavy Traffic Areas
The only reason your carpet gets heavily soiled is because people come from the outside with shoes that have dirty soles. Most of the dirt sticks on your carpet and the rest acts as sandpaper. It grinds your carpet and slowly damages the pile.
Placing mats on heavy traffic areas such as the door can help to control the amount of soil that ends up on your carpet fibers. Most of the soil is left on the mats if people have to get into the house with shoes. This is particularly important in commercial places where you cannot provide people with changing shoes.
Discourage Wearing Shoes in the House
Wearing shoes in the house increases the chance of transferring soil from one place of your to another. The best approach is to either remove shoes or to have flip flops or shoes that are specifically meant for the house.
Vacuum your carpet daily or at least weekly, depending on the activity level of your house. Vacuuming removes dust, debris, pet hairs and pet dander.
Use your carpet features to determine the most appropriate vacuum cleaner. Generally, there are more vacuum options to choose from for low pile carpets, but high pile carpets are restrictive to height adjustable vacuums.
You might also want to look into bagged vacuums that have a HEPA (high-absorbency particulate air) filter. They offer the best filtration which keeps the air in your house super clean and comfortable.
Clean your vacuum and its accessories regularly to ensure that you do not put unwanted contaminant back to your carpet during vacuuming.
Spot clean your carpet every day or at least every time the need arises. This is the most important thing that you can do to keep it in topnotch condition. Look at it this way. Stains are unsightly. No matter how good something looks, myriad or just limited stains make it look unappealing.
Use a paper towel or white cloth to blot spills immediately, the clean the spot. This is much easier that allowing them dry only do spend lots of hours looking for the right spot cleaner.
Use a putty knife or any other blunt object to remove dried food particles from your carpet the treat the spot with the right cleaners.
Ensure that you do not leave soapy residue after spot cleaning because it attars dirt to the spot and your carpet begins to look dirtier in some places.
Is steaming the same as hot water extraction?
Although hot water extraction is commonly referred to as steaming, these are two different cleaning methods. Hot water extraction utilizes hot water and detergent while steam cleaning releases extremely hot steam to the carpet.
Is hot water extraction good for carpet?
Hot water extraction is good for restorative carpet cleaning. It removes heavy soiling and all kinds of contaminants that are extremely difficult to remove with other cleaning methods. That said, the method can soak and damage the carpet padding if done wrongly. This slows down the drying process and exposes the entire floor to mold and mildew growth.
Does hot water extraction disinfect?
Hot water extraction disinfects because the process utilizes plenty of hot water. According to whittakersystem.com, a gallon of water that ranges between 180 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit is used for every 1000 square feet of carpet. Germs, bacteria and parasites cannot survive under such high temperatures.
After cleaning all contaminants are sucked by a powerful vacuuming system. This leaves the carpet feeling and smelling as good as new.
Is a carpet extract worth it?
Hot water extraction is worth it if you find the right professional cleaners. It is the most reliable restorative cleaning method because it removes dirt that in deeply embedded in your carpet fibers without leaving a sticky residue on the carpet fibers. This allows you to enjoy a clean carpet and healthy environment for a long time.