The term “Steam Carpet Cleaning” is actually a misnomer since steam is not actually used in the cleaning process, except insofar as it appears when the temperature of the water being used, is high enough to produce some steaming. The better and more correct nomenclature would be “Hot Water Cleaning”. Many carpet cleaners though, are more apt to use the word “steam” in their description of the process, because it partially avoids the negative connotation of the carpet being water soaked.
Basically, hot water cleaning involves among other things, spraying the carpet with a hot pretreatment emulsifier to get soluble soiling agents into solution or suspension. After agitation and a suitable dwell time, the chemical reagents are rinsed out of the carpet with hot water at a temperature of 120 – 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and about 95 % of the residual moisture is extracted with a powerful vacuum system.
Once upon a time, this method was very inefficient and led to many customer complaints, but nowadays, with the evolution of advanced cleaning equipment and procedures, most people are satisfied with the results, and choose this method over all others. Undoubtedly, wet chemical cleaning methods are far more effective than other systems and will extract deep down stains and soiling that other procedures cannot get out. That is why most carpet manufacturers recommend carpet cleaning by hot water extraction in order to meet their warranty requirements.
Despite this however, there are lingering problems with this method of cleaning that must be addressed in order to get the best possible results.
Here are the pros and cons:
1. When used properly by trained and experienced technicians, it removes more soils and stains than any other method available today.
2. Extraction is usually implemented at high temperatures which will kill many insects and microorganisms which may be residing among the carpet fibers.
3. Cleaning can be done with a wide variety of carpet extractors, generating high vacuum and pressures of anywhere between 30 PSI for portable machines to 3,000 PSI for truck mounted equipment.
4. Detritus and chemical residues are pulled out of the carpet and out of the home, and deposited into a waste tank.
5. Powerful driers or air movers are now available to extract the residual moisture from the carpet, quickly.
1. Extended drying time. Compared to other carpet cleaning procedures, hot water extraction will have an average drying time of 2 to 24 hours, depending on the severity of the conditions prior to cleaning, the skill of the technician doing the job, and the condition of the equipment used. Drying time will usually be quicker with a more powerful vacuum system and more knowledgeable technicians, but this does not happen by rote. The technician will always have to be attentive to prevailing conditions, and know how to react accordingly.
2. If carpet is left wet for extended periods, it can lead to bacteria and mold growth. Wet carpet will also have an unpleasant smell.
3. Other potentially negative effects are rapid re-soiling, browning, and wicking.
A competent, experienced carpet cleaning company will always endeavor to leave your carpet as dry as possible, in order to avoid the negative effects associated with hot water carpet cleaning, and leave your carpet thoroughly clean and fresh.
Look for a carpet cleaning company that will offer a 100% guarantee on their hot water steam cleaning method.