Why is Steam-Cleaning Still the Best Method to Clean Your Carpet?

The Myths of Dry Carpet Cleaning Debunked!

There is a reason that the vast majority of carpet manufacturers recommend that you have your carpet steam-cleaned by professional every 6-12 months,

depending on how heavily your carpet is trafficked. That is because by using the hot water extraction system, you ensure that not only dirt and debris is removed from your carpet, but that cleaning residue is removed as well.

Steam cleaning works by first pre-treating the carpet to loosen dirt and debris. Then, the technician will use a super high-pressure (up to 250 psi) wand that forces very hot water (over 200 degrees fahrenheit, so it is practically “steam”) down into the carpet, and will alternate this action with immediately vacuuming out the steamy water and debris that has been loosened by the pre-treatment.

The most powerful equipment on the market are truck-mounted extraction systems, and you should look for a company who offers this. It is the most effective method for removing allergens, harmful tobacco residue, bacteria, dust, fungus, and of course dirt and debris that may be living in your carpet.

The next best thing is “portable extraction,” where a large portable hot water extraction unit is used to perform the service. While these are not quite as powerful as the truck-mounted units, they are VERY effective, and a great alternative to dry cleaning when you live in a high-rise or condo that cannot be accessed with a truck-mounted unit.

This is the reason why most carpet manufacturers require proof of steam-cleaning to maintain your warranty – because cleaning residue and debris can actually work as miniature claws and break down the fiber of your carpet!
Dry Carpet Cleaning companies cite supposed “risks” of steam-cleaning as: mold or mildew growth, carpet shrinkage or warping, or other damage such as split seams.

However, there is no research to back up such claims. In fact, research show quite the opposite – that dry-cleaning is far more likely to damage your carpet in the long run than the manufacturer-recommended steam-cleaning method.

Risks of carpet damage only arise when, like in any industry, you choose the “cheapo” carpet-cleaners, who are under-experienced, disreputable, and who skimp on the quality of their equipment and personnel. That will never happen at Mr. Steam! One look at our reviews will demonstrate that.

Dry Carpet Cleaners often try to sell you on the fact that you do not have to wait for your carpet to dry if you use their services, but the truth is that if you use a reputable company will the best available equipment, drying time is almost never more than a few hours. That is a small price to pay for the most effective cleaning process, especially since you can still walk on the carpet when it is damp – just make sure your shoes are clean!
The reality of Dry Carpet Cleaning is that they cannot effectively remove residue from your carpet. There are typically two methods Dry Carpet Cleaners use, and both are ineffective:

Bonnet system – This method “works” by pre-spraying the carpet with a chemical solution, much like steam cleaning. BUT, the difference is that the solution is supposedly removed when the bonnet buffers with carpet and “picks up the debris.” Would you try to remove a cleaning solution from your carpet by rubbing it a dry towel? I didn’t think so. Without first dissolving the solution with hot water, and then vacuuming it, like the steam-cleaning method, it is IMPOSSIBLE to extract the dirt and debris. This method does not even use a vacuum, so the amount of residue left on your carpet is very high.

Dry-Compound System – This method supposedly “works” by sprinkling a damp powder on the carpet, and then vacuuming it out. The “magic” powder is somehow supposed to catch all the dirt before being removed. The first problem is that the dirt doesn’t always (read: rarely) attach. The second problem is that this method will leave a lot of residue on your carpet, since the powder is not dissolved by hot water (and thus much more easily extracted by powerful suction).

Dry Shampoo Method – This is my favorite. The cleaner will spray a carpet shampoo onto your carpet, wait for it to DRY, and only then try to remove it with a dry vacuum. Imagine using that method on your hair, or your clothes, and see how much residue you are left with.

ALL THREE systems leave significant residue on your carpet, and thus actually reduce the lifetime of your carpet! Do not be tempted by lower prices or “convenience” – it will cost you more time and money in the long-run.

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