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Dry Carpet Cleaning Or Steam Carpet Cleaning?

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner cleaning

The Rug Doctor Deep carpet cleaner is a steam carpet cleaning machine that meets the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Gold Seal of Approval

The two most main methods of carpet cleaning are dry cleaning and steam cleaning. The argument on the most effective method can generate quite a bit of debate amongst carpet cleaning specialists. Which is better? Let’s take a look.

Dry Carpet Cleaning

Bonnet Dry Cleaning

This is a dry cleaning method, which involves spraying a mist of club soda or carbonated water and cleaning agent mixture on the carpet surface. Then, a round floor buffer with an absorbent pad scrubs the carpet in a rotating action. The pads will trap dirt and soil, thereby needing constant rinse or replacement throughout the process. The cleaning technique entails short drying time because it uses only a small quantity of moisture.

The system is effective for a quick clean of the top third surface of the carpet, but will not eliminate soil and dirt buried underneath. It lacks flushing, extracting and washing mechanisms necessary for a deep cleaning. Therefore, while waiting for the yearly schedule of deep cleaning, bonnet method serves as an interim solution.



Dry Powder Cleaning

This method applies dry powder or slightly moist paste compound that binds with the soil in the carpet. A household round brush or a commercially designed cylindrical rotating brush machine will scrub the cleaning agent. You can expect a rapid drying period with this method and a powerful vacuum will remove the cleaning powder and dirt afterwards. The advantage of this method is that it dries the fastest among other processes. Hence, you need not worry about keeping your kids off the carpet because you can use it right after completing the cleaning procedure.

Dry powder cleaning does an excellent job in cleaning the upper 1/3 surface of your carpet, similar to the Bonnet method. It does not use aggressive cleaning action; hence, it is suitable only for light to average soiled carpets. Failure to vacuum thoroughly can lead to retention and residues of the cleaning compound in your carpet.

Steam Carpet Cleaning

The steam carpet cleaning cleaning method is commonly referred as Hot Water Extraction. However, it is essential to know that despite the term “steam cleaning,” it does not use steam to clean carpets. Commercial and home equipment will spray hot water that may release steam, but the steam is not used directly for cleaning. In fact, steam is too hot and dry to give carpets a good cleaning.

Steam carpet cleaning or hot water extraction involves spraying heated water with detergent chemicals on the carpet while doing a simultaneous vacuum of loosened dirt particles. It has a recovery tank that stores the grime, which is subsequently disposed in a sanitary system. The main benefit of this method is that it has a deep cleaning power to remove heavy soil and dirt from your carpet.

This method has several options, which vary from doing it yourself with a rented machine cleaner or hiring the services of a professional carpet cleaning company. Companies have the expertise, experience and robust machines to perform the job. Professional cleaners use industrial portable vacuums or truck-mounted equipment.

Evaluation of Carpet Cleaning Methods

Steam cleaning uses deep cleaning techniques. Steam cleaning every 12-18 months is highly endorsed by the top carpet manufacturers such as Shaw Industries. It’s also easy – you can do it yourself with a home carpet cleaner or rental machine. All you need is a cleaner machine, hot water and detergent solution. Or hire a professional if you so choose, or if the time has come for a professional touch.

Quite importantly, the steam cleaning method decreases possible sensitive reactions to chemicals because you can dilute the detergent content by operating additional cleaning with water and rinsing. In fact, some models have rinse switches that will allow users to rinse their carpets without detergent mixed into the cleaning solution tank.

One of the drawbacks of steam cleaning is that you need to let it dry for about 12-24 hours before you can use it again. This technique wets the carpet including the pad, which can increase the chance of (but not necessarily induce) mildew and mold growth. This can lead to health problems associated to allergies such as asthma and skin irritations. In addition, if you were not able to remove excess detergent, it will attract new dirt to settle in your carpet.

The main advantage of dry carpet cleaning is that you can use your carpet immediately after cleaning if you choose the dry cleaning method. However, most of the chemicals used in this technique are potentially hazardous. Hence, it is important to discuss with professional cleaners about their cleaning products and their potential threat to your health and the environment.

Another drawback is that dry cleaning methods are usually not able to deep clean as thoroughly as steam cleaning. Some carpet specialists would say that it is like cleaning your hands with a towel rather than washing it under the tap.

Steam carpet cleaning or dry carpet cleaning each have their pros and cons. The final choice will depend on the user’s needs and preferences.

Related Articles:

Carpet Cleaner Vs Vacuum Cleaner: What Are The Differences? – Sometimes, consumers are confused as to why a home carpet cleaning machine is needed when they already own a vacuum cleaner.

Professional Vs. Regular Upright Home Carpet Cleaners Comparison – Comparing two different grades of home carpet cleaning machines.

Emmeline Chu







About Emmeline Chu

Emmeline Chu is the Chief Reviewer on this site. She likes to keep all things clean, especially carpets and rugs. Emmeline admits to a quirky obsession with carpet cleaner machines. Since 2014, she has been writing reviews on carpet cleaners. She shares her story here.

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