If you have ever had your carpet cleaned, you know that the most common method out there is steam cleaning. Easily over half of the carpet cleaning services in business advertise to be steam cleaners. So, does this mean that you should have your carpet steam cleaned or is there a better way?
We talked to the owner of Carpet Prodigy of Oviedo, a city just outside of Orlando, to get a few of our questions about steam carpet cleaning answered.
What Is Steam Cleaning?
A more appropriate name for steam cleaning would be Hot Water Extraction. Steam is water over 212 degrees and by the time water hits your carpet, it is well under 200 degrees. Still mighty hot though. With steam cleaning, the operator should spray your carpet with a pre-conditioning agent. They then use hot water to rinse your carpet clean. The hot water is sprayed onto the carpet and then immediately vacuumed away by strong suction. The good thing about steam cleaning is that it is quick, which is the main reason why so many carpet cleaners use this method. It is all about production times with steam cleaning. Using truck mounted carpet cleaning units, a carpet cleaner can clean the average 5 room carpet cleaning job in under an hour. This allows them to maximize productivity, cleaning 10 or more homes a day with a single crew.
The bad comes mainly with operator error. If the carpet cleaner uses too much pressure or moves too fast, which most do, you can get a carpet that becomes too wet. When this happens, moisture and dirt is forced down into the lower portion of the carpet fiber and into the backing. If that happens, the carpet will initially look good, but all the soil and stains will return, just as soon as the carpet dries. You do not have these problems with low moisture cleaning.
What Is Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning?
The alternative to steam carpet cleaning is low moisture cleaning, and it has several advantages. With low moisture carpet cleaning, just the right amount of water is used to clean your carpet. Your cleaner will still apply a pre-conditioning agent to your carpet, but instead of spraying your carpet with a high-pressure rinse, the carpet will be then cleaned with low moisture pads on a floor machine. The benefit to this method is that you will not be forcing soil down to the base of the carpet. it is simply wiped up and removed, never to be seen of again. In addition, because the cleaner itself dries to a crystal, there is no residue left behind. Any moisture that is left dries in a matter of minutes and then can be removed with simple vacuuming. The only real downside to low moisture cleaning is the time involved. Where a typical five room job can be done in under an hour with steam cleaning, it will take a low moisture carpet cleaner closer to two hours. This is not really a problem for the homeowner however, more so for the business owner trying to stay productive.
Why Is Steam Cleaning So Popular?
Mainly, it is because the carpet cleaning companies are pushing it. They want to make the most of their costliest expense, labor, and steam cleaning allows them to do that. While a steam cleaning crew can clean 10 to 12 jobs in a day, a low moisture cleaning crew could only do 5 or 6. Steam cleaning is more profitable for carpet cleaners that are more concerned with the bottom line. As a consumer, you should not be concerned about time. You just want the carpet cleaned as good as possible and you want it to stay that way. The obvious choice then is low moisture cleaning.
Why Use Low Moisture Cleaning?
There are dozens of benefits to low moisture carpet cleaning, but for the sake of time, I will be brief. First, you have the low dry time. Carpets cleaned with a low moisture carpet cleaning system such as the one we use in Orlando dry in as little as 15 minutes. Steam cleaning done perfectly can take 6 to 12 hours to dry and if done incorrectly, it can take days. Next, you have the fact that a low moisture cleaning will stay clean longer. You do not have the issue of stains wicking back up to the surface and there is no residue left behind. Any moisture that is not removed during the cleaning process dries to a brittle crystal which is easily vacuumed away later. Finally, although there are other benefits, you have the convenience. With low moisture carpet cleaning, there are no hoses running in and out of your home. Your carpet cleaner brings in one machine which runs quietly. If you work from home, you will appreciate how quiet a low moisture cleaning system is.
Obviously, there are other ways to clean a carpet than just steam cleaning and they may come with several benefits. If you are in Orlando, find out for yourself by calling Carpet Prodigy at 407-275-0743 or you can visit their website linked to above.