How we clean carpets and upholstery
This method is often call "Warm Water Extraction", "Hot Water Extraction" or "Steam Cleaning" and is the cleaning method nearly all carpet manufacturers and carpet fibre producers recommend.
This is the only cleaning method classified as "deep cleaning". All the others are considered "light surface cleaning" because they are incapable of removing soil deep in the pile. Also, all other methods leave large amounts of cleaning agent in the carpet after cleaning.
The maintenance brochure published by the world's largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, recommends this method, because its own research indicates that it provide the best capability for cleaning.
This method is frequently called "steam" cleaning due to the fine spray of water used to force dirt out of the carpet which is sucked up by the vacuum slot immediately in front of the spray. Seldom is real live steam used, however. This process consists of spraying a solution of water and detergent into the carpet pile and recovering the water and soil with a powerful vacuum into a holding tank.
The choice of the proper cleaning system is extremely important. Some systems leave residues which promote re-soiling and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning. Some methods actually damage the carpet fibres and shorten the life of the carpet. Check with the carpet manufacturer for recommendations.
If carpet is cleaned before it becomes too unsightly, the cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. Allowing the carpet to become overly soiled may result in irreversible damage. It is a common myth that cleaning the carpet before it is absolutely necessary will cause it to get dirty faster. This goes back to the days when the shampoo methods were the most common.
Carpet in a typical household should be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months depending upon the number of residents, amount and type of activity, and whether the carpet is light or dark colour.