Dry cleaning and steam cleaning are two popular ways to keep carpet clean. Both are good methods of ensuring the carpet looks good, and does not become too soiled before its time. You often have the option of choosing one over the other, but as to which is more beneficial; each has its pros and cons.
The Facts About Dry Cleaning
Dry carpet cleaning isn’t completely dry as its name suggests. A professional will apply some moisture to the dry compounds, although it takes very little time for the carpet to dry after the process is complete. The chemicals in the solution enable less moisture to be used to remove stains, dirt, allergens, sand, and other contaminants.
Preconditioners are often applied first. These detergents or emulsifiers help loosen up things that soil the carpet by unbinding them from the fibers. Solvents such as glycol ethers, petroleum by-products, and other compounds may be used. A pretreatment may only take 15 minutes. Then a biodegradable cleaning compound may be spread out over the carpet, brushed, or scrubbed in; a hand brush may be used if just a small area is being treated.
More often, machine scrubbing systems are used, especially in commercial applications. Newer polymers developed in the 1990s can crystalize soil particles, and turn them into dry residues. The dirt is therefore absorbed before it is removed. Applied by machine, the cleaning solution produces a dry residue the can be vacuumed up immediately after.
However, the chemicals can be quite harsh, depending on what is used. In a home setting, customers should speak to the company about what products are used. Sometimes these can leave behind strong odors.
The Truth About Steam Cleaning
If you have a professional steam cleaning done, it can dry even more quickly. Sometimes the machine is self-contained; other times it is left attached to the vehicle the technicians drive to your house in. It is a powerful system that sprays on a significant amount of detergent and sucks up a lot of water. However, steam cleaning is not chemical free; detergent is sprayed onto the carpet and activated by hot water, which is then sucked up by a wet-vac.
Hot water extraction removes the cleaning solution. Little residue is usually left behind, but cleaning solutions that don’t trigger allergies or asthma should be considered. Non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, die-free solutions can benefit people who are sensitive to common cleaners.
An alternative to hiring a professional is to buy or rent a steam cleaner. You may have to wait if you choose to rent a steam cleaning machine, but they are convenient because the device can connect to the hot tap water if need be; some units even have their own heating elements. Once you put the cleaning solution in the machine, the best way to clean the carpet is by moving it slowly around. Afterward, you’ll have to stay off the rug for as much as 24 hours. Then again, why waste the time when you can depend on Meridian Chem-Dry to do the work professionally?