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Steam Cleaning | Helpful Information

Perhaps the most popular and efficient method of carpet cleaning is steam cleaning, which is often called the warm or hot water extraction method. steam cleaning of carpets is the method that most carpet manufacturers recommend as it removes soil by deep cleaning, leaves little residue, and does not damage the carpet fibers.

The process for steam carpet cleaning involves spraying a fine spray of a water/detergent mixture deep into the carpet, and then recovering the liquid by an extractor using strong suction, and then placing the dirty mixture into a holding tank.  The holding tank can be a portable one, or a truck mounted one whereby only the hose and floor tools are brought into the house.  Cleaning companies typically use a truck mounted system, which has the added benefit of venting the dirty and humid air into the outside environment rather into the house. 

The term steam cleaning is actually mis-named, as the temperature of the water is never heated to boiling, which would cause steam.  Rather, it is usually a warm or hot water, forced through jets to create a very fine and powerful spray.  As well as the detergent, a variety of additives can be added to the water.  Brighteners, or optical whiteners, can be added to reduce the effects of carpet fading. A defoamer is typically added to reduce the amount of foam the detergent creates.  Less foam means less dirty residue is left on the carpet fibers after extraction. A degreaser can be added if the carpet has grease or oils on it. A deodorizer is frequently added to destroy or mask odors that may be embedded in the carpeting.  Sanitizers or disinfectants may be added to destroy bacteria and mold. Often, a soil retardant is added, which helps repel dirt and soil from attaching to the carpet fiber.

After steam cleaning, the carpet must be allowed to dry completely (a few hours) before walking on it.  If steam cleaning of the carpet is done correctly, the carpet will be fresh smelling, clean, and soft feeling afterwards. There will be little residue left in the carpet to cause immediate re-soiling.

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