The best way to steam clean a carpet is with hot water extraction (HWE). HWE is popular due to its effectiveness and versatility. It utilizes a combination of high water agitation, hot water interaction, and a variety of cleaning solutions to make carpet cleaning easier. However, if not done correctly, mold, mildew, and rapid re-soiling may occur due to over-wetting or failure to remove detergents. Moreover, since steam cleaning requires the use of air movement ventilation, it should not be done on humid, rainy, or cold days.
Basic Carpet Cleaning Steps
Although the process may vary due to the equipment and cleaning solutions used, here are eight steps to a beautiful carpet.
Mix and add the appropriate amount and type of cleaning solution to the machine. You can use commercial cleaners or steam clean without detergents. You can also use a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar with two and a half gallons of water. Or instead, you can use 3-4 tablespoons of mild liquid soap or clear liquid dish detergent added to at least one gallon of water. Don’t mix too vigorously because you don’t want an overly sudsy solution.
Apply cleaning solution, working from the point farthest away from door/exit towards the door/exit. Use a steady back and forth (push-pull) stroke, slightly overlapping passes, and keeping the machine moving so the vibrating brush doesn’t agitate in one place too long. Don’t go over heavily soiled spots more than two times, especially on Berber, multi-level, or looped-piled carpets. You’ll have to let the carpet dry, and then re-clean the heavily soiled areas.
Extract as much moisture and cleaning detergent as possible by using repeated strokes without pressing the water injection lever. You should recover about 3/4 of a tank of dirty water for each tank of clean water used. Doing this will help to speed up the drying time, which can take 6-12 hours.
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“Basic Cleaning.” Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/cleaning-and-maintenance/basic-cleaning/.
“Carpet Cleaning Tips – Tips on Cleaning Your Carpets from Rug Doctor.” Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaners – Buy or Rent a Rug Doctor. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. http://www.rugdoctor.com/cleaning-tips.html.
ROMANO, JAY. “YOUR HOME – YOUR HOME – Five Ways To Clean A Carpet – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/20/realestate/your-home-five-ways-to-clean-a-carpet.html?pagewanted=1.