Steam Cleaning vs Dry Cleaning Carpets
There is a common debate in the cleaning industry. Carpet cleaners often argue, “My carpet cleaning process is better than yours!” For AmeriClean, it’s not about whose cleaning method is “better.” In fact, we study all variations of carpet cleaning methods. We believe every professional carpet cleaning process has its place – there’s always more than one way to clean anything. Before we can recommend cleaning methods, it’s important for us to properly pre-inspect and evaluate the carpet to be cleaned.
There are plenty of carpet cleaning businesses that support the “Our way or no way” theory. Carpet cleaners that advertise “dry carpet cleaning” and “dry within an hour” only clean carpet by one method – dry carpet cleaning, a.k.a. low-moisture carpet cleaning. They try to misinform you about steam cleaning (hot water extraction process) and make you think that every steam cleaner leaves the carpet too wet and the carpet takes too long to dry. The thing is, overly wet carpet fibers were most likely cleaned by an inexperienced “carpet cleaner”. There are three major factors to consider why carpet or a piece of furniture may have stayed wet for too long after the cleaning process.
- Over-wetting carpet fibers
- Not properly extracting or low powered extraction system
- Environment (no airflow, high humidity, cool temperatures)
Only one way to clean carpet? Not at AmeriClean
That might work for a certain percentage of the situations we cleaners face. Our opinion is that we must have open minds to cleaning carpet based on the situation before us. In our experiences, we truly believe we would not have the kind of success or reputation we have if dry cleaning carpet were our only option.
The “right” way to clean carpet
It all begins, at least it should, with a pre-inspection of the carpet. This is the time we take a close look at the type of fiber/fabric you’re working with and the pre-existing conditions it may have. Pre-existing conditions could be heavy soiling, fiber abrasion, missing fibers, stains/spots, odor, pet accidents, etc. The location of the carpet or furniture, amount of use, foot traffic, airflow considerations, whether shoes are worn on carpet, etc. all play a big part in the pre-existing conditions of the textiles. We often know most of this by our conversation over the phone, prior to the Cleaning Technician arriving. Our Account Executives are trained to ask a lot of questions. That’s really one thing that we’re known for – asking a lot of questions. This helps us paint an image of what we’re proposing to clean. We want to make sure we answer all of your questions and provide you with an accurate estimate.
Following the pre-inspection, we choose the method and solutions to achieve the best results. Synthetic fibers need to be cleaned differently than natural fibers like wool, cotton or silk. Some carpet that we salvage is in such bad shape that dry cleaning would make zero improvement.
So, which cleaning method do we think cleans better?
Honestly, steam cleaning is the preferred method for most residential and commercial “wall-to-wall” carpet. There’s always exceptions, but this is is the method that is the most effective.
In addition, some carpet manufacturers, like Stainmaster, directly recommend “professional steam cleaning/hot water extraction at least once every 18 months from the date of purchase” to adhere to their carpet warranty.
With steam cleaning, it is important to provide proper drying time and resources for heavily soiled carpets or areas located in areas with low airflow or high humidity. The upside is that your carpets are going to be cleaned much more thoroughly and stay clean longer.
Dry Cleaning has a lot of limitations, but it can be a great method for maintenance cleaning of commercial grade, low impact carpet, for example. In fact, we employ this method of carpet cleaning when the situation and conditions call for it.
While other cleaning methods for carpet cleaning may have their place, if we really had to choose, AmeriClean would pick “steam cleaning”. The best carpet cleaner will be the one who can provide a solution for all situations, whether it’s steam cleaning (hot water extraction process), dry cleaning or low-moisture cleaning.
AmeriClean Cleaning Specialists, locally owned and operated by Sheila Ellis, has been cleaning carpet, upholstery, area rugs, tile/grout, vinyl and hardwood floors since 1984. AmeriClean currently serves the following areas: