Professional Carpet Cleaning

The professional carpet cleaning industry has been traditionally based on the use of cleaning compounds mixed with water, which are then applied to carpets to remove dirt and residual stains. Although several methods can be used to apply carpet-cleaning compounds to carpet, the most commonly-used method in professional carpet-cleaning includes the use of steam to activate the elements in cleaning solutions and to hydrate debris for easier removal from carpet fabric.

The method of steam-cleaning, otherwise known as hot water extraction, is actually more dependent on the cleaning action of the cleaning elements combined with pressurized hot water than it is on steam as an active agent in the process, although steam is created. In this method of professional carpet cleaning, water is heated to approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit and then mixed with cleaning solutions. This mixture is then applied to carpet surfaces at a pressurized rate to cause the mixture to be absorbed more fully into the carpet. Vacuuming after the cleaning solution has dried is required.

Steam cleaning of carpets has traditionally included the use of synthetic chemical compounds in professional carpet cleaning systems. The majority of these types of synthetic compounds contained petroleum-based elements, such as naphthalene and perchloroethylene. These cleaning solutions contain chlorinated hydrocarbons that produce enzyme-like reactions, which cause debris and other material to be loosened from carpet fibers. The loosened debris is removed from carpet surfaces after a sufficient “dwell time” (time allowed for the chemicals to work) by introducing pressurized hot water to the carpet with a device known as a wand to rinse out and lift the debris with the chemicals.

While the use of steam cleaning has been the method most often used in professional carpet cleaning, other methods have been developed as a response to public requests for a carpet cleaning method that did not require extended drying times before surfaces could be accessed. Additionally, the concerns over the effects of some cleaning solutions on public health and the environment led to the development of techniques that include organic-based elements and dry-cleaning methods for the removal of dirt and stains from carpets.

One method of cleaning carpets that does not require drying time uses absorbent and biodegradable powders. This method is now used more extensively by professional carpet cleaning companies due to decreased treatment times and the use of more eco-friendly compounds. The cleaning powders are applied to the surface of the carpet and then worked into the carpet fibers by the use of machines that have counter-rotating brushes. These brushes work the cleaning powders deeply into the carpet, where the powder absorbs the loosened debris from the carpet fibers.

Another development in professional carpet cleaning includes the use of special polymers that are more biodegradable and that present less risk of harm to human health and the environment. These polymers work by encapsulating, or crystallizing, dirt particles into a dried residue is formed. The polymer-based cleaning compound is applied by rotary brush machines or compressed-air devices that do not use water as an element of the cleaning process. The dried dirt residue is then immediately available to be vacuumed, either as a separate process or by a secondary action of the cleaning apparatus.


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