Unless you spend all your free time tidying your home, chances are you probably aren’t cleaning often enough to keep your carpets looking their best. While a weekly vacuum is enough to keep some of the dirt out of the carpet, there are still contaminants that go deep into the carpet fibers, and eventually, your vacuum will stand no chance. If you’ve never set a carpet cleaning schedule or you just want to know why a regular cleaning is so important, here’s a guide that will help show you the path to ultimate cleanliness.READ MORE
The next method of carpet cleaning we want to address is called “Bonnet Cleaning.”
This method is sometimes called “dry cleaning”, which is a misnomer, since water is used. Bonnet cleaning is a minimum moisture carpet cleaning method. Bonnet cleaning essentially consists of a cotton, rayon and/or polypropylene pad and a rotary shampoo machine.
The carpet can be sprayed with the cleaning solution and/or the pads can be soaked in the cleaning solution and squeezed lightly before placing the pad under the driving brush.
The maintenance brochure published by the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, suggests not using this method, especially on cut pile, due to pile distortion and fiber damage. This method has very limited capability for soil removal and leaves much of the detergent in the pile since it employs no real extraction. As a result, rapid re-soiling often occurs. Another disadvantage is that the spinning bonnet may distort the fibers of cut pile carpet, fuzzing the pile and leaving distinct swirl marks.
Bonnet cleaning is considered an interim carpet cleaning method used to maintain appearance levels, but it does not restore carpet appearance as well as other carpet cleaning methods.
Check with your carpet manufacturer because many leading carpet mills recommend against this method of cleaning.
Let’s look at the Dry Powder Method of cleaning carpets next. This method is often called “dry cleaning” and it really means LOW MOISTURE carpet cleaning systems that remove soil by absorption or transference.
In this method, dry absorbent compound (containing small amounts of water, detergent, and solvent,) is sprinkled over carpet or worked into the carpet with a machine. The purpose of this cleaner is to attract and absorb soil. Mechanical agitation from a brush works the cleaner through the carpet.
These products usually contain an absorbent carrier, water, detergent, and solvent. The theory is that the liquids dissolve the soil and this soil/detergent/solvent mixture is absorbed into the carrier and
is then vacuumed up. They are often used with a detergent pre-spray in heavily soiled areas.
Most commonly the absorbent cleaner is organic, but may also be polymers. The compound is supposed to absorb the dislodged soil and is then vacuumed away. Carpets must be thoroughly vacuumed before and after cleaning because it is important that most of the carrier comes out of the carpet. If not, with the extremely fine powder types, indoor air quality can be reduced. If a white powder
starts appearing on shoes and cuffs of pants, too much was used and it was not thoroughly vacuumed up. A common problem is for this white powder to reappear after wet extraction cleaning.
The benefits of low moisture cleaning include fast production, fast dry times, and low cost. Not surprisingly, this makes it a common maintenance cleaner.
The downside is that this method leaves dry sponge particles at the base of the carpet yarn, and because the carpet is not rinsed, this is also not a restorative method.
This is the first of a four part article that will discuss the 4 different types of carpet cleaning available on the market today. Our hope is that this will help you to choose the method that is right for you.
The four basic methods of carpet cleaning are:
Dry Powder Method
Hot Water Extraction Method
Let’s start with the carpet shampoo method.
Wet shampoo cleaning was widespread until about the 1970’s. The theory in the shampoo method is to generate lots of foam in the carpet by pushing the cleaning solution into the carpet by a machine that uses rotating brushes to work the solution into the fibers. The foam is then allowed to dry, attracting the soil to the resulting residue, and the resulting dirt-filled foam is removed by vacuuming.
Two primary types of machines are used for this process:
The Cylindrical Foam Shampoo machine uses an air compressor to create dry foam before the foam is applied to the carpet and the carpet is then agitated with a revolving cylindrical brush which combs the foam through carpet pile. This method will leave dirt trapped in the carpet pile, and the carpet must be thoroughly vacuumed before and after cleaning.
The Rotary Shampoo method uses an ordinary rotary floor machine (the same kind used for stripping wax), sprays shampoo onto the carpet from a dispensing tank, and a rotary brush whips the detergent to a foam. Most carpet mills and carpet fiber producers discourage the use of rotary brushes on carpet because of the potential damage that can occur. Overwetting is common with this method which can cause jute straining, shrinkage, and odor.
Wet shampoo residues can be foamy or sticky, and since no rinse is performed, the powerful residue can continue to collect dirt after cleaning, leading to the misconception that carpet cleaning can lead to the carpet getting “dirtier faster.”
Shampoos can often simply bury the dirt, and because shampoos are actually very poor detergents they frequently also contain high levels of optical brighteners. These take invisible ultraviolet light and convert it to visible light, thus making the carpet appear cleaner and brighter than it really is, for a while. It will eventually give the carpet a yellow cast and the yellow cannot be removed.
Shampoo methods are considered inferior due to poor cleaning plus resoiling problems.