A Comparison of Steam Carpet Cleaning versus Dry Foam Carpet Cleaning

by Cornell University Library

There is so much misinformation about carpet cleaning methods that it is hard for people to know which method of carpet cleaning should be used and which method will get the best results. If you listen to people that use Hot water extraction they will tell you that their method cleans the deepest and that dry foam carpet cleaning is a good interim cleaning. They will also tell you that steam cleaning when used properly will not leave the carpet too wet. They will tell you that deep steam cleaning will flush stains from the back of a carpet.

Common sense tells you that any method of cleaning that flushes stains from the back of a carpet will also make the carpet too wet. The back of the carpet will not dry properly because of a lack of air flow. This situation is a prime situation for mold or mildew to grow which can create many health problems. Also there are two things that are common when you steam clean a carpet that don’t happen when you clean the carpet with dry foam.


Rapid resoiling is caused by a sticky residue being left on the carpet. This residue is normally from carpet cleaning detergents that have not been thoroughly removed from the carpet. To prevent rapid resoiling you need to prevent leaving behind this residue. All steam carpet cleaners use a detergent in their cleaning solutions. This is necessary to attract the dirt but as a result there is always a residue left behind. You can make sure that the carpet is rinsed with an acid rinse but in most cases there is still a residue left behind which will cause the carpet to get dirty faster.



Wicking is the process of dirt coming back up through the carpet fibers as they dry. The faster the carpet is dried the better chance that wicking will be reduced. Imagine the water left in the carpet being mixed with dirt after a carpet cleaning. This dirt will wick up to the top of the carpet fibers on the surface of the carpet. It is common for the carpet to look dirtier after a steam cleaning than before or many people have noticed dirty spots have returned. This is because all the dirt that is washed to the bottom of the pile, loosened and not removed will come to the surface (or wick up) later and make the carpet look grimy. Many of the spots that were there before have reappeared.

Carpet cleaning using dry foam solutions with encapsulation has many benefits. This method promotes a healthier environment, it does a great job, has a shorter drying time and is cost efficient. Running a machine with circular brushes across the surface of the carpet will loosen the dirt. A foam is injected into the rug and agitated. This process suspends the dirt which is then sucked up and removed from the carpet. Encapsulation is a chemical process which leaves no residue in the carpet and because of this there is no rapid resoiling and the carpets stay clean for a much longer period of time. With the low moisture cleaning there is little chance for wicking to occur

Often seen as an alternative to steam cleaning, rugs that are vacuumed regularly and maintained will look much cleaner when shampooed with this method. Dry foam carpet cleaning areas with heavy foot traffic will restore the original colors, making this method ideal for businesses such as restaurants and retail stores, but also for homeowners who might be expecting company.

It takes less time for the carpet to dry than other methods, and the carpet can often be ready within 1 to 2 hours. There is less disruption of your daily routine and being forbidden to use any room seems like an eternity when other, longer-drying methods are used. A couple of hours from start to finish is preferable when you can get great results.

For people that are sensitive to mold and dust mites, carpeting used to be a luxury. While certain types of rugs will hold dust mites and mold-causing bacteria, there are now alternatives on the market, such as Berber and short-piled products that make having rugs healthier than hardwood floors. Cleaning them regularly with a vacuum cleaner is not enough, however. all carpets need to be washed to reduce ground-in dirt and eliminate insect and mold problems. Carpet cleaning using dry foam gets rid of allergens and this will keep people from getting sick.

Dry foam carpet cleaning prevents mold, mildew and dampness. Once the dry foam shampoo is applied, most of the foam is removed with an extraction process. When the carpet dries, any residue left behind turns into a fine crystal that is easily eliminated with a regular vacuum cleaner. With improvements in cleaning chemicals and carpet cleaning equipment in recent years Dry Foam carpet cleaning is rapidly becoming the preferred method.

Jim Thornton has been cleaning carpets for many years. In that time many methods of carpet cleaning have been used but the best carpet cleaning results have been achieved using dry foam extraction. For more information go to www.bubblesandsuds.ca

Article from articlesbase.com

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