Carpet cleaning machines cover vacuum cleaners and other machines to
give the carpet a deep and thorough clean like a wash. The vacuums that we use
regularly remove surface dirt and some can reach deep into the pile or fibers to get
some of the ground in dirt out, but they are not really powerful enough to
thoroughly clean the carpet. They are useful for maintaining the carpet,
but every once in a while the carpet need a good wash to get it really clean.
To get that really deep clean we need a different machine. The question the is: Are we better off buying a machine or using the pressionals to do the job for us? To answer this question we need to understand the processes and the equipment involved in cleaning carpets.
There are 2 main types of carpet cleaning methods -wet and dry. Professional
carpet cleaners can use either process; household machines generally fall into
the steam cleaning category.
Steam Or Extraction Cleaning (Wet)
This type of cleaning is also known as hot water extraction cleaning and
is where the carpet is sprayed with a cleaning solution, which is then sucked
up by a high power pump. This method uses high temperature water and pressure
to enable the cleaning detergent to get deep into the carpet fibers and
loosen the dirt. The dirty solution is then sucked up with a pump. This method
does leave the carpet wet, the degree of moisture left in the carpet is
dependant upon the power of the extraction pump. Many household carpet cleaning
machines have pumps that are insufficiently rated to extract enough water.
Drying time can be reduced by ventilating the room or using fans.
Dry Carpet Cleaning
Dry cleaning is where an absorbent chemical is sprinkled over the carpet
to absorb any dirt and oils, and then vacuumed up. A pre-conditioner is applied
to the carpet to loosen any dirt, and then the chemical dry cleaner is added to
the carpet. Using a machine with brushes the chemical is forced down deep into
the carpet pile. This dry carpet cleaning machine will be used in many
directions over the carpet surface to thoroughly work the chemical in. The
carpet is left to sit for about an hour, and then a powerful vacuum is used to
suck up all the chemical and dirt, leaving the carpet clean and dry. When
considering a chemical dry cleaning process, always check whether the chemical
is safe around children and pets, if you have them. The main advantage of this
type of cleaning is that the carpet is dry.
Carpet cleaning machines fall into 2 distinct categories- commercial and
Commercial Carpet Cleaning Machines
The commercial carpet cleaning machines are usually on trucks, which
have generators to provide the large power requirements to drive the pumps,
motors and heaters. They can be either extraction or dry cleaning or a
combination of both. Truck mount carpet cleaning machines have a high capacity
for pressure and pumping, they also have the facility to pump the water from
the machine, using hoses, rather than requiring a person to manually empty the
dirty water. These machines generally have a heater to get the water to a
temperature where the cleaning is the most effective. Commercial extraction
cleaners have brushes on the head to get further into the fibers to get a
more thorough clean. Commercial cleaning machines are best purchased at a
carpet cleaning store or through janitorial suppliers.
Household Carpet Cleaning Machines
The vacuum manufacturers have expanded into this market and so these
machines are often made to look much like normal vacuums. A household machine
generally has a water tank that is filled with hot tap water and detergent. The
machine then sprays water into the carpet, which is then suctioned up. Many
machines have motors of too little power to properly suck the dirty water out.
This can leave the carpet very wet, which will take a long time to dry and
potentially stain or allow mildew to form. Most of these machines do not have
any form of heating so the cleaning solution is not usually hot enough to reach
the cleaning potential of the commercial machines.
Points To Consider
1. What do you need one for? This is probably the most important
question to be answered. If you are looking for a periodic deep cleaning
for your carpet, you will usually get a superior clean from the professional
cleaners. They have high powered machines capable of getting deep into the
carpet and extracting the dirt thoroughly. You can choose steam or dry
cleaning. The carpet with the steam extraction will likely be dry enough to use
the room very quickly. If you need regular carpet cleaning and a deep clean
then consider investing in one of the lower end commercial carpet cleaning
machines, they will generally have a more powerful motor than the household
units and last longer, as well as give you a better clean. These types of
machines are priced around $600, and will be a good investment for regular
carpet cleaning. If you require cleaning small areas of the carpet frequently
and coping with accidents that life throws at us, then the household carpet
cleaners will probably work well enough. They are priced from as low as $70 to
around $200 and have the advantage of being easily and conveniently available.
2. Look for a machine with the highest power motor/pump you can find. A heater
will also help the quality of your clean.
3. Consider carefully the type of detergent to be used on the carpet. Check
carpet manufacturer's recommendations for the detergents that can be used on
the carpet you have.
4. Check the tools that you will need for the jobs you need the cleaner to
do .e.g. upholstery tools for cleaning sofas etc.
For a really good clean; the best result will come from the professional carpet cleaners. They have carpet cleaning machines that are powerful enough the heat
the water to a hot enough temperature and then extract the maximum amount of
it, leaving the carpet almost dry. But for those small accidents that happen;
having a household machine readily available can be invaluable. Whatever you
need there is a carpet cleaning machine or service to suit you. Just make sure
you find the right machine for the job.