Carpet delivers a sense of warmth and comfort that simply can’t be replicated by other flooring types. But there’s a downside — carpet gets dirty relatively quickly. Not only that, it’s very difficult to clean effectively. You can just drench your carpet with a cleaning solution in the way you can with lino or tiles. In order to preserve the quality of your carpet (and prolong its life) you need to clean with care. And you also need to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to the letter. If you remain vigilant, clean up messes as soon as they occur and vacuum every day, you should be able to keep your carpet looking reasonably good. As long as you have the best vacuum cleaner for carpet, you shouldn’t run into too many problems. But even with constant cleaning and various preventative methods, every carpet needs a deep clean every now and then. Odors, bacteria and stubborn stains can bury themselves deep within the pile of carpet, and only the most advanced cleaning methods can get rid of them. This is where steam comes in. Steam is perfect for carpets, as it is often capable of delivering results without a reliance on caustic cleaning chemicals. Superheated steam is directed exactly where it is needed. And the latest steam cleaners use the optimum amount of water, ensuring your carpet isn’t completely drenched afterwards.
Why are more people steam cleaning their own carpets?
In past years, carpet cleaning was a specialised job requiring advanced equipment and a range of chemicals. Some people would hire the necessary equipment, while others would pay the professionals to do the job. Now, however, most people steam clean their own carpets. Advances in steam technology have led to a new range of domestic steam cleaners. For roughly the same price as a vacuum cleaner, people can now buy their own steam cleaners. Even the latest steam mops can be adapted with accessories for use on carpets. After the initial outlay for the cleaner, there’s nothing else to pay. Unless you have a serious problem with your carpet, you don’t need any chemicals or specialist cleaning agents.
How to steam clean your own carpet
Remove furniture and obstructions
Whether you’re using a dedicated carpet cleaner or a steam mop, the first job is always the same — remove all the furniture. For steam cleaning to be effective, you need a clear run at the floor. Having a blank canvas to work on also makes the job a great deal quicker. Part of the process involves allowing your carpet to dry naturally. This process can be hindered if there’s lots of furniture in the room at the time.
Vacuum the floor
The next job is to vacuum the floor. This is vitally important, as steam cleaning over dirt, dust and general debris can actually damage the fibres in your carpet. Do a thorough job to ensure that all the loose debris in your carpet is removed before you start steam cleaning.
Work in small sections
If you’re using a dedicated carpet cleaner, there’s a chance that you’ll need to add a shampoo or cleaning agent to your machine. But most modern cleaners now rely solely on the power of steam. All you need to do is fill it up with water, and start cleaning. The easiest and quickest method involves using an upright machine that resembles a vacuum cleaner. You can usually push it with one hand, and manoeuvring around awkward spaces is a lot easier. Start with a small section of carpet that’s relatively hidden away. This is your test area. Some older carpets may suffer an adverse reaction to steam, so it’s always a good idea to play it safe. Once you’re happy that the steam isn’t damaging your carpet (which it very rarely does), you can go ahead and start cleaning the rest of the floor. To ensure you keep track of what you’ve cleaned, cover the floor in sections of about a square metre. Once you’ve cleaned a section, move to the adjacent one. It’s also a good idea to start at the far side of the room. Once you’ve finished cleaning, you’ll want to exit the space without walking over your newly steamed carpet.
Allow the carpet to dry naturally
The great thing about using a steam mop with a carpet attachment is that you’re administering a minimal amount of water. As a result, your carpet may be almost dry to the touch when you’ve finished the process. But don’t be fooled, moisture will be present — even if it’s hidden away in the depths. It’s always a good idea to make the room you’re cleaning out of bounds for at least 24 hours. This is why you need to plan your steam cleaning day carefully. The best way to allow the carpet to dry is to keep it well ventilated and empty. If someone trails dirt across your slightly damp carpet, cleaning it up could prove very difficult. You don’t need any fans or dehumidifiers for this process, just fresh air and time. Open all of the internal doors, and crack open the windows during the day. And if someone HAS to enter the room, make them wear protective plastic bags over their feet.
Dealing with stubborn stains and odors
Some carpets are beyond cleaning, so there may no option other than to buy a replacement. But even if you’re dealing with stubborn stains and odours that won’t budge, don’t despair. In the first instance, cover the area in baking soda — after the carpet has air-dried. Wait another 24 hours, and then vacuum the area thoroughly. If the problem persists, spray a solution of water and vinegar (in equal parts). Wait for an hour or so, then sprinkle on some more baking soda. If vinegar doesn’t work, try some rubbing alcohol. There are some stain and odour-removal agents on the market too, but they can be expensive.
A few steam cleaning tips for your carpet
Each steam cleaner on the market delivers its own combination of water and energy. Be cautious by starting the cleaning process on the gentlest setting possible. If that doesn’t deliver results, move up to the next setting… and so on.
Don’t force things
If you’re cleaning a thick carpet, there will be quite a lot of resistance when it comes to moving the cleaner back and forth. Don’t force things. Just take your time, otherwise you might cause some serious damage.
Don’t use detergents or shampoos
If the staining on your carpet is serious, it might be best to leave the cleaning to the professionals. They’ll use special agents that won’t damage the fibres. You shouldn’t need anything other than steam. If that doesn’t work, it’s either time to ask for help or buy a new carpet. But if you are using a cleaner that requires a detergent, remember that you don’t need to use the manufacturer’s — which will usually be a lot more expensive than the alternatives!
Don’t rely on your steam cleaner
If you look after your carpet, it shouldn’t need steam cleaning more than once every two or three years. This means taking preventative measures such as enforcing a no-shoe policy, adding mats and dealing with spillages immediately. It’s also important to vacuum your carpets regularly. Be ready with the necessary cleaning tools and agents at all times. The sooner you deal with stains, the greater the chance of removing them. Make sure you have the best vacuum cleaner for your carpet, and choose a steam cleaner that works for your home. With some care, preventative maintenance and regular steam cleaning, your carpets should maintain their showroom quality for many years Use this easy method to deep clean your carpeting and rugs with a homemade cleaning solution that removes stains, odors, and allergens. While you could certainly hire a pro to deep clean your carpets, it’s not a difficult task to do yourself. Once you’ve vacuumed and prepared your room, you’ll find the process of steam cleaning your carpet goes fast. Plus, the results are so impressive that it’s a very rewarding chore!
What Does it Mean to Steam Clean Carpet?
The term “carpet steam cleaning” is misleading. Steam happens when water reaches around 202°F / 100°C, a temperature that’s hot enough to melt the adhesive that keeps your carpet fibers attached to the backing. That temperature can also damage the adhesives in subflooring. So, although homeowners call it “steam cleaning,” professionals refer to it as the hot water extraction method to distinguish it from the dry chemical compounds used by some carpet cleaning services. Best of all, it’s a method you can replicate at home with the following steps.
Steps to Steam Clean or Shampoo Your Carpet
As far as equipment, you can rent a carpet cleaning machine at your local hardware store or, if you have a lot of carpet, buying one is an excellent investment. Here’s the one I use.
Step 1. Clear the Floor
Pick up toys, cushions, and everything else everything from the floor. Move small furnishings to another room. To protect the legs of sofas or tables you can’t move, slide a square of aluminum foil beneath them.
Step 2. Dust and Vacuum Thoroughly
Carpet cleaners get clogged if there is too much debris or pet hair on the floor. So, before you begin, be sure to dust your baseboards since the process of shampooing your carpet can knock dust from them onto the floor. Once that’s done, vacuum your floors properly, getting around the base of walls and any furniture you don’t plan to move.
Step 3. Pretreat Stains
Heat can make some stains harder to remove, especially pet stains. They’ll look gone right after you’ve finished, but they’ll reappear a few days later. Why do carpet stains return after shampooing? Because the steam cleaner forced the grime deeper into the carpet pad, but as the carpet dried, its fibers wicked the stain back to the surface. So, before you steam clean your carpeting, remove carpet stains. If you have dark edges on your carpets where they meet the wall, you’ll want to pretreat those areas, too.
Step 4. Mix a Carpet-Cleaning Solution
Add very hot (but not boiling) water to the machine’s cleaning tank, stopping just short of the tank capacity fill line. Then add one tablespoon of castile soap for every quart of water (1/4 cup for every gallon) used. If your machine is under warranty, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what to use instead.
Step 5. Work Slowly, Wall to Wall
Most carpet steam cleaners release the cleaning solution as you push forward and extract it as you pull it back. So, push the machine forward slowly so its brushes can “scrub” the carpet as it lays down the carpet cleaning solution. Then pull the cleaner back slowly to remove as much water as possible. Too much moisture left behind will lead to mold and mildew, along with their odors. Empty the dirty water tank as needed, and refill the cleaning solution when it starts to cool. Dump the dirty water tank as needed.
Step 6. Mix a Rinsing Solution
Empty the clean water tank for the second go-through and refill it with a 50-50 mix of distilled white vinegar and very hot water. (Do not use apple cider vinegar, which contains pectins that may attract household pests.) In addition to neutralizing and removing the soap, vinegar’s acetic acid helps kill lingering allergens and will dissolve more oil, dirt, and grime while deodorizing your carpet. You do not need to rinse it again after this step, and doing so may oversaturate your carpet.
Step 7. Let it Dry
If it’s warm enough, open your home’s windows to speed up drying. You can also run fans to help your carpet dry faster. Even with good air circulation, you should wait 8-12 hours after steam cleaning your carpet to put furniture back in place. Just because the rug feels dry when you touch it does not mean the pad below has finished drying. Be patient and give it most of a day for the sake of your carpet and furnishings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions I receive about steam cleaning carpets yourself. If you have a question not covered in the article or the FAQs, please leave it in the comments.
How Often Should You Deep Clean Carpet?
At a minimum, you should steam clean your carpeting once a year. Late Spring is a good time since the weather is usually warm enough to open windows to speed the drying process. In homes with pets or kids, it may be tempting to shampoo even more often, but doing so can shorten the lifespan of your carpet. A better approach is spot-treating small messes when they happen and steam cleaning your carpets twice a year.
Why Use Castile Soap on Carpets?
Castile soap is oil-based, and those darker places in high-traffic areas on your carpet are also oil-based, usually from city grime from the bottom of your shoes. Chemically, “like dissolves like,” making this carpet cleaning solution excellent at powering through stains. Castile soap is also excellent at cleaning other things in your home, too, so it’s worth the purchase.
How Do I Know This Is Safe for My Carpet?
No matter what carpet cleaning method, it’s best to do a spot test first. Spot tests should be done in an inconspicuous area, like a closet or other location that’s out of the way. To spot test a cleaning product, apply a small amount to the surface, wait 5 minutes, then blot with an undyed damp rag. Blot again with a fresh dry cloth. Check both rags to ensure the color is not transferring, then wait until the area is completely dry and inspect it. Do not use that product or method if you notice any color transfer on the rags, if the place you’ve tested has faded, or if you see other signs of damage.
Can I Use This on Upholstery?
You may be able to use this method on some upholstery fabrics. First, check the fabric label to see if there is a W code, which means the fabric is washable. Then do a spot test using both cleaning steps as described. Finally, use a carpet cleaner with a nozzle or attachment specifically for upholstery and couches. Alternatively, you may want to clean sofa stains by hand.
Can I Use This Method on Area Rugs?
This method works on most area rugs, but you should always do a spot test first. Also, it’s best to steam clean area rugs on a patio or driveway and let them air-dry outside out of direct sunlight. This will help them dry without trapping moisture beneath them that can damage your floor.
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These short, daily emails focus on small tasks that leave you feeling accomplished in just a few minutes each day. They’re the “secret sauce” to taking your home from tidy to truly clean — or rediscovering your cleaning motivation if you’ve lost it under the clutter. A vacuum cleaner is the most indispensable tool in your cleaning arsenal. That’s because this nifty machine is capable of cleaning up the dirt, dander, and other debris on both your carpeting and your hardwood floors. You can also use an attachment and vacuum your couch and other upholstered items, or even get the dust that’s clinging onto the top of your fans and in the ceiling’s upper corners. However, while there’s no doubting the usefulness of a vacuum, there are times when this piece of equipment won’t be up to snuff. There are instances when you have a stubborn stain, a lingering smell, or dirt smudges that your vacuum cleaner cannot get out. For such situations, what you need is a specialized tool, and that tool is a steam cleaner.
The basics of how steam cleaning works
The term “steam cleaning” is a process of using water to sterilize various surfaces from tile, fabric, and, in this case, carpets. Still, it’s not the water that’s cleaning the surface – which can be confusing if it’s your first time using a steam cleaner. As the water heats up to the proper temperature, the machine will emit steam from the main nozzle, which disinfects the surface. It can be effective at cleaning certain types of stains, but not all. Most steam cleaners I see only rely on water. Look for something with a floor nozzle and pad, which is usable on the carpet. Also, check with the carpet’s manufacturer if the fibers can handle the heat. Most synthetic carpets can take it, but certain types like wool may not, so it’s best to check first.
The Important Steps of Deep Cleaning Carpet With Steam Cleaner
Here the basics of properly using a steam cleaner to disinfect the carpet.
Step 1: Open the Windows
Since you’ll be working with heat, open the windows and doors for the air to circulate and prevent moisture from building up underneath the carpet.
Step 2: Clear and Vacuum
One misconception people make when using a steam cleaner is they think it’s a vacuum cleaner or some deep cleaning machine. Do not do this. Carpet steamers cannot suck up and clear away dirt or clumps of pet hair. Instead, these tools use steam from the water to kill bacteria and germs on the carpet. Some even suggest using it for cleaning stains, which is possible with certain types of blemishes. However, this isn’t the primary purpose of a steam cleaner – you’ll need a carpet cleaning machine. Also, some stains like blood coagulate with heat, which makes the stains bond more with the fabric. If you need to clean stains from your carpet, please check our in-depth guide discussing steps for specific spots. Thus, it’s vital to extract loose debris and vacuum or otherwise prepare the areas you want to steam clean.
Do so by ensuring you complete the following:
- Pick up all items, such as toys and loose pens, from the carpet.
- Where possible, remove furniture from the room so you can clean as much of the carpeting as possible in one run.
- Dust and run a damp rag across all of your baseboards. This step prevents any contaminants from falling and being dragged across the carpet in succeeding stages.
- Use an appropriate vacuum attachment to vacuum around, and as far underneath any furniture, you weren’t able to move out of the room.
- Vacuum your carpet first in one direction and then again at a 90-degree angle from that first direction, i.e., if you vacuumed north to south, then return and sweep again east to west.
Step 6 is crucial as too often; people only vacuum in one direction, and thus not picking every bit of debris. Cleaning in both directions ensures all sides are free from dirt.
Step 3: Pretreat Stains
Check the carpet for any blemishes. Pretreat any stains you see with a carpet cleaning product for such. Check the instructions for the proper waiting period. Certain types of stains like blood don’t react well to heat, so make sure to address these first before running the steam cleaner.
Step 4: Add Water and Recommended Cleaner (If Applicable)
Most steam cleaners only require water. But to be sure, check the manual if they recommend using a cleaning solution. Add water to the tank and wait several minutes for it to heat up to the proper temperature. For the waiting time, please check the steam cleaner’s handbook. If it recommends using a cleaning solution, ensure to fill the reservoir with the correct amount of soap. Some models have separate containers for water and soap. Fill it up to the proper levels. Use too little soap, and you won’t have a properly cleaned carpet, while too much soap can damage the steam cleaner itself as well as your carpeting.
Step 5: Start in a Corner And Stay Focused
Don’t be reckless when using a steam cleaner. For the best results, it’s best to plan a route and be methodical about the task. We recommend choosing one corner of the room, preferably the one that is furthest away from the primary entrance to that room. And then select a wall to go along in a deliberate, even strokes across until you hit the other corner. Using this type of method to complete straight lines ensures that you won’t miss any spots and will help prevent you from accidentally stepping on clean portions of carpet.
Step 6: Work Slowly
Avoid running the steam cleaner too fast. Give time for the steam to permeate through carpet fibers and kill bacteria.
Step 7: Go in Sections
Another tip to increase efficiency would be cleaning the area in sections and go in overlapping passes to make sure everything is covered.
Step 8: Dry the Carpet Thoroughly
Again, steam cleaners don’t have the capacity of drying carpets. Its purpose is to apply heat on the carpet for sanitation purposes. To speed up the process, block off the room you’ve just cleaned from foot traffic. Tell your family member – the area is off-limits by blocking it physically. How long is the waiting period? It will depend on several factors, like humidity and weather conditions outdoors. But you can speed up the process by opening the windows (if possible) and doors. Place a massive industrial fan can also help in the drying process. For people living in a humid climate like Florida, using a dehumidifier can expedite the process as it absorbs excess moisture, preventing mold and mildew from forming.
Can you walk on carpet after steam cleaning?
Avoid walking on carpet if it’s still damp. If you don’t and someone or some pet steps on the carpet before it’s thoroughly dried, then you risk dirt and other stains settling in as merging with the carpet fibers, so as can be incredibly challenging to clean the next time. Another issue is our foot contains bacteria, and combine it with a damp environment which is conducive for such.
Can you clean carpets with a steam cleaner?
Yes, steam cleaners can clean carpets. It does so utilizing steam from the hot water inside its reservoir. You’ll need a machine with a nozzle (with a brush) and a tube to use it on carpets. Also, look for a model with a microfiber attachment to apply steam evenly. Note: Steam cleaners are different from carpet cleaners. The latter have a sprayer for dispensing carpet cleaning solution and roller brushes for agitation. It also can suck up most of the excess water on the carpet. Steam cleaners don’t have this capacity. These machines consist of a water tank (plus a heating element) and varying accessories to administer steam. Don’t confuse steam cleaners with a hot carpet water extractor professionals use. These machines have heating elements to heat water, dispense it on the carpet, then extract.
Is it better to shampoo or steam clean carpets?
The answer will depend on what needs to be done. If you’re looking to remove stains and filth, using a carpet shampooer is a better option. Steam cleaning carpet is applicable if you want to disinfect or remove small blotches of stain from carpets.
How often should you steam clean your carpets?
It would depend on several factors like if you have children, pets, and the number of accumulated stains. Experts recommend deep cleaning carpet at least twice a year. Yes, this includes steam cleaning carpet. If you’re dealing with a high number of spots and the carpet is filthy, then calling in a professional hot water extraction service would be a more sensible option. Otherwise, using a steam cleaner on a well-maintained carpet is ideal.
Can you steam clean carpets without a steam cleaner?
Yes, that is possible. You’ll just have to find ingredients to replace steam. Some of these include items available in your pantry like vinegar and baking soda. Check the link for more details about the steps. Print/Save as PDF Steam cleaning your carpets, at least once a year, is the same as getting your car serviced. We all service our cars once a year, or every 10,000 km… whichever comes first (well, that is what we should all at least plan to do!) Why do we do this? To extend the engine life, increase the safety of the car, prevent wearing, and make sure it’s all running smoothly. Strictly speaking, we service our cars to maintain them. The same can be said for your carpets. Let me ask you this, have you recently had your workplace carpets professionally steam cleaned? If not, you may be holding back for a couple of reasons. Maybe you don’t know what steam cleaning involves? Or maybe you think it’s an unnecessary expense? But the reality is, carpet steam cleaning is none of the above. Carpet steam cleaning is both necessary and easy when you have a professional cleaning company handle it. It should be a permanent fixture in your cleaning scope of works. But how does steam cleaning work? What even is it and what is the process? These are some important questions to ask, and we understand the need to know how the entire steam cleaning procedure works. With over 27 years of experience in the commercial cleaning industry, we’re going to pass on our knowledge on this topic to you, so you’ll know exactly what’s involved.
What is carpet steam cleaning and how does it work?
Before we get into any details surrounding how a carpet should be properly steam cleaned, we need to make sure we’re on the right page in terms of what steam cleaning actually is. There certainly are a lot of ways to clean a carpet such as dry cleaning, and shampooing. But at In-Tec, we generally prefer to use the steam cleaning method, or otherwise known as hot water extraction. That is not to say that we do not at times use the other methods (dry cleaning, shampooing, or using a walk-behind machine). It is just that the steam cleaning method works best in most cases (and it also can produce the best result). Carpet steam cleaning is the process of pressurising hot water to penetrate deep into the carpet fibres to help soften and loosen embedded dirt, dust, skin cells, stains, and most importantly kill germs, bacteria, and viruses. It also freshens and prolongs the life of your carpet – no more worrying about replacing the carpet prematurely because it’s looking old and worn! How does carpet steam cleaning work? When steam is forced into the carpet, the teeny-tiny vapor molecules agitate the pores which cause the molecules to expand quickly and powerfully to expel out all the nasty things lying around in the fibres. I haven’t gone into too much detail here as the next section goes through the entire in-depth steam cleaning procedure. Let’s take a look at how it works!
How to steam clean a carpet? [the 6-step process]
How does the team at In-Tec Commercial Cleaning steam clean carpet? We understand that this may be one of the top questions circling your mind, so let’s go through the entire process from start to finish. Bear with us because although some parts may be a little technical, we’ve done our best to make the steam cleaning process easy to understand for everyone.
1. Do a risk assessment
Right off the bat, our team of cleaners complete a risk assessment and familiarise themselves with the site as soon as they enter your workplace. This can include making sure where all the exits, fire extinguishers, power supply, water supply, bathrooms, etc., are in the building. In other words, they’re doing all the important behind the scenes stuff to get them prepared for the job. Why does this need to be done? In case something was to occur, the cleaners know where all the important areas of the building are. You may also be asking why do the cleaners need to familiarise themselves with the site? Are they different team members from my normal cleaners? The short answer is yes. The team members we use for steam cleaning your carpets are specifically trained to do this task, so they are different from your normal cleaners. If you have ever asked your cleaners to perform a spot clean, you may have noticed that the job has not been done well, some damage has been done to the carpet, or maybe just had the request ignored. Steam cleaning carpet takes skill and a trained cleaner is best to perform this work.
2. Prepare the machinery
You simply can’t complete a task without the appropriate machinery. You need to get it all ready to go. Without getting into a lot of unnecessary detail, the equipment generally needed is:
- Vacuum cleaner with a powerhead attached
- Hot water extraction machine (we use a Steamvac) including the wand — large and handheld.
- Hot water inline unit (to heat the water)
- Pre- spray unit
- Hoses for the machine to connect to the wand, pre-spray unit, filling and emptying the machine
- Agitators for the stain spotting
- And of course the chemicals needed for the job at hand
The first step is prepping the hot water extractor and pre-spray unit. This involves filling the carpet machine with water (side note — our tank holds 80 litres) and filling the pre-sprayer with the pre-spray chemical and dilute it as necessary. Did you notice that we did not mention that the water needs to be hot? Did you also notice that we did not mention putting chemicals in the water tank? The main reasons for both of these are: Chemical usage — getting the right dilution rate of chemical mixed in the machine can be difficult. And as you will later see, that the last thing you want is chemical left in the carpet Hot water — filling the machine with hot water does not work well as the hot water cools down quite quickly. Whereas if you use a hot water inline heater the water at the source (the carpet being cleaned right there and then) is always at the right temperature.
3. Pre-vacuum of the carpet
Before the hot water extraction process begins, our cleaners need to pre-vacuum the carpet just to make sure any surface dirt is removed. Whilst doing this, they’re also picking up any visible rubbish off the floors such as paper clips, pens, paper, cardboard, etc – anything that could get in the way of the job. Why is a pre-vacuum important? There are 3 reasons.
- So dirt doesn’t get pushed into the carpet any deeper when the machine is run over it
- Removing as much dirt as possible before the extraction process
- It will overall assist in delivering a better outcome
To better explain, imagine trying to polish your car without washing it. It just makes no sense to do one process without making sure that the previous step has been done. And as a side note, it helps keep our equipment cleaner and less likely to damage. There is one more important thing our cleaners are doing when pre-vacuuming. They are spot-checking for stains on the carpet such as coffee stains or animal urine stains from office pets (trust me, this happens more often than you would think!). This is so the cleaner is ready for the next step in the steam cleaning process.
4. Spraying and treating the stains
We’ve spot-checked for carpet stains and taken a mental note of where they are. Now it’s time to spray the stains with the correct spotting chemicals. At In-Tec, we mostly use 2 specific chemicals. The first is called grease release and is for everything from chewing gum stains to oil stains. The second is called coffee break and it’s used for…you guessed it, coffee stains! Which in offices, is the main type of stain we come across. When it comes to things like urine stains and blood stains, there are other chemicals we use for these. However to not get too technical, let’s just stick with the most frequent types of stains without going into the full details. You may be asking, what’s the purpose of spraying stains? It’s simple. It helps loosen the stains before the water extraction stage. By the way, all stains will also need to be agitated with the correct handheld brush. This is to assist the chemical to get into the affected area and assist in the stain removal in the later stages.
5. Pre-spraying the entire carpet with the cleaning chemical
We’re almost at the final stage and here is where the exciting part of the carpet steam cleaning process happens (or at least where we get excited — the carpet starts to get ready to look clean). The carpet is pre-sprayed with the chosen cleaning chemical – generally a non-solvent emulsifier for removal of general dirt and other soiling and is applicable for all carpets. There is only one correct way to pre-spray a carpet and that’s to not let the chemical dry before it’s been extracted. However, that doesn’t mean that you extract straight away! The chemical still needs time to soak into the carpet in order to activate, soften, and lift the dirt so that it can be extracted with ease. To put it simply, enough that it’s soaked in, but not enough that it is dry or extremely wet. So, to achieve this, our cleaners pre-spray as far as they know that they comfortably can without the pre-spray chemical drying off (which is generally 100 sqm of carpet). After they pre-spray the first 100sqm, they then extract that section and the process is repeated until the entire area is completed. We will get to the nitty-gritty of how we extract the carpet in the next step. To clarify again, the reason only 100 sqm is done at a time is because the drying time of the chemical is dependent on ambient temperature and humidity. As mentioned, the chemical needs to soak in properly, but not enough for it to be completely dry.
Why do you break up carpet steam cleaning into sections?
We’ve already mentioned one reason why you break up the process into sections – so the carpet doesn’t dry. But are there other reasons? Yes, there is an important one! It gives the cleaner a chance to see how the whole process is working. It allows us to see how the first area is drying and whether there is any further action needed.
6. Hot water extraction
The final step – it’s time to get rid of all those nasty and yucky things lurking in your carpet! We’re going to get a bit technical here, so bear with us. Hot water extraction is pressurised water dispersed through a commercial-grade machine. To better explain, it’s essentially like a light version of your standard pressure cleaning machine — just bigger, more powerful, and yes as mentioned above, the cleaner needs to be fully trained to use the equipment. So how does the machine work? The extraction process and machine can be broken down into two parts:
- the wand used to apply the hot water under pressure, and
- the machine that removes (sucks up) the water.
The stainless steel wand has either 3 or 2 jets that are spraying the water onto the carpet, loosening and removing the dirt, and killing all the bacteria. The pressure of the extractor (water coming out of the jets) needs to be between 350-450 psi to achieve optimal results (sounds like a high number, but it is needed). After the jets have sprayed water onto the carpet, the machine part which contains the high-powered vacuums (yes, there are more than one — sometimes two but there can be three) then follows by sucking up all the loosened dirt and debris and any leftover water from your carpet. It’s vital the vacuum withdraws any extra water to help prevent any nasty smells from forming. You know, that wet dog, damp, musty smell? This action takes care of that. I’d like to point out and clarify two things raised previously in this article. Firstly, it was mentioned above that no chemical is added to the hot water in the extraction machine. Yes, it is hard to correctly measure the chemical if you did this. However, the most important reason is that we want to leave no chemical residue in the carpet. Can I ask, have you ever seen carpet get dirty quickly after it is cleaned? In most cases, this is because there is chemical left behind which leads to dirt sticking to the chemical. Secondly, the water needs to be heated to the perfect temperature via an inline heater. I will note that the temperature of the water does depend on the type of carpet being cleaned — too hot can cause damage to the carpet, and too cold can lead to an unsuccessful clean.
Can you walk on carpet after steam cleaning?
Although this is quite a vague answer, it really does depend on the conditions. On average, it takes a couple of hours until someone can or should walk over the freshly steamed carpet. When we steam clean carpets for our clients, 99% of the time we conduct the clean after working hours. This allows the carpet enough time to dry overnight before employees turn up to work the next morning. It’s also imperative that the air-conditioning is left on to help the carpet dry quicker thus avoiding damp smells. How can you tell when it’s dry? Typically, you can tell when the carpet has started drying as the wet patches begin to fade and the carpet returns to its normal colour. Then you’re free to walk wherever you may please!
Why is steam cleaning beneficial for your carpets?
After we’ve dived deep into a massive discussion on what carpet steam cleaning is and how it works, we’re yet to talk about one more important aspect. Why do you need carpet cleaning? There are so many benefits to having your carpets professionally steamed cleaned at least once a year. Let’s go through them.
- Your carpet will be fresh and hygienic – no more dust, dirt, and germs lying around
- Gets rid of all those stubborn stains that have been bothering you and your employees
- Prolongs your carpets life
- Guarantees an effective deep clean – the chemical and hot water combination produces supreme cleaning results
- People with allergies will notice when a carpet has been steam cleaned. No longer will they be sneezing or have a runny nose from dust mites
Still considering whether you need yearly (if not more) carpet cleaning performed on your site? Would you rather have a dirty carpet that has stains, dirt, soil, and dust all over? Or a clean and fresh carpet that looks as good new? I know which I’d prefer, and so should you! (Hint: it’s the second option).
Why you need your carpet steam cleaned
Your carpet is like a giant filter, constantly collecting and trapping dirt, dust, germs, and allergens. In other words, your carpet serves as a source for all kinds of nasty stuff. You probably didn’t know that carpets can hold up to four times their weight in dirt. Gross, right? If you’re sitting here thinking you can turn back the time by getting out the vacuum, think again. Yes, vacuuming on a daily/weekly basis is extremely important, but you really need to seek a professional cleaning company to conduct carpet steam cleaning on at least a yearly basis. At In-Tec, our team of cleaners are highly trained and experienced in the carpet steam cleaning process. We also use quality equipment and chemicals that get the job done properly. If you’d like to chat with us a bit more about carpet steam cleaning, or any other periodicals, schedule a call with Paul or Caitlin. We’re here to answer any of your questions, queries, or concerns. Talk to you soon.