Steam Cleaning: Is it One of the Best Cleaning Methods for Carpet Maintenance?

As carpet cleaning technologies continue to evolve, cleaning methods are likewise becoming more sophisticated. The usual vacuuming and traditional shampooing of carpets may no longer suffice.

Regular vacuum cleaners clean only the outermost carpet layers and leave the bottom layers untouched and contaminated with bacteria. The lack of suction power in most vacuums prevents it from fully removing the dirt and debris that accumulate in carpet fibres.

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Carpet shampooing may sometimes bring positive cleaning results, but can also be a counter-productive option. A common complaint with traditional shampoo method is that it leaves detergent residue that potentially damages carpet fibres and is toxic to human health. Spot cleaning per se, may likewise be a good cleaning option, but also exposes the carpet to excessive moisture and soap residue.

One of the leading alternatives to these conventional cleaning techniques is the steam cleaning method. As its name suggests, steam cleaning is a cleaning method which requires the heating of water to a high temperature to convert it from liquid to steam. The high pressured hot water effectively agitates carpet fibres to help loosen deeply embedded grime, dirt, and dust.

A steam cleaner pertains to a unit which heats water to a high temperature and creates steam vapour in the process. It then shoots the vaporised water or steam to carpeting then extracts the dirt and solution in a collection tank.

Carpet Steam Cleaning

For average carpet types, steam cleaning is effective in the removal of dirt and grease. The high temperature steam neutralises the adhesive bond of dirt and grease as they attach to carpet fibres. This type of adhesive attraction can be so strong, that it prevents standard vacuums from getting the dirt and grime out of carpet material. When a steam cleaner delivers high temperature steam to the carpet, this adhesive bond is dissolved, the dirt breaks and loosens up and is immediately sucked into the unit.

The 4 Step Process involved in Steam Cleaning of Carpets

Steam cleaning entails the following procedures:

  1. Removal of furniture items: The first step entails clearing out spaces where the dirty carpet surface is located. Bulky furniture such as tables and chairs must be removed from the working area.
  2. Misting of cleaning solution: The next step is misting and application of cleaning solution on the soiled carpet surfaces for a few minutes of contact time, followed by the agitation of carpet fibres to loosen and break up the deep seated dirt.
  3. Rising of carpets: Thereafter, when the cleaning solution has settled, carpet fibres are rinsed with hot vaporised water or steam, set at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, to extract the water and soap residue. The powerful extraction machine removes the stains and embedded grime and completely eliminates the remaining carpet filth.
  4. Drying of carpets: To hasten the drying time, a drying machine, fan or humidifier may be used. An average sized carpet of about 3000 square feet normally takes 2 hours to clean and 4 hours to dry. Nevertheless, the carpet can be left to dry at normal room temperature or air-conditioned temperature overnight to be used the next day.

How Beneficial is Steam Cleaning for Your Carpets?

Resorting to steam cleaning when cleaning carpets can yield different benefits, among these are:

  1. Steam cleaning guarantees an effectively deep clean

    The detergent and vaporized water combo yields supreme cleaning results. Professionals use powerful vacuums capable of emitting high pressure steam to cleanse and penetrate deep into the base of carpet fibres. This method provides a longer-lasting and thorough carpet treatment.

  2. Steam cleaning has quick drying time

    Steam cleaned carpets typically dry faster as compared to other carpet cleaning methods. For instance, some water-based shampoo treatment may necessitate longer drying time with a span of few days unlike in hot water extraction which will only take a couple of hours. This is because the strong vacuum system of steam cleaners removes 95% of the excess moisture.

    Due to its quick drying time, steam cleaning does not introduce unwanted carpet humidity and leaves them dry. This helps in preventing the growth of mold and mildew which flourish in wet and dirty carpet surfaces. Over wetting of carpets likewise leads to many issues such as wicking whereby moisture causes stains to reappear once again. Stains found in the carpet backing recur, travelling from the carpet base to the top surface.

  3. Steam Cleaning is safe for human health

    In a study made by the Environmental Working Group on cleaning products, it was found that more than 2,000 cleaning supplies contained substances with links to serious illnesses. Fumes from some cleaning products induced asthma and respiratory diseases. A handful of ingredients found in known brands of cleaning detergents used in carpet cleaning were laced with carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Chemical cleaners may also cause poisoning and burns, along with skin irritations and allergies.

    In steam cleaning, all these risks to human health can be eliminated. This is because steam cleaned carpets rely only on heated water to safely disinfect carpets of up to 99% without need of chemical-based cleaning solvents.

  4. Steam cleaning kills harmful microbes

    One of the biggest advantages of steam cleaning is that it sanitises carpets. Steam cleaning carpet uses equipment which inject heated water into carpet fibers, completely removing debris build-up and eradicating the growth of bacteria, germs, mites and other harmful microorganisms lurking underneath. This heated application improves the indoor air quality at home and keeps living spaces germ-free and safe for the family.

  5. Steam Cleaning is an eco-friendly cleaning method

    Chemical-based cleaning agents and abrasive cleaners do more harm than good. The use of these hazardous cleaning substances not only jeopardizes human health, it also negatively impacts the ecosystem. While abrasive cleaners can clean, they tend to leave behind a biofilm filled with harsh chemicals dangerous to humans and animals.
    Steam carpet cleaning is a better alternative compared to other cleaning methods because it does not impose harmful consequences on the environment. The hot water extraction method is devoid of harsh chemicals and is eco-friendly.
    Nevertheless, since our society is becoming more environmentally aware, manufacturers are innovating cleaning solutions which include healthy surfactants which break down easily when diluted with water.

  6. Steam cleaning beautifies carpets

    The in-depth disinfecting procedure associated with steam cleaning extends the lifespan and improves the appearance of carpeting. In hot water and steam combination, carpet damage or discoloration can be avoided because no brighteners are used which lead to “yellowing” of the carpet material. Also, steam cleaning does away with excessive pile distortion which is present in traditional shampoo methods. In pile distortion, excessive brushing distorts carpet yarns, forcing various sections of carpet yarn to lie in different directions.

  7. Steam cleaning does not leave toxic detergent residue

    When chemical agents applied onto carpets are gentle surfactants, the safer the residue that will be left behind. When toxic chemistry is used, the tendency is that the residue will be more hazardous. When a chemical residue is left on a surface due to insufficient rinsing or evaporation in form of form of dry but aerosolized particulate, chances are, they become airborne and inhaled, perhaps with severe consequences for allergic persons. Good news is, in steam cleaning, the inhalation of airborne microbes and detergent residue can be avoided.

  8. Why Hire Professional Carpet Cleaners to Perform Steam Cleaning of Carpets

    While there are already automated steam cleaners and extractors available for purchase or for rent out on the mark, doing the carpet cleaning chore DIY (do-it-yourself) is not the best idea.

    Some cleaning companies without professional accreditation are known to perform lousy jobs or improper work. Their incorrect cleaning methodologies create headaches for clients, as they not only fail miserably to deliver on their promises, they also damage carpet material.

    In steam cleaning, the assistance of professional training is necessary to avoid cleaning mistakes that lead carpet deterioration. DIY steam cleaning or steam cleaning done by inexperienced cleaners can lead to several pitfalls, among these are: improper maintenance of carpets, erroneous operation of steam cleaning machines, use of extremely harsh chemicals due to improper dilution of chemicals or lack of solvent knowledge, incorrect brushing techniques leading to carpet fibre distortion, over wetting of carpet and discolouration.

    To avoid these problems, settle for the practical option and that is to hire top rated, professional carpet cleaners to do their work. Professional cleaners are trained to execute carpet maintenance with care, and take into consideration specific carpet material in crafting cleaning solutions that deliver the best results. For queries on how steam cleaning can improve your carpet condition, contact us today.

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