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Carpet Maintenance: Choose The Appropriate Cleaning Method For The Job

These carpets show the importance of selecting a cleaner that does not cause resoiling. Each carpet was subjected to 35,000 foot traffics in a busy New York City school. A very effective method for cleaning commercial carpet is ResisTech carpet maintenance chemistry, which works by surrounding and neutralising oily soil particles with a detergent that inhibits the attraction of other soils.

This allows soil to be easily removed by routine vacuuming. Patented ResisTech™ chemistry also reduces the surface energy of a carpet, surface that reduces the chance of carpet resoiling.

This allows soil to be easily removed by routine vacuuming. Patented ResisTech™ chemistry also reduces the surface energy of a carpet, surface that reduces the chance of carpet resoiling.

As a result, carpet is much cleaner after vacuuming and actually improves in appearance over time. This method is not a deep-cleaning method.

For best results, the ResisTech™ chemistry method should be applied as a part of a periodic maintenance program that also includes hot water extraction.

Hot water extraction

Extraction machines clean carpet by first spraying hot water and detergent into the carpet pile under pressure, and then removing water, detergent and loosened soil with a powerful vacuum.

This method is the most frequently used type of cleaning in the industry and is very effective for deep-cleaning carpet.

Caution: Detergent left in the carpet will continue to attract soil (resoil) causing a dingy, dirty appearance.

Dry compound

In this method, dry compound is sprinkled on carpet to attract soil and absorb oil.

A mechanical brush with counter-rotating agitation knocks soil from carpet fibers. The compound is then vacuumed up. Less moisture is used with this method than with hot water extraction, which means a shorter drying time is required for the carpet.

Caution: Carpet can appear clean in some areas and less than clean in others due to inconsistent application of the dry compound.

Foam shampoo

This method uses a machine to create foam by air compression and agitation.

A revolving cylindrical brush combs foam through carpet pile. Like dry compound, the foam shampoo method uses less moisture, resulting in short drying times.

Caution: A dingy, dirty appearance may result from detergent left in the carpet, and some areas may appear less clean due to inconsistent foam application.

Rotary shampoo

With this method, a solution of detergent and water is fed through a brush into the carpet. A rotating brush agitates the solution into the carpet pile, loosening soil particles from the carpet fibers.

This method is usually used in conjunction with the hot water extraction method.

Caution: The rotary shampoo method requires the use of a heavy machine that can cause pile distortion or even carpet damage. Damage can also result if the rotating brush dries out during cleaning.


This technique involves spraying a solution of detergent and water onto the carpet and then using a rotating absorbent pad to agitate carpet tufts.

Alternately, the absorbent pad is soaked in a detergent solution and then applied to the floor. This is generally used as an interim method for appearance purposes only. It is not recommended as an effective for deep cleaning carpet.

Caution: If the rotating pad dries out during cleaning, carpet damage can occur. The heavy machines required may also cause pile distortion or carpet damage. The bonnet method is very likely to leave detergent in the carpet, increasing the likelihood of carpet resoil.

Cleaning Methods for Different Soil Levels

Light SoilModerate SoilHeavy Soil
Hot Water ExtractionXXX
Foam ShampooXX
Rotary ShampooXX
Rotary Shampoo and Hot Water ExtractionXX