For years, I didn’t know much about cleaning carpets – but that didn’t stop me from doing it. I had a cleaner that sprayed in hot water and detergent, loosened trapped debris with a rotating brush, and then pulled out the now dirty water. That was fine. Any obvious spots and stains were eliminated – at least if I worked on them a little beforehand. I was always amazed – and horrified – at how much dirt and grit the carpet cleaner could pull up.
But after a while, I started to wonder if my efforts were as effective as I hoped. While my cleaner was able to pull up a lot of junk, I noticed that most of the water I’d sprayed into the carpet was still there when I was finished cleaning. The liquid I was able to pull up was dirty and gross, and I hated the idea that more of it was still in my carpet. So I decided to do a little research, and try to figure out if a pro could do a better job.
The first thing that I discovered is that professionals go about carpet cleaning in a variety of different ways. Within minutes of my home in Joliet, Illinois, I can find carpet cleaners that use carbonation, dry cleaning, and hot water extraction – the method I always used, though I had always incorrectly referred to it as steam cleaning. I decided to read up on the methods a little before calling one of Joliet’s professional carpet cleaners.
I started with hot water extraction. While I was skeptical that their detergents would be much better than the ones I used, I was encouraged to find that many companies claim to pull almost all of the water out of the carpet after cleaning. I was also pleased to see that at least some of them used brushes that were supposed to be gentler than the tough bristles that my inexpensive machine uses.
Next I looked at dry cleaning – something I’d never tried before. This process involves spraying a biodegradable cleaning compound into the carpet; this compound absorbs dirt and grime and is then vacuumed away. I liked the idea that dry cleaning could be completed so quickly – especially given how long my carpet would be damp after one of my attempts to clean. But I was still skeptical about the ability to any vacuum to pull up all of the junk.
Next I looked at the method that uses carbonation to clean. While I knew that some people believe in applying club soda to clothing stains, I didn’t know that carbonation was also used on carpets. With this cleaning method, bubbles rather than soaps or detergents are employed to loosen up the anything trapped in the carpet. After the carbonation has done its work, a relatively conventional hot water extraction method is used to pull up all of the grit and grime.
After reading up on the different methods, I was sure that a professional could remove more liquid – and more grime from my carpet – than I was able to do on my own. I thought it was likely that a professional vacuum would also be much more effective than mine at pulling out debris, so maybe dry cleaning might also work for me. But I liked the idea of cleaning carpets with a minimum of chemicals; if carbonation could do that, I was all for it.
With that in mind, I decided to give a pro a try this time around. It was time to call a carpet cleaner, put those tiny bubbles to work, and take the next step in my research.