HomeownerHelpful Info: Cleaning Services

Carpet, Upholstery & Rug Cleaning

Carpet, Upholstery & Rug Cleaning Educational Content

Before cleaning the carpet, the technician will thoroughly vacuum it. This initial deep clean is an essential step in the cleaning process. The technician will then perform one of the following carpet cleaning methods:

Hot water extraction uses a hot water extraction system, usually truck-mounted. After the initial vacuuming, the technician sprays a cleaning agent onto the carpet. Then, they work the cleaning solution into the carpet fibers with a soft brush.

After about 15 minutes, the technician will rinse the carpet with clean, hot water. The now-dirty water is pulled back into the reservoir along with dirt, grease, and oils from the carpet. A properly cleaned carpet will typically dry within 12 to 24 hours. The technician may also apply an anti-wicking powder to the carpet. This treatment keeps stains from reappearing during the drying process.

Dry extraction cleaning means that the technician will use a dry cleaning solution. After vacuuming, the technician applies a cleaning solution made with synthetic particles. These tiny particles work like microscopic sponges. Once the solution is worked into the carpet, these tiny sponges suck up all the dirt and grime in the carpet. The dirty solution then gets vacuumed up. Dry carpet cleaning usually takes longer than other methods. It can also be a more expensive process. The big advantage of dry carpet cleaning is that you don’t have to wait for the clean carpet to dry.

Encapsulation cleaning is another dry carpet cleaning method. It’s most often used for commercial carpets, but some companies use it for homes, too. After vacuuming the carpet, the technician applies the cleaning solution. This solution bonds to dirt, grease, and oils in the carpet and holds it in tiny, quick-drying crystals. The carpet is then vacuumed again. This final step gets rid of the crystals and the dirt and grime that was in the carpet.

Carpets that are cleaned this way dry quickly. The encapsulation cleaning method can be less effective on carpets that are especially oily or greasy.

Upholstery cleaning methods can vary based on the type of stain and the fabric type. Hot water extraction cleaning will work for most fabrics. It’s a good idea to check your furniture for cleaning instructions first. These details are often found on a furniture tag located out of sight, like underneath a cushion. Water-based cleaning, usually denoted with a “W” on the tag, is used for synthetic fabrics.

Solvent-based cleaning, or dry cleaning, is generally marked with an “S” on the tag. This method is best for natural fibers. If the cleaning instructions are missing, check with the furniture store. If the fabric type is truly a mystery, have it professionally cleaned. Upholstery cleaning experts can do a burn test to determine the fabric type. To do this, they’ll remove and burn a strand of fiber from a hidden spot in the upholstery. The way the fiber burns can reveal the fabric type.

Stains. The regular cleaning process will remove most common stains and spots. It’s still a good idea to point out all known stains before any work begins. The pros know which products to use for which stains.

Resoiling. As some detergents and spot removers dry, they can become chemically sticky. If these solutions aren’t fully rinsed away, the carpet might get dirty again very quickly.

Restretching. When carpet is properly installed, it is stretched tightly and should stay flat and taut. Problems with the carpet or the way it was installed can cause it to lose its stretch. Carpet that has lost its stretch often looks bumpy or wrinkled. Often, restretching permanently fixes the problem. Your technician should use a power stretcher to deliver the best result.

Patching. Patching is an option for areas where carpet fibers are permanently damaged. The technician cuts out the damaged section of the carpet and replaces it with a piece of the same carpet.
If you don’t have remnants of the carpet on hand, the technician can take a section from a closet or another hidden area. Some types of carpet are easier to patch than others. Your technician will let you know what to expect from the finished product.

Vacuuming. Regular vacuuming prolongs the life of your carpet. Most professionals recommend vacuuming at least once or twice a week. High-traffic areas should be cleaned more often. When vacuuming, use front-to-back, overlapping strokes. This method helps loosen and get rid of as much dirt and residue as possible. Vacuuming can also improve indoor air quality. When you’re in the market for a new vacuum, look for a machine with a good filtration system. High-quality filters help prevent dust from escaping the vacuum and going back into the air.

Shoes and door mats. If possible, everyone in the household should take off their shoes as soon as they come home. This habit helps prevent dirt and grime from getting on the carpet. Door mats are also useful in keeping dirt off the floor. Clean door mats often.

Rugs and furniture. Use rugs to protect the carpet in high-traffic areas. Area rugs and hallway runners keep your carpets looking good for many years. Vacuum your rugs regularly. Also have them professionally cleaned a few times per year.

Periodically rearranging your furniture can also help prevent carpet wear. Heavy furniture may crush carpet pile and cause deep indentations. Fortunately, this can be easily fixed. Spray a small amount of water on the indentation, and then use a pile-grooming brush to lift the fibers back into shape.

Prices that seem too good to be true usually are. Be sure to read the fine print. Other deals will stretch the definition of carpet cleaning. A technician who does a hasty job on the carpets has not given you an actual deal on carpet cleaning. Phone estimates are a common industry practice. Stain removal and other repairs usually cost extra, so mention all problem spots to get an accurate estimate.