What is the Best Carpet Cleaning Method?

Do we live in a geocentric universe? What will Air Jordans look like in 2015? Will I be late to work today? Sometimes, only time can give us the answers to our most pertinent questions. We'd like to resolve one such question: "What is the best carpet cleaning method?" as many a homeowner has undoubtedly asked themselves, wringing their hands and lighting incense for the guidance of carpet guardians. At least, that's how we imagine it went.

Fortunately, modern technology has given us an answer. Air Jordans are still pretty sweet. And, there is a definite winner among carpet cleaning methods. Different companies offer different services, and for the most part they can all be broken down into four categories. Here's an analysis of the most common carpet cleaning methods, and what they mean for your carpet.

Method: Carpet Shampoooing

Carpet shampooing is a somewhat outdated carpet cleaning method. A chemical with strong lathering properties is infused into the carpet, where it foams, dries, draws in any dirt. The following day, a vacuum is applied to draw the shampoo from the carpet…in theory.

Pick up a bottle of shampoo and you're bound to see some version of 'sodium lauryl sulfate' in the ingredients list. This foamy chemical is what gives a lot of soaps their suds. Additionally, when it mingles with water it works to emulsify grease. Sounds effective, right? When it comes to hair, the effectiveness of sulfate shampoo is debated; when it comes to carpet, the vote is unanimous.

While it appears to work on the dirtiest of carpets, shampooing leaves wet residue in the fiber. Even after the vacuum has been applied, there will always be residue with this method. This is problematic because when the shampoo dries, it becomes sticky. It's like have tiny dirt magnets in your carpet. The result is a carpet that re-soils much more quickly.

Soaps may also contain optical brighteners, which can cause carpets to yellow over time! Summation: shampooing is not the best carpet cleaning method.

Pros of Carpet Shampooing

  • Clean appearance (initially)
  • Low cost

Cons of Carpet Shampooing

  • Long drying time
  • Involves strong chemicals
  • May discolor over time
  • Overwetting leads to shrinkage and mold
  • Leaves residue in carpet
  • Quickly re-soils

Method: Encapsulation

Similar to shampooing in that it involves detergents, encapsulation uses a base (usually a polymer) that dries and forms crystals. The process breaks down soil bound to fibers, but it also acts as a redistributor, evenly distributing particles throughout the wet carpet. The crystallizing polymers absorb these particles and are extracted through a vacuum. Encapsulation may also involve crushed silica which give the appearance of instant clean. Unfortunately, the decades-old technology is limited. It may have a short drying time but it's not the best carpet cleaning method on a heavily soiled carpet.

Pros of Encapsulation

  • Low moisture
  • Less residue
  • Fast drying time
  • Clean appearance

Cons of Encapsulation

  • Use of chemicals and detergents
  • Ineffective on heavily soiled carpets
  • Higher Cost

Method: Dry Carpet Cleaning

After vacuuming the carpet and spraying heavily soiled areas with additional detergent, technicians apply a dry compound to carpets. This is usually a mixture of water and detergent, with something added for absorbency. The cleaner draws in soil, but does so without the danger of overwetting, which can occur in wet methods. Vacuuming the carpet a second time removes the cleaner from carpet fibers. However, as with all detergent-reliant methods, there is the risk of residue being left in the carpet. In the severest cases, the residue will appear like white chalk on your socks and pant hems. Any chemicals used in the cleaning process remain in your carpet. This can affect your indoor air quality and potentially even allergies.

Pros of Dry Carpet Cleaning

  • No drying time
  • Effective clean

Cons of Dry Carpet Cleaning

  • Use of chemicals
  • Leaves residue / build-up
  • Affects indoor air quality
  • May affect allergies

The Best Carpet Cleaning Method: Steaming / Hot Water Extraction

Hot water extraction is sometimes used interchangeably with steaming, but there is a difference between the two. Hot water extraction involves hot water, as implied by the name. For that reason, hot water extraction is the best carpet cleaning method for natural carpet fibers because it minimizes shrinkage.

In either case, machinery ejects water at a high pressure. Water blasts dirt away from carpet fibers and dissolves in the water. Some cleaners may also incorporate detergents for heavily soiled areas, but this of course can lead to residue.

Pros of Steaming / Hot Water Extraction

  • Deepest clean, penetrates into carpet
  • Endorsed by almost every carpet manufacturer
  • Little to no residue
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle enough for natural fibers
  • Highly trained technicians

Cons of Steaming / Hot Water Extraction

  • Long drying period
  • Higher Cost
  • Overwetting

Which method does Zerorez use?

Zerorez is a hot water extraction method but with fewer drawbacks. Thanks to our unique, patented process, we leave behind absolutely no residue! We generate high pH (alkaline) Zr Water™ from ordinary tap water at our facility and bring it to you in our specially equipped cleaning vans. It cleans more effectively than detergents or soaps, and dries more quickly than traditional wet methods, giving you the best of both.

Additionally, we have a Platinum Rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute. That means we offer the best possible clean in the industry. To learn more or schedule an appointment, reach us at zerorezla.com or give us a ring at 818-881-5744.

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