(It should be noted that before starting either method, the carpet should be vacuumed first. This make the cleaning process easier.)
Wet Carpet Cleaning
The first method we'll take a look at is the wet cleaning method. Wet cleaning methods, as the name suggest, use the most amount of water in the cleaning process. There are two main types of wet cleaning methods shampooing and steam cleaning.
With the shampooing method, you literally shampoo the carpet. The carpet cleaning machine covers the fibers with a shampoo foam. This process stirs up the dirt and stains. When the dirt is stirred up, it becomes trapped inside the shampoo. After the carpet has dried, it can vacuumed clean. The dirt and stains, which had previously been attached to the carpet fibers, are cleaned away with the dried shampoo solution.
Steam cleaning can also be classified as a wet cleaning method. With steam cleaning, your carpet cleaner spays a mixture of hot water and detergent on the carpet. This loosens the dirt. A specialized vacuum is then brought in to suck the water from the carpet.
Dry Carpet Cleaning
With the dry cleaning method, a moist powder is spread over the carpet and then massaged into the fibers with a special machine. The powder consists mostly of detergent, a dissolving solvent, and an absorbent. It also contains a slight amount of water, enough to make it moist. The special makeup of the powder allows it to act as powerful cleaning agent. After the powder is spread across the carpet, it is vacuumed clean.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Each
Dry cleaning is considered a 'surface clean.' In other words, it doesn't clean as deeply as a wet clean does. The advantage of a dry clean is that it's faster. With a wet cleaning, you may need to wait anywhere from 12 to 24 hours for the solution to dry. And so that is also the potential downside to a wet clean it does take a little longer. The advantage, as mentioned, is that it's more forceful and more thorough, and so the wait is often worth it.
My Carpet Cleaning Process
In my own business for carpet cleaning in Charlotte, I use the following process.First I survey the area to be cleaned to understand the layout of the area and the type of dirt and stains I will be dealing with.Next I vacuum the area to remove as much 'easy' dirt as possible.After vacuuming, I pre-condition the carpet with a specialized cleaning solution. This emulsifies the suspended dirt and bio materials.Next I agitate the areas that receive the most amount of foot traffic. This serves to loosen the compacted dirt.After agitation, I rinse the cleaning solutions applied in Step 3. This leaves the carpet fibers residue free.If there are stubborn stain spots, I then treat these areas with specialized stain removers. If necessary, these areas are left to 'dwell' for a time so that the spot removers can really do their work. When the proper amount of time has passed, the removal solutions are rinsed from the carpet.Once the carpet has been completely cleaned and all the stains have been removed, I normally apply Dupont's Teflon Advanced Fiber Protectant for carpets. Although this last step is optional, I recommend it.