Smart Homeowner’s Guide to Carpet Cleaning


My wife and I recently entertained a close friend of ours and his family in our home. We like entertaining guests. We’d love it if it didn’t require so much effort and time! 

Shopping, cleaning the house, setting the table, getting the children ready, cooking, getting ready yourself – we got so tired by the time the guests arrived that we just wanted to curl up in our bed and call it a night.

After the guests left, we noticed that a large patch of wine had stained our carpet. My wife let out a heavy sigh and exclaimed, ”Not again!” 

Keeping your home clean is not easy and having a carpeted floor makes it even worse. Especially when you have two daughters and a dog who’re always bringing in dirt, sand, and literally whatever manages to cling to the bottom of their shoes and paws. 

The comfort, warmth, and aesthetic appeal carpets offer add a touch of class to any room. The only downside to carpets is they need cleaning on a regular basis. 

And you can’t just ignore them either. Dirty carpets look ugly and dishevelled, leaving a bad impression on your guests. 

If not maintained properly, dusty and grimy carpets become home for harmful microbes and foul smell. They attract bacteria and insects that break down carpet fibres and breed nasty germs. These germs can have an adverse affect on your health, comfort and air quality inside your house. 

This guide will show you how you can clean carpets and maintain them. We’ll cover how you can get rid of few common, persistent stains and what products available in your house can cheaply help you with that. 

Section 1: The basics of carpet cleaning

Dirty carpets can be a threat to the health of your family and guests. Each time you walk back to your house from outside, you bring a load of allergens such as pollen and dust with you. 

These allergens can cause respiratory problemssuch as wheezing and sneezing. The dust and dirt particles are also a home for bugs and insects that are not visible to the human eye – and the little mites gradually eat the fibres on your carpet. 

When carpets become clogged with dust, dirt and debris around the walls, it restricts the circulation of air and creates an unpleasant smell. The microbes contribute to this smell and affect the air quality in your house. 

This smell will often go without detection to the occupants of the house because you become accustomed to it. But the guests will detect it immediately and wonder what kind of a person can stand it all day. Not exactly the impression you want them to have, right?

Don’t get me started on pets either. They bring in a number of harmful bacteria that can cause illness back to the house after every walk outside. 

If you’re a tenant, there is another reason for you to keep your landlord’s carpet clean and free of dirt. 

Your contract must be containing a clause about leaving the house clean, it is almost a standard point these days. If you ignore this, your landlord will pay for a cleaning service out of your deposit – and they always choose the most expensive one!

What is the Lifespan of a Carpet?

As a general rule of thumb, the average lifespan of an inexpensive carpet in a family household is 3 to 5 years. This is based on a family of four with an average amount of foot traffic. 

Medium grade carpets made from nylon or triexta, on the other hand, will last 5 to 15 years. Top-of-the-range carpets should last up to 25 years if they are well maintained. 

If you have a young family and/or pets, your carpets are prone to spillages, vomit and friction. This means the fabric will degrade quicker for you.

Carpets that are exposed to sunlight will also discolour and dull the fabric. Drawing the curtains or putting up a blind is a simple solution to block out the sun. 

The length and quality of the fibre determine how much wear and tear the carpet can take. 

Regardless of your living conditions, the longevity of a carpet can be extended with the regular maintenance and by applying the correct cleaning methods.

Cleaning carpets using the proper techniques will maintain the condition of your carpets for longer. How you treat stains and spillages is the key to the lifespan of a carpet.

Remove stains as quickly as possible and vacuum your carpet on a regular basis to remove dust, dirt, and insects that degrade the fabric. 

To extend the lifespan of your carpet, have them professionally cleaned every six to 18 months. 

What lives in your carpet?

When researchers embarked on a study to determine what lives in your carpet, they were horrified to discover some 200,000 types of bacteria and fungi lurking in every square inch. 

The average carpet is 700 times dirtier – and dangerous – than a toilet seat. It is estimated that the average British household accumulates 20 kilograms of grime a year – and the particles infest your carpet. 

Dust and dirt act as an abrasive against carpet fibres. Not only is that bad for the wear and tear of the carpet, but it also diminishes the appearance and can lead to health issues.

Added to the dirt is around half a million skin flakes a day, together with dried saliva, hair, pet hair and dander, all of which is fodder for microscopic insects such as fleas, ticks, and mites. Ants, flies and defunct spider webs add to the party of common household insects.

On top of that, you will typically bring in pollen, tiny pieces of broken leaves, and other organic matter into the house from the outside. 

Carpets also absorb moisture which subsequently supports biological growth. 

If you have pets, like us, the vast array of organisms living in your carpet is magnified. 

Pets attract fleas which lay eggs, and animals are more inclined to walk faeces into the house after running in the park. The resulting bacteria could contain illness-causing germs such as E.coli, salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus (staph).  

How Often Should I Clean My Carpets?

Vacuuming every 2 or 3 days is the standard practice to remove dust, dirt and food particles that will otherwise degrade the fabric. Vacuuming removes majority of dust and other debris.

If your carpets are subject to heavy traffic, vacuum every day. You should also clean heavily soiled areas every three to six weeks with a carpet cleaning solution. 

Attend to spillages as soon as possible to prevent stains and lasting damage. 

How Often Should I Steam Clean My Carpets

Having your carpets steam-cleaned by a professional agency is the best way to keep your carpets looking fresh and protected from bugs. Steam penetrates carpet fibres and, for the majority of carpets is the most effective method of cleaning. 

Carpets made from natural fibres, on the other hand, should be cleaned using a dry compound. 

If you have children, pets or smokers living with you, it’s recommended that you professionally steam-clean your carpets every six months to a year. 

Households that don’t have a great deal of foot traffic or soiling will be okay with a professional clean at least once a year to 18 months. 

Again, these timescales are averages and should only be used as a guideline. You will know when your carpet needs a proper clean when you notice a build-up of dirt around the doorway.

As a rule of thumb, clean your carpets more frequently if you: 

  • Live with someone that suffers from an allergy 
  • Have young children and/or pets
  • Live in a dusty region or get a lot of smog
  • Often tread mud or oil into the house
  • Host high pollinating plants near the house
  • Live with smokers

Now that you know why carpet cleaning is important and how often you should do it, we should take a look at some of the ways in which you can remove common stains from your carpet. 

Section 2: How to Clean Common Carpet Stains

Soiling your carpet is inevitable. No matter what precautions you take to avoid spillages, and regardless of your living conditions, your carpet will become stained. 

The good news is that there are simple and effective cleaning methods you can use for just about every type of stain. Not only that but in most cases, you can use typical household agents.

Let’s take a look at some of these methods.

How to Clean Vomit from a Carpet

  1. Use absorbent paper or an old towel to soak up most vomit and scrape away chunks of solid matter. 
  2. Sprinkle the contaminated area with salt or baking powder and leave the substance for 10 to 15 minutes. This will lift any residue from the carpet fibres.
  3. Vacuum over the area to remove the absorbent agent, and treat the area with a commercial stain remover that can be used on carpets. 
  4. Blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Do not scrub the wet patch as this will push vomit into the carpet fibres.
  5. Allow the infected area to dry overnight and, if possible, open a window to ventilate the room and get rid of the smell. If you have a steam cleaner, use it on the stained area to deep clean the fibres. A stream cleaner eliminates germs and bacteria that create foul odours. 

How to Clean Human Urine from a Carpet?

  1. Use an absorbent towel to blot up as much of the urine as possible.
  2. Mix a solution of water and vinegar; 1/2 a cup of warm water and 1/2 a cup of vinegar.
  3. Saturate the urine patch and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to absorb the residue. Then blot it dry. 
  4. Sprinkle baking powder or salt over the infected area .
  5. Mix 3/4 cup of peroxide with 1tea spoon of dish soap, stir the solution and gently pour it over the absorbent solution. 
  6. Put on some protective gloves and massage the solution into the carpet with your fingers.
  7. Leave the area to dry out completely. You may want to lay a side of newspaper over the area so nobody walks through it. 
  8. Once the area is dry, vacuum up the salt, or baking powder.

How to get Milk out of a Carpet

  1. Use absorbent paper, cloth or towel to soak up as much milk as possible.
  2. Take a small bowl and mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon of liquid hand-washing detergent.
  3. Lightly dampen a cloth and moisten it with the mixture. 
  4. Use the cloth to blot up the milk until the stain has disappeared.
  5. Sprinkle cornstarch or ammonia over the affected area and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes or however, long it takes for the agent to soak up the remaining residue of milk. 
  6. Once the area is dry, take out the hoover and vacuum the affected area of the carpet.

How to Clean Wine from a Carpet

  1. Take a dry cloth and blot up as much spilt wine as possible. The more you are able to soak up, the easier the stain is to remove. 
  2. Once you have soaked up the wine, pour cold water directly on to the stain. This will help to dilute whatever wine is left in the carpet fibre. 
  3. Continue blotting the stain with the cloth until you can’t get any more out.
  4. Make a paste mix by adding baking soda to some water at a ratio of one part soda and three parts water. 
  5. Apply the mixture to the tainted area and leave the paste to dry.
  6. Hoover up the dry paste.
  7. If there is still a visible stain, apply a carpet stain remover.

How to Clean Dried Blood from a Carpet

  1. Brush the affected area with a steel brush to loosen the blood particles and remove the mass of the stain from the surface.
  2. Then mix one teaspoon of ammonia or dishwashing detergent with two cups of cold water. 
  3. Soak a dry, clean cloth or a sponge with the mixture and blot it onto the bloodstain until the stain disappears.
  4. Leave the area to dry out. If the bloodstain persists, add hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and cover it with a paper kitchen towel.
  5. Then put something heavy on top of the paper towels to weigh it down so the substance is soaked up.  

How to Remove Fresh Bloodstains from a Carpet

  1. Always wear gloves as handling blood might be very dangerous
  2. Add some water to the bloodstain to dilute the stain by dabbing it with a wet cloth. Rinse the area with cold water.
  3. Dry the area with a towel or cloth, then lay some paper towels over the carpet to soak up any excess moisture.
  4. Leave the area to dry out them run the vacuum cleaner over it to plump up the carpet fibres.
  5. Dispose of contaminated materials responsibly

How to Clean Cooking Oil Stains from a Carpet

  1. Use paper towels to blot up as much oil as possible. Keep doing this until no more oil appears in the towel. 
  2. Apply a small amount of alcohol onto a clean washcloth and dab it onto the oil stain. Make sure to blot, and not wipe as this will spread oil across a wider surface.
  3. Concoct a mixture made of one-quarter cup of water and a 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Ideally, the dishwashing liquid will be a well-known brand that is effective at fighting grease and does not contain any lanolin or bleach that could fade the colour on your carpet.
  4. Apply the dishwashing mix to the oil stain using a clean sponge and work it into the affected area until the stain is no longer visible.
  5. Wash the soap suds out with a small amount of water and blot it up with a clean towel
  6. Add a paper towel to the affected area to soak up the remaining drops of moisture.
  7. Leave the area to dry.

How to Clean Motor Oil Stains from a Carpet

  1. Scrape the excess oil away with a butter knife. Be careful not to press down too hard otherwise you could damage the carpet fibres.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch directly onto the oil stain and leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Hoover the powder up.
  4. Take a clean cloth and apply several drops of dry-cleaning solvent and dab it into the motor oil stain. 
  5. If the stain is still visible, mix two cups of warm water with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and work the solution into the stain using a clean sponge.
  6. Continue until the stain disappears.
  7. Rinse the affected area with cold water and leave it to dry.

How to Clean Ink from a Carpet

  1. Take a can of hairspray and moisten the ink stain.
  2. With a towel, dab the affected area gently. You should see the ink transferring to the towel. 
  3. Continue dabbing until the ink stain disappears.
  4. Dampen a towel with lukewarm water and blot the area gently to clean up any remaining traces of hairspray and leave to dry.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint from a Carpet

  1. Scrape away as much wet paint as possible with a putty knife.
  2. When the paint starts to dry out, scrape away the flakes with a steel brush.
  3. Vacuum the area then remove the pieces of paint and continue scraping until you can’t get any more flakes loose.
  4. Soak the area with Isopropyl alcohol concentrate and dab it with a dry cloth.
  5. Leave the patch for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the solution to loosen the particles
  6. Then blot the stain using a clean cloth to remove as much paint as possible. Be careful to use dabbing motions rather than scrubbing otherwise you could damage the carpet fibres.
  7. A steam cleaner is also useful at this point in order to deeply moisten the carpet fibres and break up the remaining particles of paint.
  8. The next step is to apply glycerin to a clean cloth and dab it into the paint stain.
  9. Repeat the blotting process until the stain is completely lifted.
  10. Leave the area to dry for a couple of hours then vacuum the carpet.

How to Clean Makeup Products from a Carpet

Nail Polish

  1. Wet the stain with cold water using a damp cloth
  2. Spray around 15 pumps of hairspray into the stain then rub five small splashes of concentrated alcohol onto the affected area
  3. Scrub the carpet with a small scrubbing brush. 
  4. Whilst your scrubbing, continue to add clean water to the area every minute or so until the stain is no longer visible.

Eyeshadow 

  1. If you have a light carpet, you can use hydrogen peroxide. Although it does have bleaching properties that can fade the colour of carpet fibres, a few drops on a light coloured carpet is safe.
  2. Allow the solution to settle and work its way into the carpet fibres for a couple of minutes.
  3. Take a dry microfibre cloth and blot the affected area with gentle dabs
  4. Once most of the moisture has been removed, take a new microfibre cloth and dampen it with water. Dab this cloth into the wet patch to remove trace of hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Use a third cloth, or paper towel to soak up the water

Eyeliner 

  1. Mix a small portion of water and white vinegar in equal measure
  2. Dab the mixture on to a clean cloth
  3. Working from the outside in so you don’t smudge the eyeliner into the carpet, blot the stain with the cloth until the eyeliner is all cleared up
  4. Sprinkle the remaining vinegar solution on the affected area and lightly blot it with a clean microfibre cloth

Foundation 

  1. It’s important to tackle a foundation spillage asap otherwise it seeps into the carpet and creates a deeper stain. First of all, scrape up any excess powder with a butter knife as soon as possible.
  2. Mix some dish soap with cold water and lightly dampen it onto a clean cloth.
  3. Working from the outside in, gently blot the stain until there is no more foundation on the carpet
  4. Remove the traces of soapy water by blotting a clean microfibre cloth on the wet patch of the carpet
  5. Leave the carpet to dry then run over it with a vacuum cleaner

Section 3: Common Home Remedies for Cleaning Carpets

Although specially formulated carpet cleaning agents are the most effective way of removing stains that can blemish your carpet, there are a number of household items that, in most cases, will do the job just as well. 

Listed below are several home remedies you can use to clean a carpet with solutions you probably have knocking around the house. 

We have also included some alternative options you might want to consider if you have not successfully removed the stain using typical home remedies. But the alternative should only be used as a last resort and applied carefully.

Cleaning Carpets with Baking Soda

Baking soda has numerous practical solutionsfor around the home – cleaning carpets among them. 

Thanks to its non-toxic and biodegradable properties, baking soda is an excellent home remedy you can use for cleaning carpets. It ph-balancing properties fight odours such as pet urine and smoke, and because it’s not abrasive does not wear down carpet fibres. 

Not only that but baking soda absorbs excess moisture so can be used for oily and non-oily spillages, and helps to dry out wet patches in your carpet quicker. 

To use baking soda for cleaning carpets, sprinkle a generous portion over the stain and leave it to settle overnight or for 5 to 6 hours during the day. 

Once the compound has been allowed to settle for a sufficient period, it will become dry and crusty. At this point vacuum the carpet. 

Cleaning Carpets with Vinegar 

Plain white vinegar is arguably as effective at cleaning carpets as baking soda. Its acidic properties make vinegar a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agent which is effective at killing the germs and microbes that live in your carpet.

Not only is vinegar a tough component for removing stains, but it’s also effective at tackling mould and loosening dirt particles from carpet fibres. It can also be mixed with deodorising liquids to help leave your carpets looking fluffy and smelling fresh.

When using vinegar to clean carpets it’s important to dilute the solution with equal amounts of water otherwise it will discolour the carpet fibres.

Apply the mixture by either lightly sprinkling or spraying the solution over the stain, or dabbing it into the stain you are treating with a clean cloth. 

It should be noted that white vinegar is not always effective on the first rinse so you may need to repeat the process several times before it works.

Cleaning Carpets with Bleach

One of the hottest questions with regards carpet cleaning is whether bleach is effective or just not a good idea. The short answer is that you can use bleach to clean carpets but only as a last resort. Also follow the correct procedure outlined below. 

There are certain circumstances when bleach is not recommended.

Because bleach contains strong chemicals it can strip the colour out of carpet fibres. Therefore, only use bleach on white or very light coloured carpets. 

We do not recommend using on woollen carpets or carpets that are made from synthetic fibres. 

Furthermore, always dilute bleach with water. The correct way to use bleach for cleaning carpets is to measure one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water.

Never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar.

After using bleach to clean carpet stains, you should also be very careful to shut off the area to pets and small children otherwise they could suffer from a chemical burn. 

For the same reason, you should wear rubber gloves when using bleach. Health and safety experts even recommend wearing a mask as overexposure to bleach can have a negative effect on the respiratory system.

To clean a carpet with bleach, apply the solution and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Then wash the affected area thoroughly with carpet shampoo and give it a good rinse with clean water.

Household Products You Shouldn’t Use  

There are some products that were used to clean carpets in the past but were found to damage the carpet and health of the residents. Although they are less common in every household, they pose a threat to your carpet and your health if not used properly. 

We recommend that you use these products only if you have not had successful results after using other carpet cleaning options.

The health risk is not worth the amount of money you’ll save from not buying a proper cleaning solution instead. 

Borax

Otherwise known as sodium tetraborate, borax is a natural ingredientand is used in several cleaning products including all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergent. 

Adding borax to baking soda or vinegar helps to give these homemade carpet cleaning solutions some added strength for lifting out dirt and stains from your carpet. 

Although borax is a low-toxicity pesticide, there is a concern that overexposure to the compound could pose health risks. It is therefore recommended that homemade cleaning solutions that contain borax are used sparingly. 

To use borax as a carpet cleaning agent, add one cup to a mix of baking soda and water, blot the solution into the stain and leave it for several hours to dry out. 

You can speed up the drying time by placing paper towels over the wet patch. When the area is fully dry, run over it with a vacuum cleaner.

Ammonia

Ammonia is found in several commercial cleaning agents used in the bathroom and kitchen. It is an excellent aid for killing microbes but is highly toxic and the fumes can cause headaches or respiratory issues if inhaled for too long.

Because ammonia is highly alkaline, it is corrosive and can discolour carpet fibres. It should never be uses on a carpet made from wool or natural fibres. 

Although you can use ammonia to clean carpets, use it sparingly and follow the health and safety precautions below. We recommend that you only use ammonia if you have not had successful results after using other carpet cleaning options.

To use ammonia for cleaning stains, mix 2 tablespoons with a cup of water and use a sponge or clean cloth to apply the solution to the stain. 

Immediately afterwards, blot the area with warm water soapy water made from dishwashing detergent. Also be careful to dab the affected area. Do not scrub the carpet. Allow the carpet to dry before running the vacuum over it.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural chemical and is increasingly considered as a carpet cleaning agent because it’s more environmentally friendly than commercial cleaning agents sold in supermarkets. 

Although it’s possible to use hydrogen peroxide to clean carpets, its chemical properties can slightly discolour carpet fibres. It is advisable to test it on a small area to determine the after-affect on the appearance of your carpet.

Always use a solution of hydrogen peroxide that is no more than three per cent concentrate and dilute it with water. 

To use hydrogen peroxide for cleaning carpets, mix it with hot water at a ratio of 1:5 and add a teaspoon of biodegradable dishwashing detergent. Use a soft brush to scrub the mix on the stain. After cleaning, open a window to ventilate the room.

Section 4: How to Maintain Clean Carpets

Applying the proper care and maintenance to your carpet enables you to prevent your floors from getting overly dirty and keeps them looking beautiful for longer. 

Regular cleaning enables you to increase the lifespan of your carpet. To get more wear out of it you need to remove the dirt and grime that causes friction and makes a home for millions of bugs that nibble away at your carpet fibres.

The obvious rule of thumb to maintaining clean carpets is to vacuum regularly. The frequency depends on how much foot traffic passes through your house:

  1. An average household of 2-4 people can get away with vacuuming every couple of days. 
  2. If you have pets or children trampling in dirt, pollen and fertiliser, you should hoover every day. 

Carpet manufacturers typically recommend steam cleaning carpets at every 6 to 12 months. For carpets made from natural fibres, use an alternative professional cleaning service such as encapsulation or dry cleaning.

These types of services effectively penetrate carpet fibres and perform a deep cleanse on carpets. This not only makes your carpet look plush but also protects them from microbes that degenerate carpet fibres. As a result, your carpet lasts longer.  

How to Protect Carpets from getting Dirty Quickly

Every time you enter the house after being outdoors, your shoes are covered in soil, oil, dirt, pollen, fertiliser and all manner of bacteria – all of which spills into your carpets. This is why you should leave your shoes at the door. 

Cooking oil also gets airborne and can carry some distance before falling to the floor. If you have carpeted areas next to your kitchen, close the door to prevent cooking oil soiling your carpet fibres. 

Environmental experts suggest carpets should be properly cleaned every 1-2 years to maintain a healthy home environment.

The best time to clean your carpet, and prevent it from getting dirty quickly, is to have it deep cleaned before it starts looking dirty and worn. Carpets can hold up to 10lbs of soil per square foot before it starts looking dirty.

If your carpets are not deep cleaned at least once a year, the fibres develop a build up of dirt. When a carpet is excessively soiled it is harder to remove the grime and harmful microbes even with a deep clean. 

It’s also important to clean your carpets using the effective detergents and the right technique. There is no one carpet cleaning technique that is suitable for every type of carpet.

Section 5: Best Methods for Cleaning Carpets

For quick carpet cleanups and regular maintenance, you’ll want to use your vacuum cleaner and simple cleaning products. 

But there will be days when you’ll have a hard time getting the carpet clean on your own. No matter how much you’ll vacuum, you won’t be able to get all the hairs and crumbs out. Scrubbing stubborn stains until your fingers are raw might not be enough to remove the blemish. 

Sometimes you have to face the facts that ordinary house cleaning utensils are not up to the job of properly cleaning carpets. The good news is there are alternative carpet cleaning methods that are more effective.

Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction

Steam cleaning uses water that has been heated to between 150°Fand 200°F. The resulting steam absorbs into the fibres of the carpet and dissolves the dirt – leaving you with a fresh, comfortable and bacteria-free carpet.

Steam cleaning involves applying a cleaning agent to your carpet and agitating the fibres with a soft brush. The cleaning agent is then left to settle for a short while before being washed through and left to dry at room temperature.

The benefit of steam cleaning your carpet is that the high temperatures are effective at loosening particles of dirt and killing microbiological organisms such as bacteria, fungus and dust mites. The debris is then sucked up into a vacuum cleaner.  

Furthermore, steaming reaches the tight nooks and crannies you don’t always reach with a vacuum or other types of carpet cleaning methods. It is for this reason why cleaning professionals recommend steam cleaning your carpets over other methods. 

Having said that, steam cleaning is not ideal for all types of carpets. It works best on woollen, synthetic and wool blend carpet fibres. If your carpets are made from natural fibres such as Viscose, Tencel, Seagrass and Jute, however, the best option is dry compound cleaning.

Steaming also uses quite a lot of water which means it can take a while before your carpet is dry. Although steam cleaning carpets is the most widely used method, it is one of the more expensive carpet cleaning solutions. 

Carpet Shampooing

Shampooing, or foaming, has its merits but is a less popular method of carpet cleaning today. Although it is still performed by many professional cleaning agencies, carpet shampooing is typically coupled with steam cleaning. 

While shampooing is fast and inexpensive, it is not the most effective method for drawing out dirt and grime. And because the foam is left to dry out without being rinsed, it tends to leave a sticky residue on your carpet.

House owners that try shampoo carpet cleaning by themselves will typically use a vacuum cleaner to clean away the sticky surface. But not all vacuum cleaners are effective enough to remove all the foam. 

Steam, on the other hand, loosens the hardened foam and allows you to completely remove it from the surface of your carpet. This is why you will usually find professional cleaners using a steamer following a shampoo.

Encapsulation

Foam encapsulation is essentially the evolution of shampoo carpet cleaning. The new technology is more environmentally friendly and is capable of tackling tough stains and unground dirt. 

The method uses synthetic detergents that crystallise into powder after drying. This creates a base which loosens dirt particles in the carpet fibre and makes it easier to vacuum away carpet debris. 

As a result, this carpet cleaning method performs a deeper cleanse so you don’t need to clean your carpets as often – even in high foot traffic areas. 

As the encapsulation method uses less water, your carpet dries out quicker.

The disadvantage of the encapsulation method is that you need a motorised rotary brush for the cleaning technique to be effective. Together with the specially formulated cleaning solution, encapsulation is slightly more expensive than other cleaning methods.

Bonnet Cleaning

This carpet cleaning method is ideal for routine maintenance on lightly soiled carpets. Although bonnet cleaning only removes particles from the surface, it is considered a quick-fix solution that does not create a disturbance to general day-to-day activities. 

When performing bonnet cleaning, the surface of the carpet is initially vacuumed to remove surface dust, hairs and loose dirt particles. The carpet is then sprayed with a chemical solution and left to rest. 

Once the chemical has been given time to react with the carpet fibres, cleaners use a heavy-duty motorised floor machine which is fitted with large absorbent pads, or a bonnet as it is known in the trade, and spun over the carpet at 100 to 300 rpm. 

The rotary action embeds the chemical solution into the carpet fibres and the pads absorb dirt from the surface of the carpet. 

Because the bonnet cleaning method does not require much moisture, the carpets dry quickly. It is, therefore, a popular method of cleaning in hotels that get a lot of foot traffic but need to keep all areas open so as not to inconvenience guests.

Bonnet cleaning may leave the carpet looking bright and clean, but because it does not penetrate the deeper parts of the pile, the fresh, clean appearance is not long-lasting. 

Another disadvantage of bonnet cleaning is that the carpet fibres retain a build-up of chemical residue which eventually contributes to the disintegration of carpet fibres. 

Deep Cleaning or Dry Cleaning

The idea of deep cleaning carpets using a dry-cleaning formula was developed in the 1980s and has become a popular and effective method of carpet cleaning today. 

Also known as compound cleaning, the method uses a powder compound which has the ability to deep clean without having to use water. Dry cleaning, therefore, is an effective evolution of bonnet cleaning.

The methodology of deep cleaning is similar to bonnet cleaning. A powder compound is sprayed onto the carpet and left to absorb into the carpet fibres. 

A motorised rotary machine is then used to ground the remaining compound into the deepest areas of the carpet so that it settles in the lower reaches of the fibres and gives the carpet a deep and thorough clean.

The compound used for dry cleaning is biodegradable. Not only does it dissolve dirt and grime, it also falls apart so can be vacuumed up with the other particles. 

But that’s not always true for plush carpets. Carpets that have longer piles are more difficult for cleaning solutions to perform a deep carpet clean and some of the powder gets trapped in the pile and accumulates over time.

Section 6: Professional Carpet Cleaning Services

As a homeowner, you will be well aware of the time-consuming and energy demands required to keep your house clean. And that’s without giving your carpets a deep clean. 

Sometimes it pays to bring in professional help. Not only do carpet cleaning agencies have specialised tools and use the right detergent, they know how to best care for your carpet. 

And that alone can save you several hundred pounds. The more you care for your carpet, the longer it will last without having to replace it. 

Restoring your carpets with a deep cleanse removes ground in dust and nasty bacterias that can otherwise cause health hazards in the home – especially if you have children that are still developing their immune system. 

Essentially, professional carpet cleaners take the hassle out of caring for your carpet and know how to do the job properly. You should consider using a professional carpet cleaning service in the following situations:

  • When you don’t have enough time or the right equipment to clean the carpet by yourself
  • Your carpet is looking dirty even after you’ve tried vacuuming and using a commercial cleaning product 
  • Your carpet has a stubborn stain that you can’t get rid of, or you’re worried about removing stains yourself using home cleaning remedies
  • Your carpet is expensive 
  • You need to completely recover your end-of-tenancy deposit 

Professional carpet cleaning services really do make a difference because their equipment performs a deep cleanse you can’t achieve with commercial products.

Despite what manufacturers want you to believe, commercial steam cleaning apparatus is not as effective at removing dirt as industrial machines, and scrubbing your carpets by hand with a brush damages your carpet.

Don’t risk your carpet wearing thin before its time.