Choosing a carpet cleaning company can be an extremely confusing time. What company, what method will they use and how are they going to treat me as a customer? All of these questions are vaild and should be explored but the real question is, will my carpet be clean and healthy when done? Before hiring someone to come in and clean your carpet make sure that you ask enough questions to know exactly what they are going to do before they arrive. Before we go any further let's discuss the so called method of "steam" cleaning. Everyone should know that there is no such thing as "steam" cleaning a carpet. No steam comes out of the wand and Touches your carpet. It is really referred to as Hot Water Extraction. Hot water is shot into your carpet and vacuumed up as much as they can. It is really power washing your carpet with hot water then trying to vacuum up the water. This method pushes so much water into the carpet that the vacuum on its best day can only get up about 75% of the water in the carpet, leaving the rest for you to deal with. This is where you can get into serious health issues as the left behind water just sits in your carpet's fibers, backing and potentially the sub-floor.
A method that uses hardly any water and yet cleans the fiber down to the bottom is called OP or oscillating pad cleaning. A light mist of water and cleaning solution is sprayed onto the carpet and then a machine is run across the carpet that cleans the fiber to the bottom and around 360 degrees. The highly absorbent pad removes the soil and water from the carpet. The carpet is normally dry within 1 hour. A far cry from the truck mount or "steam" cleaning process. By the carpet being left basically dry, you do not run the risks associated with over wetting the carpet such as mold and mildew. This method of cleaning not only works with carpet but upholstery as well. Basically the same process of cleaning a carpet. Spray a light mist on the upholstery then a hand held version of the oscillating machine is used to go over the fabric. The pad on the machine picks up the soil from the fabric and leaves the fabric almost dry. Of course you must test the fabric for color bleeding before any cleaning.