Many homeowners prefer carpet or area rugs in living rooms and children's playrooms, but carpeting is more of a challenge to keep clean than other floor surfaces. Beyond vacuuming regularly, you may also benefit from professional carpet cleaning or doing it yourself at least once a year.
According to a report by the American Lung Association, dust accumulation in carpet and rugs can adversely affect members of your household who suffer from conditions that can affect their breathing, such as snoring or asthma. If you're not fully convinced of the benefits of carpet cleaning, consider the following top three ways the process leads to a healthier home:
1. Carpet cleaning eliminates trapped pollutants
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty carpet can retain several sources of indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, and everyday dirt and dust. Toxic airborne gases can adhere to these particles and also get trapped within the carpet.
These toxic gases can be released through everyday activities such as vacuuming and walking across the carpet, which can cause them to contaminate the air in your home. Professional carpet cleaning services kill these bacteria through special shampooing formulas and can remove deeply trapped pollutants with high-powered vacuums.
2. Carpet cleaning can clear out dust mite infestations
Many homes have dust mite infestations, yet most homeowners aren't aware of the infestation because the creatures are microscopic. Dust mites themselves aren't allergens, but they often leave behind feces and body fragments which are.
Because of the microscopic size of these particles, they can easily be inhaled when the area is disturbed, which can exacerbate allergies. Many professional carpet cleaning companies utilize a technique known as steam cleaning when performing carpet maintenance work, which exposes your carpet to high temperatures that dust mites can't survive.
3. Carpet cleaning can help prevent mold growth
Especially in areas with high humidity levels, dirty carpets are at a high risk of developing mold growth when exposed to moisture. In precipitous weather, moisture frequently gets tracked into the home and can sink deep in the carpet fibers if not dried and vacuumed immediately.
Having your carpet cleaned regularly can prevent mold and mildew growth, because professional carpet cleaners have high-powered drying tools that annihilate moisture. If you choose to clean your carpet yourself, use fans and turn on the air or open windows to help dry the carpet out faster.
Carpet cleaning methods
Carpet cleaning professionals use a wide range of cleaning methods when tackling dirty rugs and carpets. Cost, degree of carpet soiling, environmental conditions and fiber type typically influence the selection of a carpet-cleaning method. Here are the benefits of the four most common professional carpet cleaning processes used today.
1. Steam cleaning
Also known as hot water extraction, steam cleaning is a common method of cleaning carpets. In this method, hot water is heated to boiling and injected into the carpet under pressure. The hot water effectively loosens the dirt, and the carpet-cleaning machine immediately draws moisture and dirt away. Heavily soiled carpet often requires the use of detergent. Steam cleaning is effective in removing odors and killing bacteria and dust mites. There are few drawbacks to this method, other than drying time.
2. Carpet shampooing
Carpet shampooing is the original carpet-cleaning method used by professional cleaners. In this process, a foamy chemical is distributed on the carpet and scrubbed in with a motorized circular brush. This method works best for heavily soiled, low-pile carpet. Since no extraction process is involved, the carpet must be thoroughly vacuumed to remove soil and residue. Many carpet cleaning professionals recommend steam cleaning as more effective than carpet shampooing.
3. Carpet dry cleaning
The dry-cleaning method uses virtually no water. A technician sprinkles a small amount of an absorbent compound over the carpet and uses a mechanized brush to work it through the carpet, dissolving soil. The soil and residue are then drawn up by a commercial vacuum cleaner. The dry-cleaning method dries carpet more quickly than any other cleaning method. Easily damaged natural-fiber carpets, such as sisal and hemp, benefit from the dry-cleaning process.
4. Bonnet cleaning
Though this method of carpet cleaning is sometimes referred to as a dry-cleaning method, it really is not. Bonnet cleaning uses a cleaning product, occasionally mixed with carbonated water, and spreads it as a mist over the surface of the carpet. A circular rotating buffer or "bonnet" with an absorbent covering is run over the soiled area. When the covering becomes soiled, it is replaced with a clean one. While the top one-third of the carpet is cleaned, soil which has settled to the bottom of the pile remains behind. This cleaning method should be viewed as a temporary measure between more intensive cleanings.