We would like to take a few moments to talk about the many different kinds of carpet/upholstery cleaning systems that are used by cleaners. This section will discuss the most commonly used systems in your area for residential carpet/upholstery cleaning.


Carpet and upholstery:

Steam cleaning is a term used for a water extraction type cleaning system. For the most part this system doesn't produce true steam temperature.
However, there are a few systems (the DRI-STEAM® system being one), that utilize a constant maximum steam temperature, upwards of 250°. The rest of these systems are hot water extraction.

The heated cleaning solution is then pressurized, atomized and applied to the cleaning surface. There is also a vacuum action taking place at the same time. It is necessary, though, to vacuum over the same area again without the solution being applied to remove any excess moisture from the carpet or upholstery. Water has been proven to be the best "vehicle" for suspending, holding, and allowing for removal of soiling from the surfaces to be cleaned. However, one of the most common drawbacks to this cleaning system is the inability of the technician to realize the seriousness of overwetting. It may also be necessary to concentrate the cleaning effort on heavily soiled areas, not just make one pass over the surface.

With the advent of the truck mounted steam cleaning systems, the heavy equipment can now stay out in the truck and the techncian only need bring hoses into the house. These extraction systems offer the most power in this type of cleaning system. However, the technician can become overconfident when using this truck mount and hurry too fast over the cleaning surface, leaving excessive moisture and residues along with it. This leads to a quick re-soiling of the carpet within just a few days, because the excessive moisture left behind contained suspend soil. When the surface finally dried, a wicking action occurs which draws any particles of soiling to the top of the face yarns of the carpet or upholstery. When this occurs, it looks as if the carpet or upholstery had never been cleaned. This is caused when the technician is in too big of a hurry.

So the bottom line is that it takes time to do the job correctly. When done correctly, this system cleans the deepest and leaves virtually no residue. Drying times will vary, depending on the density of the carpet face yarns, humidity within the house, and soiling condition. We have drying times as low as one hour, and some up to 6 hours. However, you can walk on the freshly cleaned carpet if you have something on your feet that is not soiled.


Carpet and upholstery:

Dry cleaning usually pertains to systems such as Host® or Capture®, which require a dry chemical powder be applied to the surface to be cleaned. It is then worked in with mechanical action, such as brushes, and then vacuumed. This cleaning system does not deep clean like hot water/steam extraction, but it is fine for interim cleaning. The problem with the dry cleaning is a lot of residue is usually left in the carpet, unless the technician goes over and over the surface many times. Even then, the manufacturer recommends a hot water/steam extraction done by a professional cleaner periodically on areas that are dry cleaned by this method.

The good news is there is no drying time. For someone who needs to use their carpet fully right after it is cleaned, this system is the answer.


Carpet and upholstery:

The dry foam machine generates foam by forcing air into a tank filled with water and shampoo. The high velocity air whips the solution to form a shampoo head on the top of the water surface. Then this shampoo is directed to the carpet and agitated by brushes to clean the surface. Some of these machines, like the one we have, also have the ability to vacuum (extract) the cleaned surface. This machine can also be used to clean upholstery.

This machine has a very fast drying time.


Carpet only:

The shampoo machine usually has a large diameter brush that rotates over the carpet surface. The machine also dispenses shampoo onto the carpet, but this machine can't control the solution like the dry foam machine can, so the shampoo gets the carpet wetter. There is no means of extracting the carpet with this type of machine. Some companies then hot water extract the remaining soils and residues. If you use the shampoo machine we recommend extracting afterwards.

Again, the problem with this system is the tendency to leave quite a bit of residue on the carpet surface.


Carpet only:

This is the ultimate cleaning machine. It attaches directly to a truck mount for a supply of steam and high vacuum. This machine has 5 spray jets and 5 wand vacuum heads all rotating at 360°, blasting away the dirt with true steam, and vacuuming the carpet from all possible angles. We have found this machine will restore carpet that otherwise was destined to be replaced.

Yes, we have one of these !!!


Carpet only:

This machine is similiar to a shampoo machine. In fact, it is the shampoo machine with the brush removed and a drive pad installed in its place. A solvent cleaning solution is applied to the carpet and then the bonnet is attached to the drive pad and the machine rotates. The dirt from the carpet sticks to the pad, but it is necessary to rinse, wring out and replace the pad quite often. I have even found it necessary to have several pads along while cleaning. Failure to do this results in poor performance of removing the soil from the carpet.

This system is for surface clenaing only, and will not deep clean as there is no vacuuming taking place.


Carpet only:

The carbonated system uses a fizzing action to break up the soiling from the carpet fibers. Then mechanical action agitates the carpet and a final pass of vacuuming (only sometimes) takes place. This system does not clean as deeply as steam cleaning, but on an interim basis it is OK. There also seems to be a considerable amount of residue left behind to re-attract new soiling quickly. The carpet doesn't look as "shinny clean" as when done with a steam extraction machine.


Carpet, upholstery and draperies:

Solvent cleaning requires the technician to pre-vacuum, then apply the solvent directly to the carpet, upholstery or draperies. Next the entire surface must be vacuumed. The solvent used should not be harmful to breathe. If your cleaner is going to solvent clean, ask him/her for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on the product so you can be sure it is safe to use in your home.

This cleaning type, especially for upholstery, is done because it is likely to have no adverse effect on the fabric. The drawback is that it doesn't clean very well at all, and to top it off, a lot of cleaners charge extra for this type of cleaning (go figure).

I would only use this if the fabric wasn't very soiled.


PERFECTION primarily uses its DRI-STEAM® truck mount for most cleaning. We have found this system does an absolutely complete job, whether cleaning carpet or upholstery. We also have the following systems available: