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  • Tracey Edwards of Ayoub Carpet Service

Which Carpet Cleaning Method Is Best for My Floor?

Is your carpet looking a little dirty? It's important to know your options before getting it cleaned.

There are five different methods of carpet cleaning for you to choose from: shampooing, dry cleaning, foam cleaning, bonnet cleaning and hot water extraction. Before you schedule a service appointment, make sure you know what you’re getting and how effective it will be in your home.

1. Shampooing

This is probably the least effective method of cleaning. The reason why is that special detergents are applied to the carpet, given a little “scrub” and then the shampooed carpet is vacuumed.

The detergents have brighteners and deodorizers that leave your room smelling good and make the carpet seem brighter. However, dirt remains. It’s the equivalent of shampooing your hair without water and hoping a breeze takes away the dried shampoo and dirt. You'll soon notice that the dirt and stains reappear.

2. Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning and foam cleaning are similar to shampooing. However, dry cleaning is often preferable because there is no need to wait for carpets to dry. Instead of a wet product, a special cleaning powder designed to attract dirt is applied to the carpet. Once the powder is worked into the carpet, it is vacuumed away.

3. Foam cleaning

This method works the same way as dry cleaning, except it uses a minimal amount of water and foam detergent. Either one of these methods will only clean the top third of the carpet. These can be good choices for interim cleanings. However, badly stained areas of carpet won’t be affected by either of these two types of cleaning.

4. Bonnet cleaning

This method is used in office buildings as they have commercial/industrial grade carpeting. Most home carpet would be damaged with this method of cleaning. Bonnet cleaning entails applying a chemical detergent and then using an absorbent pad on a rotary shampoo machine to rid the dirt.

5. Hot water extraction

This is also be known as “steam cleaning.” You can rent portable machines, but the most effective are the industry, truck-mounted systems. Newer systems can remove up to 95 percent of the water used in the cleaning process.

Professionals that buy used equipment to save costs may not be any more effective than a portable machine. Hire a company that keeps their equipment current.

Hot water extraction entails using a powerful machine that injects a solution of very hot water and detergent into the carpet. The mixture is then powerfully extracted by the machine, leaving the carpets looking and smelling like new.

Most importantly, this method removes as much bacteria, dirt, soil and stains as possible. Make sure you hire well-trained carpet cleaning technicians. If they over-saturate your carpets, the remaining moisture can encourage mold growth.


When it’s time to have your carpet cleaned, make sure you understand what type of cleaning they provide and how effective it will be on your soiled carpet.

Shampooing, dry cleaning and foam cleaning companies will be able to provide a large square footage of cleaning for a much lower cost than a reputable hot water extraction company, but the quality of the cleaning will be much lower, too.

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