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Carpet manufacturers recommend regular carpet cleaning to get the full benefit of owning nice carpets. Carpets can build up stains, dust, dander, dirt, allergens along with many other microbes that can be unhealthy and this is where regular carpet cleaning comes in. The bottom line is, regular carpet cleaning will help your carpets look better, last longer, and are better for your health than poorly maintained carpets.

The professional carpet cleaning industry is educated and unofficially governed by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). This is a nonprofit certifying body for the fabric cleaning industry that sets the standards for the carpet cleaning, and the fire and water restoration industry. The IICRC accepts five basic professional cleaning methods.

These methods that are approved by IICRC are high-pressure hot water extraction (“steam cleaning”, dry extraction cleaning,¬† dry foam extraction method, rotational brushes¬† and the absorbent pad method.

Of these five basic professional cleaning methods both carpet manufacturers and health professionals recommend the steam cleaning method over any other method.

The steam cleaning method involves a process as follows; after pre-treating the carpets with an alkaline agent, pressurized and applied with high temperature, and appropriate dwell time, a pressurized cleaning tool referred to as a wand passes over the surface to thoroughly rinse and vacuum all pre-treatment residue, and particles. An acetic acid solution additive is typically used to restore neutral fiber pH. The acid rinse thus neutralizes the alkaline residues, and can contribute to softening cleaned fabrics.

The steam cleaning system uses detergent based solutions that dry to a powder or crystal. The surface is dried using the suction of the vacuum and the high heat of the water that is used to rinse the carpets. It is important that the carpets be dried quickly to avoid any water related problems.

Drying typically takes 4-12 hours, dependent on the equipment and solutions used. Better quality equipment results in quicker drying times. The best equipment will usually have the carpets dried within 4 hours.

For substandard equipment a drying agent can be used to speed drying. A carbonated to dissolve organic material can be used as a drying agent to speed the process more effectively.

An anti-staining and anti-soiling product can be applied to resist stains and allow dirt to be easily cleaned, thereby extending the life of the carpet. Typically a “Scotch Guard” or “Fiber Guard” solution is applied over the entire carpet area after the carpets have been cleaned. Once the solution dries it forms a protective barrier over the fibers and resists stains, soils and other contaminants from adhereing to the fibers.

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