Bonnet: Often used by companies or clients concerned with water-conservation, this method resembles a floor buffer seen used in grocery stores and schools late at night. The carpets are misted with a mixture of club soda and cleaning solutions and the “bonnet” scrubs the carpet with a rotating motion with an absorbent spinning pad to remove dirt and grime. The bonnet needs regular cleaning or replacing as well as regular lubrication with cleaning solution to ensure a decent clean. This method does not easily allow for the sanitation of carpets, so often another cleaning method needs to be implemented or an antimicrobial agent is applied after the cleaning process.
Dry Foam: Using a pressure tank containing a solution of 90% air and 10% liquid the dry foam method is considered low moisture. After application and allowing the moisture content to go down, a vacuum is used to extract the cleaner. This can leave residue on the carpets, leading to this method having low effectiveness. The carpet may smell cleaner and the visual quality may improve slightly, but it is often not a true clean.
Dry Compound: With this method, an “absorbent mixture” is spread across the carpets and a machine scrubs the mixture into the carpet and dirt is meant to absorb into the mixture. Once dry, a vacuum is used to remove the material. Due to a lack of rinsing, this method is about as useful as dry foam.
Hot Water Extraction (Steam): This is generally considered the most effective cleaning method. Hot water (not steam) is used with cleaning solutions accompanied with high pressure to force the water and cleaning product into the carpet and that liquid is sucked back up. There are two methods for hot water extraction cleaning: portable and truck mounted. The truck method is often preferred because the water can get hotter (meaning more effective cleaning and sanitation) and be released at a higher pressure (to break up dirt, pollen, and bacteria), and higher levels of suction are capable. This method can lengthen the life of your carpet because the rinsing abilities removes residue, preventing added wear-and-tear of your carpets. Carpets are left the cleaner, more sanitary, and restored to a like-new luster.
The downside of hot water extraction cleaning methods is the dampness that resides. Floors need to be fully dried to prevent mildew and mold. The cleaning is very effective, but in areas of high humidity or low air circulation, drying can take long enough to cause problems. Many companies, like Accents in Cleaning, offer better drying processes to decrease the chances of mold and mildew.
Hot water extraction is often called “steam cleaning” because of the use of hot water. Actual steam cleaning is usually used for hard surfaces. Steam can damage most artificial carpet fibers or shrink natural fibers such as wool or cotton, hot water extraction being referred to as “steam cleaning,” is actually more like a nickname than the actual title. Make sure you make sure your carpet cleaners are not trying to use steam on your carpets and upholstery.