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Which Carpet Cleaning Method is Right for You?

In our modern world today, there are a couple of different ways you can clean your carpets. And the truth is that all the methods are effective. But the question is, which is the best method for you? Carpet cleaning is of great importance to not just maintain the aesthetic of your home but to also keep a healthy environment where both you, your family, and your pet can all be safe and maintain the carpet’s appearance.

In this blog, we are going to list out all the types of and factors to consider before making a choice. With this blog, be sure to be well-equipped to make informed decisions about the right method to keep your carpet sparkling. 

Let’s dive in!

Key Highlights

  • There are five main : hot water extraction (steam cleaning), carpet shampooing, dry carpet cleaning, encapsulation cleaning, and bonnet cleaning.
  • Steam cleaning (hot water extraction) is the most popular and preferred cleaning method as it offers deep restorative cleaning and at the same time, it’s gentle on carpets.
  • Carpet shampooing is useful for heavy traffic zones but might leave behind sticky residue. And they are not as effective as other methods.
  • Dry carpet cleaning uses a compound that absorbs dirt and is best for quick general clean-ups.
  • Encapsulating chemicals are used to crystalize dirt and make it easier to remove from the carpet. 
  • Bonnet cleaning uses a rotating cotton pad that rotates over the surface of the carpet and cleans it.
  • Factors like cost, depth of cleaning, drying times, and the level of disruption should be taken into account when deciding on the carpet cleaning method to use.

Deep Dive into Carpet Cleaning Techniques

In this section, we will expose you to a deep understanding of each of the , and how to go about them. 

1. Hot water extraction (steam cleaning)

Which Carpet Cleaning Method Is Right For You?

Many prefer calling this type of cleaning, steam cleaning method. Its effectiveness in cleaning carpets has made it popular types of carpet cleaning method amongst homeowners. It works by injecting hot water mixed with cleaning agents inside your carpet fiber. 

After a while, you agitate the fiber and then extract the mixture out of the fiber. This mixture comes out alongside deep-seated dirt, dust, debris, and pet danders. 

The hot water doesn’t only remove dirt, it also kills bacteria, molds, and dust mites, making it a hygienic method and a preferred one if you have kids at home. The major downside of this cleaning method is that it has a relatively longer drying time when compared with other cleaning methods, as it effectively removes dissolved dirt and stains from your carpets using a cleaning solution. This method is often preferred by carpet manufacturers as it does not damage the carpet fibers and rarely leaves a residue.

To get the best results when opting for hot water extraction, reach out to carpet cleaning professionals , they have the knowledge and necessary equipment needed for the job. 

2. Dry powder cleaning (absorbent compound)

The dry powder cleaning method, also known as absorbent cleaning, or dry extraction, or dry carpet cleaning method, just as the name implies, is a cleaning method that doesn’t require water. You don’t need any liquid for the entire cleaning process. Interesting right? Let’s explain how it’s done. 

The cleaning is done by pouring dry cleaning agents over the carpet. These cleaning agents act like tiny sponges and attach themselves to the dirt. After a while, the attachment process will be completed. With the aid of specialized scrubbing equipment with rotating brushes, you can agitate the fiber. 

This loosens the grip of the dirt on the carpet fiber, making it easy to extract. An industrial vacuum is then used to extract both the drying agents and the attached dirt from the carpet fiber. 

Because this method doesn’t require water, it won’t need drying time, which is the best thing about it. This reduces downtime for businesses, making it the best commercial carpet cleaning choice for commercial spaces like hotels, offices, and hospitals that can’t afford a longer downtime. Homeowners who prefer their carpet to be dry almost immediately after the cleaning also prefer this cleaning method, using high velocity air movers to promote faster drying process and making the process quick and efficient with the use of a professional groomer to ensure the carpet pile is in the right position and a dry carpet cleaning machine.

However, there’s something more to consider. This method also has its downside. After repetitive dry cleaning, these powdered compounds can accumulate in the carpet fiber, causing odor and triggering allergy. 

The good news is that manufacturers of dry powder cleaning agents are now producing environmentally friendly agents that don’t have effects on occupants even after accumulation. It’s advisable to consult professional carpet cleaners for their advice and guidance during dry powder cleaning.

3. Carpet shampooing

This cleaning method is an old one. But it’s still relevant, especially in commercial spaces. It’s a method that requires the application of foam-like chemical substances on your carpet using a carpet brush or a rotary foam machine. 

If you are opting for a carpet brush, then you’ll have to manually brush the foam right into the carpet. If you are opting for the use of a machine, that’s easier for you, the machine spins the foam into the carpet. 

This foam goes into your carpet and captures every dirt. After some time, the foam will dry, the you can remove the foam alongside the captured dirt with a wet vacuum. 

The downside of this method is that it can leave sticky residue behind. This residue can attract even more dirt later on, worsening the initial state of the carpet. 

This makes the method the least effective when compared to other cleaning methods. But it’s still way better than just vacuuming.

Also, it’s not an advisable method when dealing with delicate carpets. This is because the rotary machine may be too harsh on the carpet, dwindling the attractiveness of your carpet.

Here’s the catch, this method produces beautiful results when combined with spot cleaning. You have better results cleaning high-traffic areas or wiping away target spots with this method rather than just vacuuming. 

4. Encapsulation

Encapsulation is also referred to as dry carpet cleaning. This is because it usually requires very little water. But here’s how it differs from dry cleaning— instead of dry powder, it makes use of an encapsulating chemical. 

This chemical works in quite a different manner. It’s a foam-like substance that crystallizes and can be vacuumed up. 

The first step is to pre-vacuum the carpet to remove easy dirt. Then the encapsulating chemical is pumped into the carpet with the help of a rotary machine. 

This encapsulating polymer separates the dirt from the carpet fiber through crystallization. And then the carpet is vacuumed again. Removing both the encapsulating polymer and the carpet dirt. 

Just like dry powder cleaning, encapsulation is suitable for commercial spaces. This is also because it requires minimal downtime. It’s also a choice for homeowners who appreciate minimal downtime as well. 

However, encapsulation is a surface cleaning method, so for thorough and deep cleaning, you can follow the encapsulation with steam cleaning ASAP. This is to ensure you leave no stone unturned. 

5. Bonnet cleaning

Bonnet cleaning, another surface cleaning method, is a cleaning method best done as maintenance in commercial spaces. Especially in high-traffic areas.

To perform bonnet cleaning, you need a bonnet machine. This machine has a rotating cotton pad that it uses to clean the carpet surface. 

To bonnet clean, you need to first saturate the pad of the bonnet machine with the cleaning agent. The machine cleans the carpet by rotating the already saturated cotton pad over the carpet surface, about ⅛ deep. 

Or you can decide to spray your carpet with the cleaning agent rather than using it to wet the cotton pad of your machine. This cleaning method uses less amount of liquid, making it suitable for commercial buildings. 

Since it’s a surface cleaning method like encapsulation, you may want to follow it up with sanitizing the carpet or using the hot water extraction method. 

However, it’s noteworthy that this cleaning method may not be suitable for all carpet types and it’s not an effective carpet cleaning method for deep-seated stains. 

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Each Method

Let’s evaluate the effectiveness of each carpet cleaning method. This is a key factor of consideration in deciding on the best possible method suitable for you to ensure a clean carpet. The table below shows the effectiveness of each of the we mentioned earlier: 

Cleaning MethodEffective Not Effective 
Hot water extraction In deep cleaning carpetsIn removing dirt, allergens, and stainsFor most carpet typesIn providing thorough clean In killing bacteriaLonger drying time
Carpet shampooingWhen combined with spot cleaningIn producing long term desirable result
For delicate carpets
Dry powder cleaningFor commercial space
In quick maintenance clean-up
In surface cleaning
In deep cleaning
Not effective against allergens
EncapsulationFor commercial space
In quick maintenance clean-up
In surface cleaning
As an environmental friendly option
In deep cleaning
Bonnet cleaningIn quick maintenance clean-up
In surface cleaning
In deep cleaning

Factors Affecting Cleaning Method Choice

Apart from effectiveness, there are other factors to consider when choosing your carpet cleaning methods. Some of these factors include the type of carpet fibers, the level of foot traffic, the desired drying time, and the specific cleaning requirements.

  • Type of carpet fibers: Different carpet fibers react differently with each cleaning method. While a particular cleaning method may clean your carpet the best way, it can also damage another, so it’s important to factor this in when making your choice. 
  • High-traffic areas: High-traffic areas are more likely to dwindle quickly, and get dirty faster. Those areas need a method that is more thorough in removing deeply seated stains. 
  • Drying time: Some areas can’t stay out of use for so long. Cleaning such areas will require you to use a low moisture cleaning method like dry powder method or encapsulation. 
  • Availability of equipment: Some of these cleaning methods might need specific equipment. For example, the bonnet cleaning method needs a bonnet machine and a bonnet pad. Carpet shampooing and encapsulation need a rotary brush machine, and hot water extraction requires its own equipment, including a carpet cleaning wand and big absorbent bath towels. It only makes sense to opt for a method that doesn’t require buying an entire machine and taking a long time to dry. Additionally, the use of a professional carpet groomer during the pre-grooming step can further improve the effectiveness of the cleaning method chosen.
  • Personal need: You might have your personal needs and requirements. Opting for a method that satisfies those needs is a wiser option. For example, you might prefer an eco-friendly option or a highly hygienic option that kills bacteria as well. Choose a method that satisfies your preferences. 

Seeing that considering some factors is healthy for your decision-making, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a professional carpet cleaning company. 

After assessing your carpet type, level of dirt and stains, and the desired cleaning outcome, they’ll come out with the most effective method best tailored to your cleaning needs.


Choosing the appropriate type of carpet cleaning requires you to have a clear understanding of the technique and factors involved. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Also, the kind of carpet you have and the type of stain you are dealing with is an important factor to consider. 

No matter if you decide on DIY or reaching out to professionals, knowing the specifics helps you make a wise choice. If you have any queries or you need support in choosing the best carpet cleaning method, including upholstery cleaning, or you want the professionals doing it for you, reach out to a reputable carpet cleaner now for assistance.