Hot Water Extraction (Steam) Cleaning - The Process
Hot water extraction carpet cleaning (often referred to as "steam" cleaning) is a restorative deep cleaning process. It consists of a prespray cleaning solution application to aid and assist in the physical removal and/or dissolving of soil particles followed by the injection under pressure of a hot water-soluble cleaning solution into the carpet. This injection process is followed by an immediate powerful vacuum extraction phase to remove soil, pollutants, bacteria, allergens, dust, and the cleaning solutions for the carpeting.
Hot water extraction carpet cleaning is the choice of over 90% of professional cleaners today as their primary method of cleaning carpet.
Hot water extraction carpet cleaning is efficient at removing all types of carpet soiling. A wide variety of chemistry exists to assist in the break down and physical removal of water soluble soiling such as sugar, food, beverages, and salt. Secondly, dry solvent soluble soiling such as oil, grease, tar, body oils, cooling oils, and cosmetics are broken down, dislodged, and dissolved by organic and natural citrus solvents in the preconditioning phase of hot water extraction cleaning. These suspended dry solvent soluble soil particles are removed during the water and air vacuum extraction phase of cleaning. Thirdly, insoluble (particles that will not dissolve in water or dry solvent) such as clay, sand, quartz, carbon, animal fiber, and graphite are removed by either literally surrounding the particles through a cleaning solution emulsification process or by lifting the particle with a foaming agent. These emulsified and suspended particles are the removed by the water rinsing process of hot water extraction. Finally, some spills, spots, and stains, that may alter or damage the dye structure of the carpeting, or that still remain on the fiber can have their permanent discoloration or damage reduced, or can be completely removed by the application of specialized carpet spotting solutions.
Hot Water Extraction (“Steam”) Cleaning – Indoor Air Quality Principles
Hot water extraction carpet cleaning follows closely the principles of indoor pollutant and contaminant reduction. First, some biological contaminants can be eliminated by the application of hot water (above 130 F) across the carpet. Secondly, many pollutants and contaminants can be destroyed, removed, or inactivated by special chemical application. Thirdly, we can effectively physically remove contamination. Through the use of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, we dissolve, suspend, lubricate, emulsify, or absorb soils to aid in their subsequent removal by extraction. Through the use of water pressure agitation and vacuum extraction we remove many of the contaminants and pollutants. Finally, by the use of powerful vacuum air movement across the carpet surface, we provide ventilation and air movement for contaminant reduction by releasing trapped aerosols and gases.
Hot Water Extraction (“Steam”) Cleaning – Texture Retention
It has long been a recognized value that hot water extraction contributes in refreshing the texture of a carpet. The moisture and heat tighten up the twist that is slightly affected by traffic. It aids in fiber resiliency and pile appearance. It is a myth that people can do absolutely nothing to their carpet and always have it perform correctly irrespective of the fiber type and carpet construction. Periodic hot water extraction cleaning provides benefit first and foremost to the carpet consumer by making their carpet look better, smell better, last longer, and by providing a healthier atmosphere. However, this commitment to proper carpet maintenance also provides a benefit to the entire carpet industry by upholding the reputation of the carpet products and how they perform.
Hot Water Extraction (“Steam”) Cleaning – The “Problems”
The “problems” sometimes associated with hot water extraction cleaning such as unreasonable drying times (longer than 1 to 24 hours), mildew, carpet resoiling, seam separation, rotting, shrinkage, and browning are simply not present when the carpet is cleaned by a trained certified professional cleaner, using quality equipment and cleaning solutions, and following sound procedures. Specification to the cleaner to follow cleaning standards set by the IICRC Standard S001-1991 for hot water extraction prevents cleaning problems.
Hot Water Extraction (“Steam”) Cleaning – Consumer Explanation
The hot water extraction (“steam”) carpet cleaning process can easily be described by comparing it to the traditional laundry process
1. Preconditioning of Difficult soiling and spotting
2. Wash/Rinse cycles
3. Drying cycle
The first step, applies cleaning agents specifically designed to dissolve and break down soil to prepare it for removal from the carpet during the wash/rinse phase. This oily, greasy and sometimes gritty soil must be regularly cleaned out of the carpet or it will have an abrasive “sandpaper-like” effect on the carpet fibers. The amount of dwell time that the preconditioner requires to do its job depends on the amount and type of soiling, and the amount of agitation that can be used without distorting the carpet fiber. The second step, the wash/rinse cycle consists of hot cleaning solution being injected under pressure into the carpeting to suspend soil, pollutants, bacteria, allergens, and dust. This wash/rinse phase separates Hot Water Extraction from other carpet cleaning methods. The application of hot cleaning solutions undr pressure assists in soil suspension and removal as well as reducing contamination. This creates a cleaner, healthier environment.
The final step is drying. In this phase, the powerful vacuum extraction system removes the suspended soil, pollutants, bacteria, allergens, dust, and cleaning solution. Virtually no residue is left in the carpet and the moisture remaining generally evaporates, leaving the carpet dry within 1 to 12 hours. Drying times will vary depending on environmental conditions, humidity, and the density of the carpet. This drying process can be accelerated by the use of powerful turbo carpet blowers to increase the evaporation rate.
Hot Water Extraction (“Steam”) Cleaning – the Critical Facts
1. Carpet is installed on the floor.
2. Because of gravity, things fall down to the floor and collect on the carpet, which serves as a sink. In addition, carpet acts like a filter and collects airborne contaminants.
3. Soil, bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and dust make up these things that fall onto and collect in the carpeting.
4. Soiled carpeting looks bad, unhealthy, and has a greater tendency to wear faster and pack and mat more quickly.
5. The sink must be cleaned or emptied of its contents; i.e. the soil, bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and dust must be cleaned out.
6. Our first priority in cleaning is to make the carpet healthier and secondly to improve its appearance.
7. Hot water extraction cleaning consists of a prespray cleaning solution application, the injection under pressure of a hot water soluble cleaning solution into the carpet, followed by an immediate powerful vacuum extraction.
8. Hot water extraction cleaning applies four different indoor air pollution reduction principles to reduce contamination.
9. Hot water extraction cleaning refreshes the texture of carpeting.
10. Carpet that has been properly cleaned by hot water extraction will dry within 1 to 12 hours under most environmental conditions.
11. Hot water extraction cleaning is recognized by all fiber producers and all major carpet mills as a safe, effective process for carpet cleaning.
12. Children and pets should be kept off of any freshly cleaned carpet for 6 to 12 hours.
Some of the carpet fiber manufacturers and carpet mills that recognize hot water extraction (steam) cleaning as a safe, effective cleaning method when done properly by a trained, qualified professional.
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