A clean carpet is a welcoming surface. From the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning to evening movie nights laying on the floor with your family or friends, carpet provides a comfortable, warm and padded surface for any room in your home. A dirty carpet, unfortunately, can become an untidy surface. Find out how to combat odors, pet hair, stains and other carpet issues by comparing professional and DIY carpet cleaning methods.

Why Your Carpet Needs Cleaning

All those cozy fibers can harbor pet hair, crumbs and other debris. Your carpet may not have an odor or visible stains, but it’s still important to routinely clean it. Vacuuming is a great daily chore, but you should also schedule an in-depth cleaning periodically to power through all that dirt and debris trapped in your carpet.

Eventually, that buildup could lead to odors, mildew or other issues. Steam cleaning your carpet is a great preventative maintenance task that can eliminate odors and remove damaging debris. Whether you clean your carpet on your own or work with a local expert in steam cleaning services, it’s a critical maintenance step you shouldn’t skip.

All About Steam Cleaning

There is a common misconception about the types of cleaning available for a carpet. The most common professional cleaning service is usually called steam cleaning, but this is technically incorrect. This professional service is more accurately known as hot water extraction.

True steam cleaning uses only hot water vapors. While this process can sanitize dishes and other surfaces, it’s generally not preferred for carpets. This is why hot water extraction is the preferred professional and DIY carpet cleaning method.

Hot water extraction isn’t exactly a catchy name for a cleaning routine, so the industry simply refers to it as steam cleaning. The process uses hot water and cleaning solutions to create a spray that penetrates your carpet. Once your carpet is covered with a hot cleaning solution, the steam cleaner vacuums up the moisture to create a professionally cleaned carpet.

The size and steps involved can vary. Some DIY machines are comparable to a household vacuum cleaner. These smaller machines may not include a wet vacuum, so you’ll need to invest in a second cleaning tool to remove excess moisture from your carpet.

Professional steam cleaners, on the other hand, can be extremely large and powerful. Some cleaning companies use a truck-mounted unit with a long hose that can reach every room in your home.

Steam Cleaning vs. Dry Cleaning

Another common cleaning method for carpets is dry cleaning. Similar in theory to steam cleaning, dry cleaning uses a mixture of hot water and cleaning chemicals. The amount of water is much less, leading to the name, but it still uses moisture to penetrate your carpet and provide a deep clean.

Compared to steam cleaning, dry cleaning uses far more abrasive cleaning agents. Dry cleaning can create a buildup of chemicals that may irritate individuals with allergies or asthma. Some steam cleaners also use harsh chemicals, so ask your professional cleaning team about natural, eco-friendly cleaning solutions in their steam cleaning strategy.

When It’s Time To Clean Your Carpet

How often do you need to steam clean your carpet? This can vary widely depending on your situation. In general, it’s best to steam clean every year. Some homes can go as long as 18 months, while other households should schedule a cleaning every six months. Here are some factors that can affect the amount of time you should plan between steam cleaning services:

  • Vacuuming routine
  • Type of carpet
  • Carpet warranty
  • Pets, allergies and other factors

Vacuuming once or twice a week can increase the time between steam cleaning services. This preventative cleaning task keeps large amounts of dirt and pollen from being trapped deep in the carpet fibers.

High pile carpet requires more routine cleaning than a low pile option. While softer, high pile carpet creates more areas for dirt and pet hair to become trapped. Consider scheduling more frequent cleanings if you have a thick carpet. Nylon carpet also should be cleaned more frequently. Hydrogen molecules in nylon carpet give it its unique strength, but flattening it down can create a flat carpet. Steam cleaning reactivates your carpet and causes the fibers to stand back up.

Check your carpet warranty. Some carpet manufacturers require periodic cleaning services by a professional cleaning company. Missing a cleaning or delaying it could cause you to void your warranty. Invest in your carpet by scheduling routine cleanings and keep your warranty coverage intact.

Finally, there are some factors that can cause debris to build up more quickly in your carpet. Having pets or a large family can increase the amount of dirt, hair and other contaminants trapped in your carpet. Any individuals with asthma or allergies may be more sensitive to this buildup and require more frequent cleanings to enjoy healthy indoor air quality.

DIY Cleaning Pros and Cons

Some homeowners decide to save money by cleaning their own carpet. DIY steam cleaners are available for rent or purchase to take on the yearly task by yourself. This may save you money and may give you the chance to spot clean your carpet more frequently if you live in an accident-prone household.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to DIY cleaning. First, the time it takes to perform a quality carpet cleaning service may be more than you realize. Cleaning without a professional steam cleaner can take you hours, which takes away from time with your family.

A DIY cleaner may not have the same safe, natural and eco-friendly ingredients that your local team uses. You may be saving money, but you could also be exposing your family to harsh cleaning chemicals.

Finally, improper use of a steam cleaner can create a moist environment in your carpet. If too much moisture is left it can encourage mold and mildew growth in your carpet and padding. Once started, mildew is difficult to remove and can dramatically decrease your indoor air quality.

Professional Carpet Cleaning

A professional carpet cleaning team can take the hassle and worry out of a steam cleaning service. Not only do professionals get the job done quickly and efficiently, they also have access to all-natural cleaning agents. Ask about plant-based cleaners that won’t damage your carpet or leave behind harsh chemical residue.
Request an Estimate Today

Safe-Dry Carpet Cleaning of Nashville is your local leader in all-natural, affordable and efficient carpet cleaning. Schedule a service today to enjoy the benefits of a professional carpet cleaning without any of the risks of DIY steam cleaning. Create a clean, comfortable floor for your entire family to enjoy with routine steam cleaning services.