Demand for carpeting in the U.S. has made it a $16.2 billion industry. That means that carpeting a home is an investment. If you are part of the 48% of Americans who chose carpet over other options for your floors, this information is for you.

Whether you are a new homeowner or just installed new carpeting in your home, you probably have some questions about the proper way to care for it. Just like any type of flooring, dirt and grime are facts of life, as is cleaning it to maintain the value of your investment. The critical thing to remember is that there are right and wrong ways to clean your carpets.

Why Should I Clean My Carpets?

Over time, your carpets take quite a beating. Whether from pets, children, food and drinks or general soil from repeated traffic, your floor coverings are subjected to many contaminants. They can not only cause unsightly stains and undesirable odors, but some substances can damage the fibers. Your carpeting can become matted and packed down over time, limiting its useful life and detracting from the look of your home.

Another reason for keeping your carpets clean is how it can affect the health of you and your family. 90% of our time is spent indoors, which means that indoor air quality is more of a factor in our health than even external air pollution. Air pollution can be up to 5 times worse indoors than out. Dirt, dust, pollen and even chemicals like weed killers and pesticides can all be tracked indoors by unsuspecting inhabitants.

Allergens from dust, dust mites, skin flakes, pet dander, mold, mildew and bacteria can thrive in dirty or damp floor coverings. They can become trapped in the home and recirculated, causing upper respiratory problems that cause coughing, sneezing and irritated eyes, nose and throat. Left unchecked, contaminants can to more severe problems like asthma, lung conditions, heart irregularities and even cancer.

Can’t I Just Vacuum and Spot Clean?

Even the most powerful vacuums cannot get all of the grime out of carpet fibers. While they may do a good job of ridding the surface of larger particles, the smaller particles will settle in among the fibers and on the carpet pad. The residual debris provides the perfect environment for germs, bacteria and parasites to breed. Vacuuming also can’t kill pathogens like viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew.

Treating spots as they occur can be a great way to prevent staining. However, you should be very careful about the products you use and how you use them. Depending upon the source of the stain and the material your floor covering is made of, you could end up making the problem worse. Rubbing or scrubbing rather than blotting is an excellent way to damage the fibers and push the material deeper into the fabric.

Another reason that vacuuming and spot cleaning alone isn’t adequate is that they don’t protect your warranty. Make sure to pay attention to the product care instructions, as many stipulate that professional cleaning is the only acceptable method to keep your carpet covered for the full warranty period. Attempting to save money with DIY spot cleaning can end up costing you much more than you bargained for in the long run.

What Is the Best Cleaning Method?

Now that you’ve determined a professional cleaning is necessary, it is time to pick a professional cleaning service. Both dry carpet cleaning and steam cleaning are common, but how do you know what is the best cleaning method for your carpet? Are they equally safe, effective and cost-efficient, or does one have an advantage over the other?

Dry Carpet Cleaning

Dry carpet cleaning, much like dry cleaning your clothes, uses chemical cleaning compounds instead of water extraction to break down foreign matter in your textile floor coverings. Dirt, dust, organic matter, pollen and other allergens are brought out of the lower part of the carpet fibers by the chemical reaction of the solvents in combination with the extraction process. The advantage of using cleaning solvents is that the flooring is dry within an hour in most cases, even though some moisture is used to remove the chemicals.

One of the cons of a dry cleaning process is the harsh chemicals that are used. However, you can avoid this by choosing a professional cleaning service that uses hypoallergenic, green cleaning products. If you aren’t sure what type of products are used, ask before you book an appointment. Doing your research can help you choose a company and process that fits your needs.

Steam Cleaning

In steam cleaning, the carpet is saturated with both vaporized hot water and detergent. The solution soaks down to the pad beneath the carpet, as well. The high temperatures make steam cleaning an effective defense against viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew and parasites, sterilizing your carpets. Professional extraction equipment is quite powerful, so most of the moisture is removed, taking the dirt, grime and odors with it. Steam cleaning does not use harsh chemicals, making it an attractive option to dry cleaning.

A frequent complaint about steam cleaning is the drying time. It can take up to two days to dry completely, increasing the chances of mold or milder in warm, moist, humid conditions areas. Sometimes, deep stains reappear after steam cleaning, leading homeowners to believe it wasn’t effective. However, some stains require more than one treatment to irradicate them completely.

Choose a Dependable Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

Dirty carpets are not only an eyesore, but they can wear out much quicker, reducing the value of your investment. They can detract from your enjoyment in your home and cause health issues. Vacuuming, while important, is not sufficient by itself to keep your floor coverings hygienic.

When you want to protect your investment in your home, you want the best. Safe-Dry Carpet Cleaning is the respected name in safe, effective carpet cleaning. We understand that it takes trust to make long-term relationships. That’s why we provide the highest level of customer service with hypoallergenic, soap-free cleaning to keep your family healthy.  For more information on our services and products, contact us today.

Submitted by Safe-Dry® Carpet Cleaning of Winston Salem