The Carpet Cleaning Process

Hot water extraction and steam cleaning is the best carpet cleaning process for deep stains and odors. In this method, highly pressurized water combined with a cleaning solution is pumped into your carpet and immediately extracted. Before cleaning, your pros at will precondition your carpet with a shampoo that loosens thick dirt and other debris. They may use a grooming rake or power brush to help dislodge even more dirt.


cleaningThe carpet cleaning process begins with applying a pre-treatment designed specifically for the type of carpet being cleaned. This loosens soils that have become bonded to the carpet fibers and makes it easier for the hot water extraction machine to remove them. The carpet is then lightly agitated with a grooming brush, power or hand, to further loosen the soil. This is followed by a thorough vacuuming of the rug to remove loosened dry dirt particles.

This is the preferred method of cleaning for most homes. It uses a combination of steam and hot water to loosen thick dirt, dust mites, pet odors, and other allergens embedded in the carpeting. Then, a powerful extraction machine sucks up the water and dirt particles leaving the carpet cleaner, fresher, and healthier.

This is a very effective, low-moisture system and works well in commercial settings where carpets must be back in use quickly. It is recommended for most stain removal treatments, especially for wine, food, coffee, juice, blood, urine, feces and other tough stains. This is also the preferred cleaning system for moth damage treatment and deodorizing. Be sure to put doormats outside your doors to reduce the amount of dirt and grime that is tracked into your home, and make a habit of removing your shoes when entering. This will keep the carpet clean longer and help prevent premature wear and tear.


Vacuuming is crucial to the carpet cleaning process, but alone it will likely not be enough to remove a decades-old buildup of oils, soils and debris that is embedded in the fibers. For this, a proper pre-spray is needed to break down and loosen the dirt and other contaminants.

Different carpet materials require different pre-sprays to avoid damage and deliver optimal results. For example, delicate carpets such as wool or silk require low-pH pre-sprays that are gentle enough to keep the fibers intact while still breaking down stains and other dirt. On the other hand, synthetic and natural fiber carpets benefit from high-pH pre-sprays with strong degreasers that can effectively break down a wide range of contaminants.

In addition, there are specialty pre-sprays that are formulated to tackle specific types of stains. For instance, a pre-spray for pet stains may contain enzymes or other ingredients that target the stains’ components for effective removal. To ensure that you’re using the right pre-spray for your needs, make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Once the pre-spray is applied, it’s important to allow sufficient dwell time. This allows the solution to penetrate deep into the carpet fibers and break down dirt, stains and odors for optimal results. The dwell time can vary based on temperature and humidity, so it’s important to experiment with the duration until you find the ideal settings for your conditions.


The carpet is sprayed with an alkaline or mild acidic cleaning agent and lightly agitated with a grooming brush or automatic scrubbing machine. This loosens and dislodges dirt from the carpet fibers, and a pressurized hot water extraction (also known as steam) machine is used to rinse away the preconditioner, dislodged dirt, and particulates.

The agitation is necessary to ensure the chemicals get into all of the nooks and crannies of your carpet fibers, where they can break down and dissolve oil-based dirt and soils. The scrubbing also helps to speed up the chemical reaction that cleans your carpets.

If your carpets are particularly dirty, your cleaner may use encapsulation, a method that uses polymers to cling to and then “encapsulate” loose dirt particles within the fibers of your carpet. These particles are then sucked up by the vacuum, leaving your carpets with a fresh appearance. However, this method is much slower than others and should only be used on carpets that need very thorough cleaning. Also, it requires special equipment that professional cleaners have access to.


Carpet extraction is a crucial step in the cleaning process that allows carpeting to be fully refreshed. It removes the damaging dry particulate soil accumulation that causes carpeting to look dirty and dull and makes it harder for future cleanings to be effective.

This process is called hot water extraction, steam cleaning or deep cleaning and uses a specialized wand to apply hot water under high pressure into carpet fibers. This breaks up thick dirt, mud and dust that is trapped in the carpet fibers and then the machine vacuums up the debris, leaving the carpet clean and fresh. The cleaning process also “fluffs up” matted carpet fibers for a more uniform appearance.

Another method is carpet shampooing or foam cleaning and uses a specialty detergent applied with a rotating brush. The shampoo then begins to bubble and expand, releasing dirt that is held in the foam. The cleaning equipment then extracts the foam and dirt, leaving your carpets clean and dry.

An alternative to shampooing is encapsulation cleaning, which uses a compound that encapsulates or surrounds the dirt particles in the carpet fibers. These encapsulated dirt particles can then be vacuumed away, along with the soiled carpet treatment chemical. This technique requires less water and results in fast drying times. Regardless of which method is used, it is recommended that any carpets that have been cleaned be thoroughly vacuumed to remove the remaining shampoo, detergent and foam residues.


After scrubbing and preconditioning your carpet, the professional applies a special rinsing solution to the surface of the fibers. This further dislodges the dirt that the emulsifier could not. It also accelerates the chemical reaction that cleans your carpet. This step is important for maintaining the quality of your carpet and prolonging its life.

The next step is to vacuum the carpet thoroughly using a turbine system, which loosens bonded dry soil. This helps ensure that the cleaning solutions will be able to reach all the nooks and crannies of your carpet.

Once the carpet is dry, you can apply a carpet protector to keep your carpet looking and smelling fresh. This is especially important for high-traffic areas of your house where the carpet absorbs more dirt and grime than other areas.

Another option is dry cleaning, which uses little or no water in the cleaning process. A slightly moistened powder with special cleaning agents and solvents is spread over the carpet, then brushed into the fibers. The dirt in the carpet is attracted to the compounds and dissolved, after which it is removed by a machine equipped with counter-rotating brushes. This is a good choice for wool twist pile carpets or other carpets that cannot be wet, as well as for those with severe pet urine and feces stains and odors. It is also an excellent choice for businesses and homes that must be back in service immediately after the cleaning.


A few basic steps can help speed up the drying process after a professional cleaning. Opening windows, turning on fans and limiting traffic on the carpet are all good ways to improve air circulation and reduce humidity levels.

When a carpet is wet, it can harbor microorganisms like mildew and mold that can cause health problems for the entire household. If left untreated, these organisms can begin to grow and spread within 24 hours. This is why it’s so important to begin the drying process as soon as possible.

Several methods can be used to dry carpets, depending on the situation and how extensive the water damage was. Some common tools include a shop vac, towels, air movers, heat, and dehumidifiers. Some of these can be purchased at any home improvement store or may already be included in your professional cleaning service.

Dry cleaning a carpet involves spreading a powder detergent over the carpet and then brushing it into the fibers. This is followed by a special extraction tool that removes the powder along with trapped dirt and soil. Another dry cleaning method is foam cleaning or encapsulation, which involves applying a specialty chemical over the carpet that begins to bubble and expand. This traps dirt and dust particles, which are then extracted during the same cleaning process as steam extraction. If you choose this type of cleaning, it’s important to allow the carpet to dry completely before putting furniture back on it.