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Carpet Cleaning Myths

By Michael Hilton

Should I wait until my carpet shows soiling before I have it cleaned?
All residential carpet should be professionally cleaned a minimum of every 12 to 18 months. Allowing dry soils to build up in the carpet pile scars pile fiber allowing it to take on a dull, dirty hue. This permanent fiber damage will give the impression of soiling even after cleaning.

It is my impression that carpet soils more quickly after it has been cleaned.
In the early years of carpet cleaning, true soaps were used. These true soaps were manufactured using coconut oils and soap residues were left behind which caused rapid soiling. Today's synthetic detergents are designed to rinse more easily than the true soaps of the past which reduces resoiling associated with cleaning residues. Carpet cleaning today, should not cause rapid resoiling if performed properly.

Is it possible to clean my carpet too often?
No. The more often a carpet is cleaned, the longer it will maintain its original appearance. It is an excellent idea to clean high traffic areas and areas of heavy soiling several times per year using a do-it-yourself hot water extraction machine or a dry absorbent compound between professional cleanings.

I have spots that go away after cleaning but they return a few days later.
Most recurring spots or stains can be traced to inadequate rinsing of spot removal agents. Many commercially available spot removal agents do an excellent job in removing spills but detergent residues remain behind to attract additional soil. In using any spot removal agent, continue rinsing with warm water and blotting with paper towels until all sudsing has stopped.

Will carpet cleaning destroy my soil-resist or stain-resist treatment?
No. It is not necessary to reapply soil and stain resist treatments after every cleaning. However, foot traffic can destroy some soil resist treatments. Soil resist treatments should be reapplied after every two to three cleanings if the carpet is cleaned regularly. Carpet that is not cleaned every 12 to 18 months may require a soil resist treatment after each cleaning.

One of my carpet cleaners has suggested his truck mount steam cleaner generates 240 degrees of water temperature, while a second carpet cleaner stated his cleaner generates 190 degrees. Will 240 degrees melt my carpet fiber and should I use the hotter temperature?
No and yes. Once the heated water travels down 50-100 feet of hose and goes through the pressurization at the wand, water temperature will drop by 30%. This means 240 degrees is only about 168 degrees at pressurization. 190 degrees amounts to about 133 degrees at pressurization. This will not melt carpet fibers. However, most carpet cleaners do "add" a few degrees to their output and the story seems to get bigger and bigger. Very few carpet truck mounts will (or even need to) attain 240 degrees to attain adequate cleaning results. Cleaning results are a combination of dwell time, temperature, agitation, and chemistry. A better quality chemical, more agitation, and increased dwell time can more adequately offset higher temperatures.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

Other Helpful Links
Cleaning Challenges
Carpet Cleaning and IAQ
Carpet Cleaning Myths
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