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Dry Foam Carpet Cleaning

By Michael Hilton

The dry foam method is an effective low moisture, rapid drying carpet cleaning method that has been used in carpet cleaning for decades. The dry foam method is similar to the rotary shampoo method in that brushes are used to agitate the carpet pile. In the dry foam method, an aerator is used to whip the solution in a foam. The foam is dispensed into the horizontally rotating brushes. As with all carpet cleaning methods, the more chemical that is applied, the longer the drying time. Some machines have their own extraction capability. These machines have the capability to remove shampoo and attached soil particles. Other machines do not have extraction capability. A wet/dry vacuum must be used to remove the shampoo and soil.

The solution used for this method should contain a quality surfactant, an alkaline builder to soften water, and a dry solvent to assist in emulsification of oils. A defoamer is normally used to eliminate foaming in the vacuum recovery tank.

Application

The following steps should be followed for use of the dry foam carpet cleaning method:

  1. Vacuum the area to be cleaned thoroughly, using good vacuuming techniques.
  2. Apply a quality preconditioner and allow ten to twenty minutes dwell time. A heavier application of preconditioner should be applied to more heavily soiled areas.
  3. Mix chemicals according to manufacturer's recommendations. Increasing the concentration of the solution will not enhance the carpet cleaning results.
  4. Allow the machine to generate an appreciable amount of foam before beginning carpet cleaning procedures.
  5. Push the machine, walking at a slow deliberate pace for about twenty feet. If you are moving too slowly, excess foam will appear at the edges of the brushes. If you are moving too quickly, streaks will appear on the carpet pile.
  6. At the end of the twenty foot pass, (on most loop pile carpets) turn the machine and walk (pushing the machine) in the opposite direction (lawn mover style) with a two to four inch overlap of the previous lap.
  7. On directional carpets such as most cut piles, turn the machine off and return to the starting point. Leave a two to four inch overlap and repeat procedures.
  8. In areas that are heavily soiled, it may be necessary to work in a direction diagonally to the first pass for effective carpet cleaning. It may also be necessary to work in short back and forth motions on these areas.

While some dry foam-in-a-can products are sold at large discount stores, their use should be discouraged. Their carpet cleaning results are marginal, but resoil potential can be heavy.

Did you know?

Dry foam extraction carpet cleaning is the second driest carpet cleaning method and scientific studies show it is very effective in removing dust mite allergen, mold allergen, and carpet cleaning results are excellent.

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
3 Types of Carpet Cleaning Tools
An Introduction to Carpet Cleaning Basics
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Dry Extraction Carpet Cleaning
Dry Foam Carpet Cleaning
Bonnet Carpet Cleaning
Rotary Shampoo
Cleaning Your Carpets the Green Way
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