This question may have popped into your head if you are thinking about having your carpet cleaned. While steam cleaning remains the dominant method in the carpet cleaning industry, there are a few other methods on the market. The companies using these methods will tell you that there method is better than steam cleaning, but is it? Lets take a minute to look at the other methods on the market.
This method is used by a large company in the area and they even offer a warranty. In this process, your carpet cleaner will spray a solution onto your carpet and then use cotton or synthetic bonnets to absorb the solution and soil. The problem with this method is that there is no true rinse. When you wash your car do you wipe it with a soapy towel and then call it a day? No, you need to rinse it to remove all of the soil and soap. This method is especially poor with pet stains. Cotton does not lock in moisture, so if they absorb a urine stain on one part of the room, they will spread trace amounts to the rest of the carpet. And, because there is no true rinse, they can not get it all out.
This method is used by a franchise in the Dallas area and they have advertise it as using oxygen to clean. Encapsulation is the real method being used. In this method, your cleaner will apply a cleaning solution to the carpet that crystalizes upon drying. They agitate the solution to absorb soil and then let it dry. If all goes well,it will crystalize and can be removed with vacuuming. Of course, this crystalizing and drying takes place after they leave. You will be left with the responsibility of vacuuming the carpet to remove the soil and crystalized cleaner. Once again, there is no real rinsing of the carpet. There is also a limited ability to remove soil. This method was created for commercial carpets that were cleaned weekly if not daily.
Why Steam Cleaning?
To be honest, I wish these other methods of carpet cleaning worked. It would save me a lot of money. I could set up a truck to clean with bonnet cleaning for about $2000 and for encapsulation cleaning for just $3000. In contrast, I spent $20,000 on my last steam cleaning machine. I then had to put it in a 3/4 ton van because of the weight. Those are not cheap either.
The truth is that for residential carpet cleaning, there is no replacing steam cleaning or hot water extraction. This is why Shaw Industries, the largest manufacture of carpet, along with other major mills recommends steam cleaning. So should you use steam cleaning? Yes, you absolutely should. Hopefully with my company or with another reputable one in the area.