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When to go Beyond Vacuuming for your Carpet

While it might not be your favorite task, vacuuming a carpet on a regular basis provides numerous benefits. Vacuuming removes dirt, debris, and allergens and prolongs the life of the carpet by removing gritty particles which cut carpet fibers.

About 80 percent of carpet soil can be removed by simply vacuuming. But that last 20 percent can cause the carpet to lose its clean feel and appearance. This leaves the carpet feeling sticky and matted, showing circles of grime around furniture, and even throwing up clouds of dust. In such cases a deep cleaning is the key to carpet restoration.

There are two primary methods for cleaning a carpet deeply—dry-cleaning and wet “steam” cleaning. Dry cleaning is more accurately called low-moisture cleaning because the carpet barely gets wet. The most primitive method of low-moisture cleaning involves the hands and knees, along with a bucket, a large damp sponge, and a little detergent. Work the sponge around in a circle, rinse, and repeat—and repeat—and repeat. Stay off the carpet until it is thoroughly dry and then vacuum.

The easiest low-moisture carpet cleaning method utilizes a machine called a dry foam shampooer. The device applies a whipped shampoo that is 10 percent liquid and 90 percent air. A special brush system agitates the carpet while a vacuum recovery system sucks up the loosened dirt and debris. Dry foam shampooers are available to rent.

If your carpet is very dirty it needs a steam cleaning, a method otherwise known as hot water extraction. Steam cleaners inject a hot cleaning solution deep into the carpet under pressure. The dirty water is then instantly sucked up by a vacuum. Steam cleaners can be rented at many stores but a good deep cleaning requires you to move all the furniture and thoroughly vacuum before you begin. If you don’t have the stamina to do so, there are plenty of professional rug cleaners around. Call a few, get the best deal, and go to movie while your carpet gets cleaned.

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