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Dry Carpet cleaning – Yes? No? Maybe?

Has the thought of getting your carpet dry cleaned come to your minds? Now when i say dry carpet cleaning I am basically talking about the Host Dry carpet cleaning system. Many carpet cleaners who use steam cleaning will tell you absolutely not, do not even think twice about it.

Unlike many wet cleaning system the host system uses what is known as sponges to clean your carpet. The process is simple; the carpet is thoroughly vacuumed using a hepa filtered vacuum. Then the Host sponges which is a soft, natural and environmentally friendly product is sprinkled on your problem areas and on your carpet. The HOST sponges are moistened with water, detergent and a small amount of safe-to-use-solvent. It is then worked into the carpet fibers by the counter rotating heads of the Host Machine, then vacuumed back up.

At one point I would have agreed with most steam cleaning carpet cleaners, but as i did my research with an open mind I came to realize that each system has their pros and cons. I have taken IICRC courses on my way to pursuing a Master Textile Cleaner certification, so I know what most steam cleaners have been taught.

I was very close to going the steam cleaning route in deciding which method I wanted to pursue for my business. But after looking further into Dry Cleaning I decided the Host Cleaning System was the best bet for my clients.

Don’t take my word for it, here is a few pieces taken from a case study done by Pasco Shrader Elementary school in Florida. Pasco was running into the same situation most homeowners see when it comes to steam cleaning, wick backs or the return of spots, once the carpet has dried. Within a few weeks the carpets would look as bad or worse a week after cleaning. Because of the chemicals used during steam cleaning many individuals where having respiratory issues while the carpets where drying.

Here is what was done, the school setup a trial protocol to test five different cleaning methods to clean its 10 year old carpets. These different methods were:

1. High Flow water extraction

2. Portable wet extraction

3. Low Moisture encapsulation

4. Low Moisture dry extraction

5. Truckmount wet extraction.

The only objective of this study was to determine which carpet cleaning method would remove the most soil and re-soil the least while delivering the best looking carpet. The need to find a cleaning method that met “green cleaning” standards also came into play

Each company chosen had a chance to see their test sites and all agreed that all the areas were evenly soiled and no advantage was given to any cleaning method. The representatives from each company were given as much time as they needed to do a thorough cleaning. Some even went as far as to clean their areas 3-4 times.

After the initial cleaning only the low moisture (HOST) dry extraction area was dry. Air movies and the HVAC were left on overnight to help with the drying process. On the second day each area was vacuumed again. Student traffic was introduced on the sixth day, over the next four weeks each area was looked at and vacuumed daily.

What were conclusions of this study?

1. Each area re-soiled at different rates

a. The low Moisture (HOST) dry extraction area after four weeks still looked the cleanest, with heavy student traffic.

2. Carpets were immediately available for use.

3. Limited time and resources were required.

a. No water was required using the dry extraction method

4. Extensive research showed that the dry extraction method had a great impact in the removal of allergens from the carpet.

If this study done by an outside party in an environment where the foot traffic is probably 100 times greater than the average home, what other questions are there.

Will I say that you should never steam clean your carpets, No, but make an informed decision on what is the best method for your home and the needs of your family. Each company will say that there system is better, I prefer to look at facts that stand behind the method I have chosen for my clients. If you choose to go with a Steam Cleaner ask them if there IICRC trained in Carpet Cleaning and how long it will take before you can use your carpet. If you would rather not take the chance of having your carpets soaked then look for a carpet cleaning company in your area that uses the Host Dry system.