If you can find your way around your home or office by following a grimy path on the carpeting, it’s time for a deep clean. Learn how to deep clean a carpet using a carpet extractor.
What is a Carpet Extractor?
There are a lot of machines available for carpet cleaning, but it’s important to understand their differences. The machine you likely use the most is a vacuum for picking up the dirt and grit that gets tracked around daily.
Another machine is a steam cleaner, but these machines can damage carpets if misused. A steam cleaner’s high pressure can drive dirt and debris deeper into the carpet, damaging its fibers. Professional steam cleaning services use these machines appropriately. Still, it’s important that the carpets don’t remain soaking wet, and that the temperature used is appropriate for the type of carpet getting cleaned.
The top machine for carpet cleaning is the hot water carpet extractor. This machine uses hot water and carpet shampoo or other cleaning solution to loosen dirt from the carpet, and then “extracts” the slurry from the carpet. If you’re planning on renting equipment or operating a cleaning service that takes large carpet cleaning jobs, learn how to deep clean a carpet using a carpet extractor.
Step One: Choose a Hot Water Extracting Machine
Homeowners who decide to take on deep carpet cleaning as a DIY project can rent a hot water extractor from their local big-box home supply and hardware store. It’s important to look for a machine approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). This trade group tests and rates machines for effectiveness on behalf of floor covering manufacturers.
Hot water carpet extractors are an essential piece of commercial floor cleaning equipment. If carpet cleaning represents a substantial part of your services, a hot water extractor will pay for itself after a few jobs.
Keep in mind that hot water extractors are heavy, and they’re loud when in operation. Be prepared with ear protection, and enlist help if you need to move the machine.
Step Two: Read the Instructions!
The CRI also tests carpet cleaning chemicals and shampoos. Individual machines may only work with specific types of cleaners, so choose a CRI-approved carpet cleaner listed as compatible with the machine you rent.
One of the most important things to note about how to deep clean a carpet using a carpet extractor is that you should not use a hot water extractor on wool carpets. Hot water machines are for synthetic carpets only. Clean wool carpets with cold water if the machine has that setting.
Step Three: Clear the Room
If you’re going all-in on carpet cleaning, you must clear the area of furniture so you can reach every part of the carpet. You may also discover stains hidden by your furniture, so clearing the room will help you adequately assess the extent of the job you’re facing.
Step Four: Spot Clean
Now that you’ve revealed areas concealed by furnishings, treat and spot-clean stains. Follow the instructions on the product you choose, and complete the process before moving on to the next steps. Some stubborn stains may need a repeated application before proceeding.
Step Five: Vacuum
Vacuuming is the most important step before deep cleaning. Removing loose dirt and debris will prevent it from being driven further into the carpet by the hot water carpet extractor. In addition to picking up nearly 90% of loose dirt, gravel, and grit left on your carpet daily, vacuuming fluffs up carpet fibers and prepares them for the hot water cleaning process.
Step Six: Fill the Machine
A hot water extractor has two tanks: one holding clean water and carpet cleaning solution, and the other holding dirty water the machine sucks up from the carpet. Follow instructions exactly regarding the amount of water and cleaning solution specified in the machine’s manual.
Step Seven: Test on a Small Area
Once you’ve read the manual and know how to operate the machine, test it on a small area covered by furnishings. This way, you can be certain the cleaning solution won’t affect the colors and texture of your carpet.
Step Eight: Clean Until the Water Runs Clear
Follow the instructions for operating the machine, being careful not to hold down the water release button all the time. This could soak the carpet and create a potential mold problem. The machine’s suction feature will run when the device is on, so it will continue to extract water as you slowly move it around the carpet.
Step Nine: Let the Carpet Dry Completely
It’s important to allow the carpet to dry completely before replacing your furniture. If you put wood furniture back on a damp carpet, pigment from the wood’s stain color can transfer to the carpet, causing discoloration.
Step Ten: Vacuum One More Time
Allowing the carpet to dry completely enables you to go over it with a vacuum once more to remove any residual cleaning solution. This makes the carpet fresh and ready to walk on once again.
Additional Tips for Success
Go slowly to give the extractor sufficient time to remove the water and cleaning solution. Check both tanks from time to time. Cleaning large carpets may require you to refill the “clean” tank.
Be mindful of the correct amount of cleaning solution. If there is foam on the carpet, you’re probably using too much solution. Carpet cleaners must be diluted to the proper ratio for maximum effectiveness. In this case, more is not better.
Deep clean carpets at least once a year. Heavy traffic areas should be deep cleaned twice as often. In commercial buildings, janitorial or carpet cleaning services may deep clean carpets during low-traffic times when many workers are out on vacation, or overnight, to ensure carpets have enough time to dry.
Quality MRO supplies commercial vacuum cleaners appropriate for preparing floors for deep cleaning. We also carry replacement parts and cleaning chemicals you may need for your home or business. Call today to discuss your commercial cleaning needs.