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Every Carpet Cleaning Method & The Process

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

carpet cleaning methods

Carpets are a wonderful addition to any home, providing warmth, comfort, and aesthetic appeal.

However, they also tend to accumulate dust, dirt, stains, and allergens over time. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain their beauty and prolong their lifespan.

Fortunately, there are several carpet cleaning methods available, each offering unique benefits depending on your specific needs.

In this blog, we will every carpet cleaning method used by professionals and delve into the process of each one.

Hot Water Extraction (Steam Cleaning)

hot water extraction carpet cleaning

Hot water extraction, commonly known as steam cleaning, is one of the most popular carpet cleaning methods used by professionals.

It is highly effective in removing deep-seated dirt and stains. There currently is no better way to deep clean and sanitize your carpets.

sometimes, the water temperature is better cold depending on what kind of stains you are cleaning, but generally hot water is best.

What You Need

  • Heated Carpet Cleaner With At Least 180 psi (or you can purchase an inline heater if you have a cold water carpet cleaner

  • Agitation brushes - pile brush or agitation machine

  • Cleaning chemicals for pre treatment as well as spot stain removers

  • Carpet rake to bring the carpets back to original shape and aid drying

  • Carpet fans to help dry the floor

Hot Water Extraction Process

  1. Pre-treatment: A specialized cleaning solution is applied to the carpet to break down stubborn stains and loosen dirt.

  2. Agitation: A rotary or pile brush is used after 5 minutes of dwell time to bring the dirt up to the surface of the carpet

  3. Hot water application: Hot water is sprayed onto the carpet under high pressure. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grime from the carpet fibers.

  4. Extraction: A powerful vacuum is used to extract the water, along with the dissolved dirt and stains, leaving the carpet cleaner and almost dry.

  5. Rinse: The carpets are then rinsed either with clear water or with a rinse aid to remove any chemical residue that didn't get removed

When would you use the hot water extraction method?

This is the number one method professionals will use to clean heavily soiled carpets. It's amazing at tackling even the toughest stains and gets rid of bad smells from your carpet.

Most people prefer this method because of it's effectiveness. Having said that, it is the most expensive option.

Dry Carpet Cleaning

dry carpet cleaning method

Dry carpet cleaning is an ideal option for carpets that cannot tolerate excessive moisture, such as delicate or natural fiber carpets.

This method is quick and efficient, making it a preferred choice for businesses and households alike.

It is probably the best option for rugs made from silk or wool and is a decent option for wool carpets too...if it's not too dirty that is.

What You Need

  • Dry carpet cleaning machine

  • Dry cleaning powders

  • agitation brush or machine

  • Industrial vacuum cleaner

Dry Carpet Cleaner Process

  1. Application of Dry Cleaning Compound: A specialized cleaning compound or powder is evenly spread over the carpet's surface

  2. Activation: The cleaning compound is agitated using a brush or machine to ensure it reaches deep into the carpet fibers and absorbs dirt.

  3. Vacuuming: After a short dwell time, the cleaning compound, now containing the dirt and stains, is vacuumed away, leaving the carpet fresh and clean.

When would you use the dry carpet cleaning method?

If your carpets aren't very soiled or, if you have fabrics that need a lighter touch, dry carpet cleaning is a great option.

Rather than bringing out the heavy equipment, you can freshen up with a dry carpet cleaning solution to lift any unwanted soiling and odors.

Bonnet Cleaning

bonnet cleaning method

Bonnet cleaning is a surface-level cleaning method often used in commercial settings. It is effective for maintaining carpets with light soiling between deep cleaning sessions.

This method is not recommended for home carpets simply because of the impracticality of reaching the corners.

It is designed to be used on a large section of carpet to freshen it up and is often used as a spot cleaner for that reason.

What You Need

  • Industrial Vacuum Cleaner

  • Rotary floor machine

  • Bonnet pads (10 at least)

Bonnet Cleaning Process

  1. Pre-vacuuming: The carpet is thoroughly vacuumed to remove loose debris

  2. Application of Cleaning Solution: cleaning solution is sprayed onto the carpet's surface

  3. Bonnet Pad: A bonnet (a cleaning pad attached to a rotary floor machine) is then used to agitate the carpet and absorb dirt from the top layers of the fibers

  4. Regular Reversal: As the bonnet pad becomes soiled, it is flipped or replaced with a clean one to ensure efficient cleaning.

Encapsulation Cleaning

Encapsulation cleaning is a low-moisture method that utilizes synthetic polymers to encapsulate dirt particles, making them easier to remove.

It is gaining popularity for its eco-friendly attributes. It is a mixture between bonnet cleaning and dry carpet cleaning. While it has some positives, the drawbacks are quite prominent too, at least for now.

Encapsulation Cleaning Process

  1. Application of Encapsulation Solution: A specialized encapsulation cleaning solution is applied to the carpet with a sprayer

  2. Drying and Encapsulation: As the solution dries, it forms crystalline particles around the dirt, effectively encapsulating it.

  3. Vacuuming: Once the carpet has dried completely, it is vacuumed to remove the encapsulated dirt and stains.

Shampoo Carpet Cleaning

shampoo carpet cleaning method

Shampooing is an older carpet cleaning method that involves using a foamy cleaning solution to scrub the carpet.

While it can effectively clean heavily soiled carpets, it has some drawbacks, such as leaving behind residue.

If the residue isn't removed then dirt and chemicals can become trapped inside the carpets, causing wicking among other things.

What You Need

  • Carpet cleaning machine with at least 300 psi

  • Agitation brushes or machine

  • Cleaning chemicals for pre treatment and spot stain removal products

  • Industrial vacuum cleaner

  • Carpet drying fans and rake

  • Carpet Rinse

Carpet Shampoo Process

  1. Shampoo Application: A foamy carpet shampoo is applied using a rotary brush or a carpet-cleaning machine

  2. Agitation: The shampoo is worked into the carpet fibers to dislodge dirt and stains

  3. Rinsing: The carpets are then rinsed to remove any cleaning chemical residue

  4. Drying and Vacuuming: Once the carpet has dried, it is vacuumed to remove the shampoo and the dirt it encapsulated.


Choosing the right carpet cleaning method depends on various factors, including the carpet's material, level of soiling, and the time available for drying.

Hot water extraction (steam cleaning) and dry carpet cleaning are among the most effective and widely used methods.

However, for specific situations, such as maintaining lightly soiled carpets or minimizing drying time, bonnet cleaning and encapsulation cleaning can be excellent choices.

Regardless of the method you choose, regular carpet cleaning is essential to keep your carpets looking fresh, extend their lifespan, and create a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning service to ensure the best results and to maintain the beauty and cleanliness of your carpets for years to come.

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1 Comment

I always vacuum the carpet first and just like many others, I add the soap mixture to the tank, well after seeing your video, I put the cleaner in a sprayer and followed your directions. This not only worked, it cut my cleaning time down and my carpet looks great. Thank you for the tips

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