It’s important to understand the difference between hot water extraction and steam cleaning when it comes to carpet cleaning. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different processes.

Hot water extraction, also known as steam cleaning by some, is a widely recommended method for cleaning carpets. It involves heating water in a cleaning machine mounted on a portable truck. The heated water, along with a cleaning solution, is injected with force into the carpet fibres to loosen and remove dirt and grime. The dirty water is then extracted using powerful machinery, and the carpet is left to dry. Despite seeing steam during the process, it is actually the hot water that is cleaning the carpet, not the steam itself.

In contrast, steam is created when water is boiled and evaporates. Steam cleaning, when used alone, may not provide as thorough a rinse as hot water extraction with a cleaning solution. It can also potentially set in stains instead of removing them effectively.

When comparing a DIY “steam machine” rental to a professional hot water extraction cleaning, there are notable differences. Professional carpet cleaning technicians prioritise thorough vacuuming before wetting the carpet to remove as much dirt and dust as possible. Their truck-mounted machinery is more powerful than home vacuums and can reach deep into the carpet fibres.

Another significant difference is drying. Rental machines lack the powerful suction of professional hot water extraction equipment, resulting in carpets being left wetter and taking longer to dry. Improper application of too much water can damage the carpet or lead to mould growth during the drying process. Professional hot water extraction, when performed correctly, extracts nearly all of the water, allowing carpets to dry naturally within a few hours. Opening windows or using large fans can expedite the drying process.

Regular annual carpet cleaning using hot water extraction can help maintain the appearance and freshness of your carpets. It can also extend the carpet’s lifespan by up to two years. Hiring a reputable carpet cleaning company that utilises hot water extraction with proper techniques and equipment is the best way to achieve optimal results.

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McArdles Cleaning & Restoration Technicians are the “face” of our business and more than likely the people you will have the most contact with. All of our technicians are highly trained – not only in the professional services they provide, but also in customer service. We see staff technical training as being a very important aspect of our service and hold frequent training sessions where all of our staff have the opportunity to develop and extend their knowledge.