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So you have decided to have your carpets cleaned and you’ve seen on various social media selling pages about different carpet cleaners offering different kinds of carpet cleaning services. Some offer “steam cleaning”, others offer “rinse extraction”, some offer “dry cleaning” with no dry time. It’s confusing for anyone who doesn’t know what they’re looking at and is undecided as to which is going to best to get their carpets cleaned to their maximum potential. Well, let us shed some light on the differences and give you some FREE advice on what to go for.

In the carpet cleaning industry, there are plenty of ways to clean a carpet, but contrary to what you’re being told, not all services are equal and not all services are actually sufficient for your type of carpet.

The first piece of advice we’ll give you in this blog is to make sure you’re hiring a real professional carpet cleaner, we say this because all too often, we come across “professionals” who are nothing more than someone who has bought a £200 machine from their local DIY store or a 2nd hand extraction machine from eBay but don’t actually know how to operate it properly, think they’re now a professional and will charge you to clean your carpets, we then go in a week or two later to rectify the mess they have made. We always advise to look for a carpet cleaning company near you with NCCA accreditation. The NCCA stands for the National Carpet Cleaners Association and to become a member of the NCCA, you must sit a variety of authorised carpet cleaning courses as well as pass an entry exam. If you hire a qualified and registered member of the NCCA then they will be highly qualified to give you the correct advice regarding which carpet cleaning process is best for your carpets.

Rinse Extraction

The standard service, you’ll see 99% of the time with domestic carpet cleaning is rinse extraction, this is commonly called “steam cleaning” but in actual fact, that term is incorrectly used. Steam is not used to clean, generally you see steam as a result of the hot water used to rinse the carpet of the chemicals and dirt that sit in the carpet. This process is the best way to clean a carpet with any form of pile. Cleaning chemicals are sprayed on to the carpet (different chemicals for different kinds of soiling), massaged into the pile and then rinsed with water (hot or cold) and extracted back into the machine that usually sits out the front of your home. A real “deep clean” for your carpets, great for stain removal, odour control and really extracts the most amount of soiling from your carpets.

Low Moisture/Bonnet Cleaning

This is a cleaning procedure that we believe doesn’t offer a true deep clean on carpets with a pile but visually is very effective and we can see why some people can be sold the benefits of this form of clean. A product is sprayed on the carpet and then a rotary style machine with an absorbent pad is passed over the carpet to absorb the loosened dirt. The problem we find with this is that the pad doesn’t have the ability to get deep into the pile of the carpet so whilst it’s incredibly effective of lifting dirt from the surface and having a very impressive visual appearance, it’s not a deep clean in our opinion (and we offer this service).
Another, albeit minor issue with this form of clean on a carpet with a pile is that you’re left with “swirl marks” from the rotating action of the machine, which looks terrible. Whenever we see pictures of companies who offer this form of carpet clean the ‘after’ picture looks like an old tie dye t-shirt pattern from the 90’s!

Drying times are obviously a lot quicker than with rinse extraction but we would only advise a low moisture clean on low profile carpets that you’re likely to see in schools and offices, it works great on them.

Dry Clean

A dry clean utilises a “sponge” compound, similar to a thick powder but slightly moistened, that is spread over the floor, then using some form of agitation machine or carpet brush, the compound is worked into the pile of the carpet and left to dry and absorb contaminants in the carpet before being extracted using a commercial vacuum cleaner. We would never offer this kind of clean unless the client is adamant that they need the carpet to be dry and back in action immediately. It is a great form of maintenance cleaning that we would carry out bi-annually on commercial carpets in between annual deep cleans, just to keep the carpet looking clean but it has very limited stain removing capabilities.

We also offer this kind of clean on natural fibre carpets such as sisal and seagrass as it’s a very effective form of cleaning for those style carpets that can’t be subjected to a huge amount of moisture or in situations where carpets are susceptible to shrinking. Again, using an NCCA registered carpet cleaner, you’re hiring someone with the skill set required to understand how to use this method of cleaning, but also they should have the knowledge to be able to rinse extract carpets that other untrained carpet cleaners may damage or shrink in the process.

Regardless of which process you use, as we said above, make sure you choose an NCCA registered carpet cleaner. Sure, there are carpet cleaners out there without the NCCA accreditation who are probably quite good at their jobs but when you see that NCCA logo, you’ll know that you’re in safe hands when it comes to having your carpets or upholstery cleaned professionally. The most common phrases we hear in this industry are “you get what you pay for” and “pay cheap, pay twice”.


Founder & Head Technician at Powerdean Floor Maintenance. Passionate about providing an amazing cleaning service to our clients



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