Maximising the Life of your Carpet and Upholstery


Everybody likes to have their house looking clean and tidy, and it is pretty easy to see and dust or debris that collects on the kitchen floor, which is generally carpet free, but what about the rest of the house? Vacuuming the carpet will get some of the dirt and dust out, but over time it builds up and acting like sandpaper can cause extensive damage to the fibres. Additionally and more worrying, is that in addition to the dust, pathogens and harmful bacteria can also be building up which really need to be removed. Having the carpets and furniture professionally cleaned can not only bring new life in terms of fresh colours and smell, but can remove bacteria and dust, improving your health and the life expectancy of your fittings.

Carpet Cleaning Methods

Most of us are familiar with the term steam cleaning, though this doesn’t actually use steam at all. The process is correctly known as hot water soil extraction, where heated water, generally with added chemicals is sprayed into the carpet and almost simultaneously vacuumed back out again, along with any dirt and debris that has become dislodged or has dissolved in the water. It is a process recommended by many carpet manufacturers, as the best way to get a deep down clean, which gets much of the abrasive material out, which can cause wear on the carpets pile. A carpet is generally pretreated first by spraying in various cleaning chemicals to help break up dirt and stains that may have accumulated. It is important that the person doing the cleaning fully understands the different carpet materials, as some chemicals can harm certain types. There is also a balance to be made between spraying sufficient water in to break the dirt down and the subsequent drying period.

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning generally refers to what is termed a “very low moisture” or VLM, and uses highly specialized equipment. Many home carpet cleaners from Swansea to Swanage now employ this system due to its very rapid drying time, and the fact that it is also faster and less labour intensive than steam cleaning. Pre-treatment involves various detergents or emulsifiers being sprayed into the carpet, which are then agitated to ensure maximum efficiency, before being vacuumed out. Dry cleaning may be more expensive than hot water, but is considered less stressful on the carpet.

Other Options

Encapsulation uses special detergent polymers which encapsulate themselves around dirt, forming a brittle structure which can easily then be vacuumed out, also leaving a fine crystalline structure around the cleaned fibres, making it tougher for dirt to avoid the vacuum cleaner next time round. Wet shampoo followed by wet vacuuming was popular until the 1970’s but is becoming less common as it is inferior to newer methods. There also other methods such as a “bonnet”, dry compound cleaning, dry foam cleaning and vacuum wash.

Cleaning your carpets can bring back original colours and extend the life of your carpet, with some options better than another, depending on the type of carpet and the amount of time available for it to be cleaned and dry before people need to walk on it again. Your local professional can give you guidance on which is best for you.


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