Which removes more soil? Dry-Clean methods, such as Chem-Dry, or Truck mount Steam Cleaning?
Chem-dry's basic method is to spray a carbonated cleaning agent on your carpet and then use a floor buffer with an absorbent pad to buff the carpet and absorb loosened soil into the pad. Another name for this is known as bonnet cleaning, and very similar is dry foam cleaning. Other dry cleaning methods involve working an absorbent powder compound into the fibers and then vacuuming the substance along with the soils they have absorbed.
Admittedly, these dry-cleaning methods have there place in the industry. For instance, it is known as a acceptable interim method in maintaining low pile carpet such as industrial, indoor/outdoor and many glue down carpets. It also can be a dependable method in improving the surface appearance on lightly soiled furniture, carpets and rugs in between the recommended professional deeper cleaning methods.
Should it take the place of and does it remove as much soil as properly performed truck mount steam extraction? We say no...and so do the people who make the carpet!
All major textile manufactures agree that “hot water extraction with maximum moisture and residue removal” is the right way to take care of their goods. This is where the powerful extraction of heavy duty truck mount steam cleaning systems come into play. Hot water extraction(Steam Cleaning) is when pressurized heated water containing a cleaning or rinsing solution is injected into the fibers andsimultaneously extracted with powerful vacuum. The pressurized hot water flushes soils, pollutants and residue while extraction immediately removes it and the excess water. Due to it's ability to thoroughly flush, rinse and extract, the majority of cleaning experts recognize professionally performed truck-mount steam cleaning as the best overall way to safely and effectively clean nearly all types of carpets, area rugs, wet-cleanable upholstery and drapes, mattresses, as well as, tile and grout.
If you have your carpets bonnet cleaned, such as the Chem-Dry regular process, what ever soils, residue, odor and pollutants that don't get absorbed in the spinning pad are, of course, left behind. A good comparison would be sweeping a rug with a broom as opposed to using an industrial vacuum cleaner. The vacuum will, of course, extract more soil while the broom will sweep the surface while pushing some soils deeper in the carpet. Likewise, even if pre-vacuumed, dry-cleaning is incapable of removing deep embedded soils and stains as completely as the mighty flushing and extracting action of a powerful truck-mounted cleaning system. This is why we agree with the advice of the people who make the carpet, as well as the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), the people who test the methods, machinery and chemicals for actual effectiveness. Again, we agree that deep steam cleaning with maximum extraction power is the preferred method on nearly all carpets and conditions.
Is Carpet and Upholstery Steam Cleaning Safe?
The truth that many "dry-clean" companies don't know or won't admit is that the steam Cleaning process is safe and does not cause mold or damage to your Carpet or upholstery. Nevertheless, any method that over wets and under removes excess moisture can cause mold, odors and damage. Today's advanced truck-mounted steam cleaning equipment, along with modern products and techniques, is easily capable of safer and more effective cleaning with fast dry times than methods that use less moisture and a spinning towel.
Surprising as it may seem, Chem-dry themselves recognizes this and use some of the same truck-mounted systems and attachments that mainstream steam cleaners have been using for years. They not only offer, but recommended it as their highest priced premium quality cleaning. This is especially true for soiled carpets with traffic areas and Berber carpeting. The irony of it all is that they still advertise not to "risk steam cleaning" while driving around in a van with a truck-mounted steam system right behind the two front seats and a Rx-20 rotary hot water extraction tool in the back. Before the truck-mount they actually used a portable hot water extractor.
Obviously, they recognize there over-priced re-labeled hot water extraction as the better way to clean. As quoted directly from a Chem-Dry web site:
- Chem-Dry’s Hot Carbonated Rotary Extraction System TM and state-of-the-art truck mount system has been awarded the gold seal of approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute of America to deliver Chem-Dry’s most powerful deepest clean for maximum soil removal.
- Chem-Dry’s revolutionary truck mounted system cleans deep and dries quickly for the ultimate clean.
So what is the difference between Chem-dry and Top-Notch truck-mount steam cleaners?
Difference one is you normally pay more for their watered-down hot water extraction than for true steam cleaning. What do I mean by watered down? Chem-dry defeats some of the advantages of steam cleaning by using 1/10 the water flow and limiting the temperature to 160 degrees. This is part of their marketing scheme to bash steam cleaning while pretending they're performing something different and unique while charging you top dollar.
They also have the disadvantage of overlooking decades of effective product research and design because they are limited to their very own "carbonated" cleaning agent. In essence it's like taking a cooler shower or washing clothes using 1/10 of the normal water flow because it's carbonated, all in the name of quicker drying. Naturally, reality says you would not be able to wash or rinse properly unless you took a lot longer to do it. And when you are done washing all day and/or half cleaning, it will take you about the same time to dry off.
Such is the case with steam cleaning / hot water extraction. The major benefit to using a truck-mounted system is they are designed to simultaneously extract the larger volumes of high temperature water flow they produce. The steaming water of 215 degrees or hotter has far more dissolving capability of oily soils and far more energy so less chemical can be used effectively. This means little to no chemical residue left. The other benefits is that steaming water kills germs and evaporates much faster for quicker drying times. When you couple this with a machine with powerful extraction, the outcome is fresher, healthier carpets that were thoroughly cleaned more effectively and efficiently with nearly the same drying time.
So, In summary, most steam cleaners have the option of using a rotary attachment, such as the Rx-20 or Rotovac. Most steam cleaners can lower the amount of water volume by changing nozzles and turning a knob. Most Steam cleaners can lower the water temperature by adjusting a dial. These options are important for cleaning natural fibers, some upholstered furniture and drapes. However, the average cleaner with a good truck-mounted unit will only use inefficiently low water volume and insufficient heat if he or she has broken or malfunctioning components on his machine. So, while Chem-Dry's upgraded method is more effective than there standard, it is a low temperature, low water volume hot water extraction for which the consumer normally pays more money while receiving less effectiveness.
Who Should I choose to clean my Carpet?
We suggest saving time and money and making sure it is cleaned properly from top to bottom the first time around. Go with the beefed up instead of the tuned down method recommended by the people who make the carpets. Go with the systems that have that have maxim vacuum power. Many of these are run by the vehicles engine, while some aren't and are still powerful. Some of the most powerful machines are Vortex and Aerotec, White Magics Pro 1200, Prochems Mount Everest to name a few.