The different types of carpet cleaning and how they work in Baltimore, Md

The Different Types of Carpet Cleaning and How They Work

As soon as a homeowner decides that it’s time to have their carpets cleaned, the choices begin. Dozens of companies in nearly every city offer a wide range of carpet cleaning services, with all sorts of various terms and fancy chemical names. The question is - what are all of these carpet cleaning methods and which ones work? Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common types of carpet cleaning available.

The most popular method of professional carpet cleaning in use today is hot water extraction - commonly known as “steam cleaning“. If you’ve ever had your carpets cleaned and they were damp afterwards - you’ve had them steam cleaned. The process begins with a pre-cleaning enzyme or detergent sprayed over the carpet and allowed to absorb. Then, the carpet cleaner will spray down hot water on to the carpets, which will help the enzymes penetrate and loosen all of the dirt, oils and grime inside the carpet fibers. The carpet cleaner then vacuums the water out using a truck-mounted, very high-powered suction device, which leaves very little dirt, detergent or water behind. Hot water extraction is quite effective for most carpets - as long as your carpet isn’t fragile, it should do well with a steam clean.

Dry foam cleaning is the other popular carpet cleaning method used in homes. This method is similar to steam cleaning, but instead of a pre-cleaning detergent and hot water, a dry chemical foam solution is laid down over the carpets, allowed to penetrate, and then sucked out by the suction hose. This method keeps your carpets dry, and is still quite effective at deep penetration and getting the dirt out.

Encapsulation carpet cleaning is another chemical based method that has found some traction with carpet cleaning providers throughout the USA. Essentially the process entails a chemical detergent being laid down on the carpet with the help of a rotary brush or other machine. The detergent works to crystallize dirt, oil and other particles that are stuck on and in between the carpet fibers. These crystals are then easily vacuumed up with a regular vacuum. Encapsulation is best used in between steam or dry foam cleanings, as a means to keep high traffic carpets clean without having a full truck mounted solution coming to your house every few months.

Bonnet or “carbonated” carpet cleaning is the final chemical method that we’ll touch on. Essentially this method involves using a bonnet - another name for a mechanical brush cleaning machine - to scrub the carpets clean after the chemical shampoo has been applied. If you’ve seen a janitor using a circular floor buffer, you know what this process looks like. Bonnet cleaning is only recommended for very low pile carpeting, which is quite flat and mimics a hardwood or other floor. Shag or cut pile carpeting is best served by either steam or dry foam cleaning.

Finally - a quick note about Scotchgard. Scotchgard is a protective treatment made by 3M that can be applied to carpets after cleaning is complete. While many individuals simply see it as an “up sell” by the carpet cleaner, Scotchgard is actually quite effective at preventing stains and maintaining the health of both carpets and upholstery. It’s best used on carpets that are just a few years old, as after five or so years the carpet probably isn’t worth investing in much more than an annual professional cleaning.

It’s best to contact your preferred local carpet cleaning company to enquire about which type of carpet cleaning services they offer and what they would recommend for your type of carpeting. Many companies will offer a combination of the different types of carpet cleaning listed above, and you can choose which you would prefer based on the features of each. When in doubt, you can always do a quick search online for your brand of carpet, and find out what the manufacturer recommends as a cleaning solution. We had Superior Steam Cleaners mostly use Hot Water extraction as required by most carpet manufactures. Give us a call at 443-277-7265 or go to to see what others are saying about us.