Carpet Cleaning Methods – Understanding Hot Water Extraction

It came to my attention the other day that most consumers don’t really understand what it means to carpet clean your carpet using the Hot Water  Extraction method.  Often, in my Las Cruces Carpet Cleaning business, I’m often asked if we use hot water extraction.  It is a very good question, but customers don’t realize what’s involved to do it correctly.  In fact, most believe a Rug Doctor carpet cleaning machine will yield the same results.

Here’s a brief explanation of this popular carpet cleaning method.


This method of carpet cleaning is also referred as Steam Cleaning. The use of the word “steam” was initiated as a marketing approach to selling this particular method.  As you probably realize, the use of live steam (375 degrees) is never accomplished.  For this reason the description is more accurately, hot water extraction.

Hot water extraction has evolved over the past few years, now using better equipment, techniques, and chemicals than in the early years.  While there has been progress, the basic system remains the same.

A hot water solution, usually containing cleaning agent, is injected into the carpet face and then it is followed with a vacuum system that extracts the soil and spent solution.  This system uses small portable equipment with a 30 PSI capacity up to large truck mount units with 1000 PSI capacities.  It is important to keep in mind that most pumps will overheat if there is insufficient water available to pump.  When comparing machines, remember that vacuum efficiency is measured two ways.  Inches of lift (water or mercury) and air flow measure in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and are both important.  Lift measures how hard the vacuum can pull and air flow measures how much water dirt and air will be removed through the hose to the waste tank.

While the above describes the basic system, no hot water extraction system is complete without a preconditioning step.  The preconditioning involves a chemical designed to emulsify, soaponify, and suspend the oxidized oils and soils until they can be extracted with the equipment.  Operator expertise and training cannot be over emphasized.  Even more important than quality equipment is a quality technician.

  1. ADVANTAGES:  Hot water extraction cleaning is perhaps the most used carpet cleaning method today.  If used properly, utilizing all the fundamentals of cleaning, it is the finding of many independent experts and laboratories that it removes the greatest amounts of soil as compared to the other methods.).
  2. Extraction can employ high temperature, good chemical concentration, and if used with the proper pre-spray, offer time). for the chemicals to work.  Mechanical action or agitation needs to be added to the system whether it be a grooming rake to work in the pre-spray or the extra agitation offered by rotary jet extraction.

    The cost of this method can be looked at as both a plus and a negative.  The cost of the chemical is very inexpensive in use.  The cost of the equipment and labor put the overall expense as one of the highest among the carpet cleaning methods.

  3. DISADVANTAGES:  Extended drying time – This is not always the case, but as compared to the other methods, extraction cleaning will average a low of 2 hours for drying, up to 24 hours in extreme cases.  The more powerful the vacuum, and the more skilled the technician, the quicker the drying process.  Vacuum systems will vary from machine to machine.  Both centrifugal and positive displacement systems are used.  The most important consideration for obtaining good vacuum efficiency is to have both good water lift (also measured in inches of murcury) and good air flow (measured in cfm, of ‘cubic feet per minute’).

As mentioned above, depending on the extent of equipment purchased, and the need for trained personnel, this method has a higher cost factor.


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Easiest Way To Clean Your Tile and Grout – Tips by Las Cruces Carpet Cleaning

Looking for the Best Way to Clean Your Tile and Grout?

If your home is a few years old and your beautiful ceramic tile floors are looking dingy then it may be time to have them professionally cleaned.  Pets, kids and lots of foot traffic is often blamed for those unsightly black grout lines, but yet we never actually walk “inside” the actual grout channel.  So then the question is:  What really causes our grout lines to look awful?

Simply stated, its our MOPPING!  Every time we mop our floors we leave behind lots of soil and residue.  If we don’t change the mop water often enough then we are simply spreading soil from our mop bucket to our floor.  Second, if we don’t “thoroughly” rinse the cleaners from the floor, then they will remain there after the water evaporates.  And last, no matter how well we clean and rinse your floor there is always some residue build-up left behind.  It’s only a matter of time before we have to remove the unsightly buildup.

Tile and Grout Cleaning Process:

  1. Vacuum or sweep any dry particulate soil from the floor
  2. Apply a professional tile cleaning solution that contains heavy duty degreasers and a high ph necessary to break down all the residues on the floor.
  3. Allow the solution 10 to 15 minutes of dwell time before agitating.
  4. Scrub the tile with a floor machine and use either a green pad or stiff nylon brush.
  5. Scrub the grout lines with a “grout brush” specially designed to loosen up the soil at the bottom of the grout channel.
  6. Pressure rinse all the solution and soil off the tile and grout with about 1000 psi neutral ph rinse solution and a spinner tool.
  7. Air Dry the floor.
  8. Repeat steps 1 thru 7 if necessary.
  9. Seal the grout with heavy duty sealer.

Common Misconceptions about Tile Cleaning:

In my line of work, I hear a lot of home remedies that cause more harm than good.  I’ll list them below:

  1. Clean your tile and grout with vinegar and water.
  2. Only use “water” to mop your floor
  3. Only mop with bleach
  4. Don’t mop your tile and grout
  5. Scrub your grout with “Bar Keepers Friend”

The recommendations stated above do not work and can lead to costly repairs.  Do yourself a favor and avoid these practices.  Have your tile and grout professionally cleaned once a year and be sure to seal those grout lines.

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Carpet Cleaning – Customer Reviews

Carpet Cleaning is a competitive business.  It seems that every time you turn around you are bombarded with misleading advertisements.  Most from dozens of carpet cleaners passing out coupons willing to “clean” your carpet at a discount rate.  But does that mean their service is going to meet or exceed your cleaning needs and expectations?

With that said, should you rely on the cheapest advertised special to eliminate your most difficult, most embarrasing carpet spots, stains and pet odors?  Maybe its better to go with your gutt instinct and look for the best service by searching for detailed client reviews.

Reviews come from real people like you.  Wben you read client reviews, you get to know the person coming to your home to perform the work before you meet them.   You also save lots of time not having to read misleading yellow page ads or calling friends for referrals.  The likelyhood that you’ll fall in love with your service provider is much greater when you work with businesses that share similar values.

Carpet cleaning reviews can also share insight about a companies technical ability.  If your carpet has serious problems, lets say red wine stains, then look for positive reviews from a company that has experience dealing with stains from spills.  With that said, it may be better to stay away from those that don’t mention experience with spot and stain removal.

Here’s an example of a 5-star client review posted after a positive experience with a local carpet cleaner in Las Cruces, NM.

Totally professional! Amazing company! We initially contacted Emilio to clean a heavy, thick-piled wool area rug. It was treated with care, and the rug came back looking exactly like new! I then contacted him regarding oil stains on solid-colored wool chair upholstery. Once again–perfect! Las Cruces is lucky to have access to such expertise. You can be confident with their advise and service. They are professional, trustworthy, prompt and expert! You won’t believe how great they are!

Sincerely, Marlane Parra

This customer was obviously a repeat client and mentioned the technician had experience working with both wool rugs and oily stains on upholstery.  Both experiences were great and the reviewer was willing to sign her real name to her report.

Remember, don’t leave your carpet and upholstery cleaning needs to chance.  There’s plenty you can do to find experienced, qualified professionals that you’ll want to recommend yourself to friends and family.

For more carpet cleaning hiring tips go to Carpet Cleaning El Paso or Las Cruces Carpet Cleaner

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Pet Odor Removal Tips – How To Stay Ahead Of The Problem

The best thing to do is prevention.  But like most of us, you probably can’t bear to leave “Fido” outside permanently, and neither could I.  So, take the following steps to prevent costly repairs:

  1. Purchase a black light and use it periodically to look for “invisible” urine spots in carpets and upholstery.
  2. Use vinegar and ammonia to treat spots (pet accidents) in carpet.
  3. Kennel train your pet so they learn to go outside
  4. Invest in professional training if you can’t do it yourself

Pet odors can be in two forms:  (1) odors from dander or (2) odors from pet urine accidents.  To remove odors from dander, simply take a trigger sprayer with water and spray the carpet so it becomes damp.  Then sprinkle baking soda on the damp carpet and brush it into the fibers with a carpet brush.  Wait until the moisture dries and vacuum your carpet to remove the backing soda.  Baking soda is very effective at removing dander odors from carpet, but will not work on pet urine odors (see related article).

If pet odors from pet urine is a problem, then you don’t want to add any type of moisture to the urine spots.  Doing so will only make the odor problem 10 time worse until the moisture evaporates.  Instead, contact a professional carpet cleaning service in Las Cruces that specializes in eliminating embarrassing odors and pet stains.



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