Buying a home is such an adventure. It is so exciting to walk in to a world of complete possibility. Most homes that are purchased need tweaking. You buy a house that you like and turn it into a home by the improvements you invest in. For instance, when we purchased our home we loved the open air feel, cozy kitchen and layout of the bedrooms in relation to the other rooms in the house. However there were things cosmetically that we were unhappy about. We needed paint, stain, cleaner and carpet. The only thing that mechanically was needed was a water softener and insulation was needed but that wasn’t too major. We thought we were getting off pretty cheap. That was until we priced out carpet for a 1400 square foot home.

Carpet is pricey. It is one of the largest investments that you can cosmetically make that doesn’t involve a renovation. We ended up with a beautiful frieze carpet that will hopefully stand the test of time, two kids and three cats. There were so many things we learned during the installation process that made us aware of how fragile this investment we were making was. If we did not properly care for our purchase with proper cleaning techniques we would end up making this investment more often than we would like too. I am not only talking about vacuuming and spot removal but also the cleaning that will need to be done by a professional.

Professional carpet cleaners are not all the same. We learned this right away. There are many different types of cleaning methods and many types of professional carpet cleaners. Researching the different techniques made us realize that without a professional who knew our carpet and knew what cleaning method would work best we could end up with a big mess. The most important factor, we found out, is the professionals method of water extraction. Without proper water extraction and drying water sits beneath the carpet and soaks into the padding leaving room for mold, mildew and carpet delimitation.

There are five major methods professional carpet cleaners use to clean carpets. A carpet professional should come out to your home, inspect your carpet and then suggest a cleaning method that would best suit your need.

The hot/cold water extraction method is what most people relate to when speaking about carpet cleaning. This method involves using a carpet cleaning machine along with detergent to “steam clean” the carpet. As the machine shoots out the water solution there is a vacuum inside the machine pulling out the dirt, water and detergent. The major drawback to this method is if done incorrectly the carpet and padding can become saturated. Also if all the detergent is not pulled from the carpet you run the risk of the detergent becoming a dirt magnet. Your carpet professional must make sure to completely dry all the areas cleaned. This is a top priority in making sure that your carpet stays as good as new. No one wants to deal with mold and mildew removal especially when carpet is involved.

The next method is a dry extraction method. This method involves taking detergent and brushing it into the carpet with a machine especially designed for this. The soil and dirt adheres to the chemicals and then is removed by vacuuming the detergent and dirt away. The problem is that this method is not always effective for areas that are heavily soiled. The foam extraction method is similar but instead of a dry detergent you use foam. The foam is vacuumed out while it is still damp.

Another method is the rotary foam method. A machine pushes a foam solution into your carpet and gently works it deep into the fibers. Then a second process takes the dirty foam and wet vacuums it out. This method also involves making sure that the carpet is thoroughly dry before resuming regular activity. Water extraction will be the key in keeping your carpets clean.

Finally the last method in carpet cleaning is the absorbent-pad technique. Make sure if you choose this technique that your carpet professional is trained. It is easy to ruin carpet if you are not skilled at this technique. The absorbent pad method involves spraying cleaners into the fibers of your carpet and letting them set. During this time it is said that the chemicals will pull the dirt from within the carpet fibers out. A machine with a large spinning absorbent pad will then pick up the chemical and dirt. If you have a carpet with a deep pile this might not be the best technique for your carpets. If not done properly you can end up with a mess.

Properly caring for one of the biggest investment in cosmetic repairs to your new home is a must. Make sure you ask for referrals and that you discuss why the technique that they choose is the correct method for your carpet. It is best to ask for the opinion of at least three carpet professionals. Remember this is only for the first time you have your carpets cleaned. If you find someone who you are happy than each year you will be able to call them up and have them back out. Remember that this investment in your home is upwards of five thousand dollars don’t trust it to just anyone do the research.