Although vacuuming your carpet regularly is helpful, you should also have it professionally cleaned at least every 12 or 18 months if you want your carpet to last a long time and look good. What’s more, professional carpet cleaning promotes good health as it gets rid of harmful bacteria, allergens and dirt that are trapped in a carpet.

As there are several carpet cleaning methods, it can seem confusing if you don’t understand what’s involved in each type. Here are the primary carpet cleaning techniques and how they differ.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning, also called hot water extraction, involves very hot water loosening dirt with a steam cleaner, drawing the dirt and moisture away. This cleaning method effectively removes dust mites, bacteria and odors, so your carpet smells new. Sometimes, this method takes longer to dry than other methods.

Dry Cleaning

The dry cleaning carpet method gets its name from the fact that it doesn’t use hardly any water. After an absorbent compound is sprinkled over your carpet to attract dirt, a mechanized brush-like tool sucks up the residue and soil, which is dispelled via a vacuum cleaner. It’s a quick method, but people sensitive to chemical or suffering from allergies might be cautious of using this method.

Foam Cleaning

Foam cleaning is a method that falls between dry cleaning and shampooing. It only uses just enough water and foam detergent to attract soil. After a carpet cleaning technician works foam into your carpet, he or she next vacuums your rug, which extracts out most of the detergent, water and dirt.


This method entails distributing a foamy chemical on a carpet and then scrubbing it using a motorized brush. Many carpet cleaning rental machines use this method. It doesn’t involve extraction, so you have to vacuum it to get rid of dirt and soil. Although it was once a popular carpet cleaning method, it’s less effective than other methods.

Considerations and Warnings

The best type of carpet cleaning method depends on several factors such as the materials of a carpet; whether or not children or pets are in a home; and how much traffic a carpet undergoes.

Don’t walk on your carpet or move furniture back until it’s totally dry. Replacing furniture too soon can result in stains and rust from furniture finishes and paints that can permanently damage your rug.

If you need your carpets cleaned, don’t hesitate to call ServiceMaster by the Border. Our carpet cleaning technicians are highly trained and experienced in cleaning all types of carpets, using the right treatments and methods for your situation.