…Said anybody who has never tried. However, the people who have tried…
We see it time and time again where a customer is amazed at how quickly we achieve such great results and keep it that way! Simply put, there isn’t a unit on the market that you “plug in” that can accomplish what a Truck Mounted Hot Water Extraction Cleaning (steam cleaning) System can achieve, and more importantly, in the hands of a properly trained technician.
No department store bought units are approved by carpet manufactures IICRC cleaning standards. The Rug Doctors, Hoovers and Bissells, etc. may work well on spots, but are just too underpowered to deliver good results on large or dirty areas. As an alternative you might go to a rental shop and rent a “portable extractor.” However, the same rules apply; any machine you plug in just can’t match the vacuum power and heat of a truck mount. Chances are the unit will be very old, lacking suction, solution spraying pressure and heat. In fact, these units do more harm than good.
Using these little portables result in your carpets' sopping wet and saturated with soapy residue (due to improper rinsing and extraction from low power). Dry times beyond 24 hours, are inconvenient, but worst, it creates an environment for molds and mildew to grow as well as creating re-appearing spots and maybe a few new spots! Soapy residues attract dirt quicker, making your carpets dirtier quicker.
So what should you do?
The average homeowner owner doesn’t try cleaning out their sewer line when it backs up. Why? Because they know they don’t have the knowledge or tools to do the job correctly. The same principal applies to carpet cleaning. It’s a specialty fabric that requires the correct tools and training, as well as, the experience to get the job done properly.
Your carpet collects all the dirt, debris, pollens, pollutants, etc., that enters your home and after grinding this in for a year or more, you need a powerful cleaning method to properly remove it.
Leave it to the professional
Technically, according to most carpet mills, in order to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, carpet should be cleaned every 12-18 months. More importantly, it is required that this cleaning be done by Hot Water Extraction (steam cleaning) performed by a certified (IICRC) professional. The manufacturers know that if the job is done right, your carpet will stay cleaner, longer and you’ll be satisfied with your carpet investment.
If you keep to the recommendations (cleaning every year), a basic steam cleaning with a wand is all you need. If it has been several years since the last time you had your carpets cleaned, you have kids or pets, or several high traffic areas, you will want to upgrade to a Deep Cleaning using a rotary jet extractor, giving a deep, penetrating (rotary action is key) cleaning all the way down to the base of the fiber, followed by a Light Cleaning using the wand for edges and a final grooming.
To summarize: Any machine you buy or rent to clean carpet does more harm than good, and therefore should be used for just emergency spot cleaning. Periodically get your carpets cleaned by an IICRC certified professional utilizing a truck mount service.