Gretchen from Toledo writes:
What is the best way to keep my carpet clean? I hear about steam cleaning, dry cleaning, cleaning powders, do-it-yourself at home steam machines and I just don't know what to do. I need some good advice here.
The best type of cleaning for you will depend on what type of carpet you have. If you are not certain contact the retailer or manufacturer before proceeding.
Nylon, Polyester & Polypropylene
These are the most common fibers used in carpeting today, and almost without exception the manufacturers recommend (and in some cases require for warranty coverage) annual professional steam extraction to help maintain your carpet. While some other methods such as dry cleaning are gentler, they are generally not as effective in removing the deep down dirt that really shortens the life of your carpet.
Do-it-yourself steam cleaning is absolutely not recommended. This may suffice for spot removal, but it cannot replace the high temperature, high suction that a professional truck-mounted machine can provide. DIY carpet cleaners also usually leave too much soap residue on the carpet, which makes the carpet sticky and causes it to re-soil much quicker. Many people see this and mistakenly think their carpet's stain resistance has been removed by the cleaning process.
Wool is used most often in very high end or specialty carpets. Wool carpet should never be steam cleaned, only dry cleaned. Steam can cause the wool carpet to wrinkle or even shrink away from the walls!
It's also a good idea to contact your retailer for a referral to a quality carpet cleaner. The companies that advertise the most, or offer the lowest price aren't necessarily the best deal, and sometimes the smaller companies do a more thorough job and help your carpet stay cleaner longer. We have even seen a local cleaner get spots out of carpet that had already been "cleaned" twice by a national name brand company.