You might know the term “hot-water extraction” by its more popular synonym “steam-cleaning.” Though the two terms refer to the same process, the phrase “steam cleaning” is a bit misleading. The truth is that their is little to no steam involved when a typical carpet cleaner says that they are “steam cleaning” your carpets. Actually, the term “hot-water extraction” is more accurate. Although using the term “steam-cleaning” interchangeably with the term “hot-water extraction” (as it is commonly used in our industry today) is perfectly legal for carpet cleaners to do, it is in my opinion grossly misleading.
Did you know that the “hot water extraction” method is the #1 carpet cleaning method recommended by carpet manufactures? At first this didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Given the fact that the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) themselves says that the truck-mounted hot-water extraction carpet cleaning system (which is a very effective
method of carpet cleaning in the proper hands) leaves about 60% of the water that is utilized during a cleaning behind in the carpets. This access of water (especially in the hands of careless technicians) has been known to cause everything from mold, mildew, carpet shrinkage, dry-rot, bad orders, and more. However one day out of the clear blue it dawned on me. Why would a carpet manufacture disclose to us consumers legitimate methods to help us make our carpets last forever? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a carpet cleaning manufacturer giving tips to it's consumer on how to not need to replace their carpet for many, many years would be a possible conflict of interest.
Want more proof that they are not cleaning your carpets with "steam"?
The next time a carpet cleaner shows up at your home or business with truck mounted cleaning equipment to "steam-clean" your carpets? Ask the technician to lift their wand up about 5 or 10 inches above the floor and hit the trigger. Warning; before you ask them to do this move back (about 5 feet or more) because their will be "hot-water" jetting out of the end of that wand at well over 100 to 500 PSI!
Ethical or No? You Be The Judge!!
Disclaimer: Now please understand that in most cases it is not the hard working honest carpet cleaning technicians that shows up at your door that has chosen to mislead you in this area. It has been my experience that most technicians (if asked) will openly admit to you the validity of everything that you have read in this article.