Steam Cleaning vs. Dry Cleaning vs. Hot Carbonation: What's The Difference and Which One Is Best?
There are three main methods for cleaning carpets: steam cleaning, dry cleaning, and hot carbonation. Each method has its own pros and cons, and which method you end up using depends on your specific needs.
Use Steam Cleaning For Residences and Heavily Soiled Carpets
Steam cleaning, also known as wet cleaning, involves saturating the carpet with a soapy detergent mix, then using a wet vacuum that both rinses the carpet and sucks up the dirty water in the same motion. Steam cleaning relies on detergent and rinsing to cleanse dirt from the carpet, making it very water-intensive, and so drying the carpet afterward can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Drying time depends on the type of carpet, how thick or long the fibers are, air flow in the room, and how much water was used.
Steam cleaning is often used in residences and low-traffic areas, due to the longer drying time. It is best for carpets that are heavily soiled, for example with pet urine or liquid spills, since "washing" the carpet has a better chance of removing all residue from the carpet. In some cases, though, using too much water in a poorly calibrated machine can actually force dirt deeper into the carpet, where it will rise again to the top when the carpet finally dries. It's common for poor steam-cleaning jobs to leave a carpet looking beautiful at the end of the job, only for stains to "come back" a few days later. Some deeply embedded or old stains cannot be removed, but a good steam-cleaning job will get almost everything else, including spills, loose dirt, pet fur, lint, and so on.
Steam cleaning can be a good option for people who are sensitive to chemical detergents, since it's possible to use all-natural or hypoallergenic cleansers with steam cleaning.
Dry Cleaning Is Best For Commercial Spaces and Lightly Soiled Carpets
Dry cleaning does not use water at all, but works by putting a chemical solution in the carpet that breaks down and attracts dirt particles, and then vacuuming up both the chemical solution and the dirt. Dry cleaning takes nearly no time at all to dry (hence the name) and it's possible to walk on carpets immediately after cleaning personnel leave. This makes it popular for commercial spaces or other high-traffic areas, where cleaning can only be done overnight or during closing hours. The downside to dry cleaning is that the chemicals used in dry cleaning are more likely to cause reactions among sensitive people. It is not advisable, for instance, to let a baby crawl or sleep on a carpet that has recently been dry-cleaned.
Hot Carbonation Cleans With Less Water and Dries Faster
Hot carbonation, or hot carbon extraction, mixes aspects of both steam cleaning and dry cleaning. A cleaning solution, usually Chem-Dry(r), is combined with hot carbonated water (essentially bubbly soda water) in a cleaning machine and forced into the carpet. The cleaning solution breaks down dirt, while the rising action of the carbonated bubbles lifts dirt to the carpet's surface. The cleaning machine then vacuums everything, leaving only slightly damp fibers behind. There are comparatively fewer downsides to hot carbonation cleaning, except that some people may again be sensitive to the cleaning solution. Much less water is used in this method, so while the drying time is not as fast as dry cleaning, it is much faster than steam cleaning.
Which Carpet Cleaning Method Is Best For Me?
Using each method depends on the kind of carpet you have and what you are trying to clean. Freshening up carpet in a large retail space where most dirt comes from foot traffic is a good candidate for dry cleaning. Deep-cleaning a child's bedroom that may have food, dirt, pet hair, or mold ground into it may call for a round or two of steam cleaning with stronger detergents. Hot carbonation, if it available, can be used for either situation. Hot carbonation may also be better for carpets that already have some level of liquid saturation, such as from flooding or sewage overflow, where steam cleaning will worsen the saturation levels.
If you're unsure about what your needs are, please contact us at 703-493-1238 for an assessment and estimate. We can tell you what level of cleaning your carpet needs, what will need to moved or removed from the room to complete the cleaning, and schedule a time that will be most convenient for you.
7 Questions To Ask Your Carpet Cleaner: Estimates, Insurance, Guarantees, and More
When you're searching for a carpet cleaner, you can avoid a lot of common pitfalls by having a list of questions ready to ask in advance. Making sure you have a reputable company isn't hard. Here are 7 questions you should ask a company before booking their services:
1. Do you offer free estimates?
A carpet company should always offer a free estimate or quote for the job. Within this quote, they should be able to specify what services are needed, how long they will take, and what the estimated cost will be. Be sure to ask the technician what services are included. Unscrupulous companies will sometimes tack on extra services at the last minute, especially if you are on a tight deadline and don't have the flexibility to refuse.
2. Are your cleaning detergents eco-friendly and non-toxic?
This question is especially important if you have children or pets, but using eco-friendly and safe detergents is something every carpet company should do regardless. Be aware that different cleaning methods also use different detergents: dry cleaning in particular uses a chemical mix that can be irritating to people with sensitive skin. Talk to the technician about whether they use the safest and gentlest version of dry cleaning chemicals.
3. Do you use a truck-mounted carpet cleaning system?
Except for a few hard-to-reach places, using hand-wheeled steamers is a thing of the past. Professional companies invest in the technology necessary to do the best job, which usually means getting a truck-mounted carpet cleaning system. A hose runs from the truck to the home and is connected to a powerful engine that pumps water through the hose and sucks it back up again. A truck-mounted system is much stronger than a hand-wheeled steamer and eliminates many common cleaning problems, such as over-wetting and leaving deeply embedded dirt still in the carpet. The truck's location in the driveway or street means that most of the noise is outside, not inside where it might bother residents.
4. Are you bonded and insured?
A company that is "bonded" is one that has insurance covering each cleaning job. If something should go wrong during the job and you're dissatisfied with the work, but the carpet company can't give you a refund, you can place a claim with the insurance company to be reimbursed for your losses. The insurance company will award you damages and then require the carpet company to pay them back. This is a good way of ensuring that you won't lose money if the job turns out poorly. Insurance companies also don't write bonds for just anyone, so if the carpet company is bonded, it usually means that they have a clean claims history.
Each individual technician also needs to have insurance against slips and falls (as you might imagine, a wet carpet is a big slip hazard), as well as any incidental damage that might happen in the home.
5. Are your cleaning jobs guaranteed?
A company should offer its own guarantees in addition to bonded insurance. It's not unusual for some spots to reappear on a carpet after it dries, especially if a steam cleaning job was done improperly. Dirt that is deeply embedded in the carpet can be loosened up by the cleaning, but not "rise to the surface" until a day or so later when the carpet fully dries. A good carpet company will often offer spot cleaning fixes for a certain period of time after the job to correct these problems.
6. Are your technicians IICRC certified?
IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspecting, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, and their certification is the gold standard for the carpet cleaning industry. Technicians with this certification will be familiar with different fibers, carpet constructions and style types, cleaning methods, detergent chemistry, and best practices. You can be sure you're dealing with professionals if they have this certification, so remember to ask for a copy.
7. Can you provide references?
A carpet company that has been around for a while and is known for quality work will be able to provide references. They can provide contact information from past or current customers who can give their personal reviews about the company.
Professionally Serving Northern Virginia for 30 Years
We strive to provide the best possible service as well as maximum satisfaction to our clients. We are familiar with the questions above because we've answered all of them. We are certified, bonded and insured, offer guarantees on our work, and if you'd like, we can provide dozens of references from past happy clients. We have proudly served the Northern Virginia area for over 30 years, so you can rest assured we do our jobs well! Contact us for a free quote at 703-493-1238.
DIY Carpet Cleaning: When Northern Virginia's Wines End Up On Your Carpet
If you drive out of Washington, D.C. heading west, you'll be deep in wine country in just a few hours. Although younger and not as famous (yet), the vineyards in Northern Virginia rival the vineyards in southern California for taste and variety. But what if you bring home a bottle and accidentally spill some wine onto the carpet? Don't worry, it happens to all of us, and your carpet's not necessarily ruined! Before you call the pros, here are some DIY tips for getting red wine out of your carpet.
The Right Cleanser
Not every type of spill responds to the same cleanser. Indeed, some cleansers or techniques can make the spill worse. Salt, for example, sets red wine. Before attempting anything, assemble a stain removal kit. These are items that can be placed in a plastic tool caddy and carried around. They include:
- Methylated spirits
- Carpet cleaning spray
- Talcum powder
- Clean white cotton cloths. Avoid colored cloths because the colors may bleed into the carpet.
- Detergent with hydrogen peroxide. Avoid regular chlorine bleach.
- Stain removers for specific stains
- All purpose liquid stain remover
- Rubber gloves
- Club soda
- A roll of paper towel
Blot up as much of the wine as possible with paper towels. Do not rub. Add club soda, which causes the wine in the pile to bubble up to the surface. Blot with a sponge. Repeat.
Shake the can of carpet cleaner then spray it on the wine. Use a clean, damp sponge to work it into the stain. Let the area dry completely then vacuum it. Add more carpet cleaner, rub in, let dry and vacuum again if the stain remains.
Heavy Duty Carpet Cleaning
If the spill was a while ago and you can't seem to remove it, or if you just want to give the whole carpet a good freshening, you can rent or buy a steam cleaning machine. This may be a good investment if there are a lot of little people or pets in the household.
To steam clean a carpet, first move the furniture. They may have to be taken out of the room if it’s a wall-to-wall carpet. Vacuum the entire floor, then add hot water and just a bit of carpet shampoo to the container of the steam cleaner. Start at a far corner of the room, and work out of the door. At the end, the carpet should be damp but not soggy. It should be completely dry before the furniture is replaced. If you or a family member need to go into the room, wrap your feet in plastic bags or clean socks.
If that sounds like a lot of work, or if you want the cleaning done properly, hire a professional. We'd be happy to get you a free estimate! Call us at 703-493-1238.
4 Steps To Prepare For Cleaning Your Carpet Yourself
As the seasons change, it's common to feel like giving the house a thorough cleaning and redecorating. It's nice to make everything feel fresh again. Cleaning the carpet can be a major undertaking, depending on how much carpet you have, but the reward is well worth it. A clean carpet can make a world of difference in the way a home looks and smells. DIY carpet cleaning is easier and cheaper than you might think: just follow a few basic preparatory steps to get clean-smelling, fresh, vibrant carpets again.
Dust & Clean Your Furniture First
This may sound like just more work, but there's a point. If you give your furniture a good cleaning afterward, all the dirt, lint, dust, and debris you sweep away will end up on your fresh carpet. Knock out two birds with one stone by dusting your furniture first: all the dust that falls will get picked up in your carpet cleaning. And you'll feel more comfortable moving furniture back in place if you know a pile of dust bunnies aren't about to cascade onto the carpet.
Move Lighter Items Off The Carpet
For more comprehensive access to your carpets for cleaning, move lightweight furniture and other items out of the room first. For heavier items that you can't remove from the room, move them into a different corner. You'll have to wait for the carpet to dry before you move them back, which means working in sections, so give yourself some extra time. Open, unimpeded access to carpeting will ensure a more thorough cleaning approach, and much less stress for you.
Vacuum The Carpet Thoroughly (A Few Repeats Won't Hurt)
Adjust your sweeper settings to "Rug" or "Carpet" to pick up crumbs, pet hair, and dirt that have been ground into the carpet. You may find that the act of vacuuming itself turns up extra dirt, so you may need to vacuum two or three times to finish the job. It may also be helpful to vacuum the carpet at a couple of different settings to collect as much debris as possible. If you can see dust and dirt continue to fill the sweeper collection cup or bag, keep vacuuming until you can't see more debris being swept up.
For hard-to-reach areas under heavier items with legs, like your couch, use a broom to reach under and sweep out some of the dust into an area that's easier to reach.
Don't forget to use the corner extension of the vacuum to get into corners and along baseboards: all that dust will come back to haunt you later, so get it now.
Pretreat Heavy Duty Carpet Stains
Use a stain removal product that is environmentally safe and won't harm the carpet fibers. Ahead of time, treat a small area that can't be easily seen and note its effect on the carpet to ensure there is no bleaching or fading. If that works, use the product to treat stains before shampooing the carpet. Some spots may need to be treated twice.
Finally, choose a cleaning product for the carpet that won't leave a pungent odor or residue. Look for one that is eco-friendly with odor-removal ability. Be sure to follow directions and mix the product correctly, applying it according to the carpet scrubber's guidelines. You may need to vacuum the carpet again after it dries.
After the carpet dries thoroughly, your carpeted rooms should smell fresh and clean, and ready to welcome the new season. And you'll definitely notice whenever you pass by!
Cleaning your carpet is not difficult so much as it is time-consuming, and some people don't have that time, or find it inconvenient. If you don't have the free time you need, give us a call at 703-493-1238, and we can come do it for you.
This company was a life saver. I spilled an entire gallon of teal paint on light carpet and he got it out. Very professional, friendly, and caring. I will recommend them to any one I know. Great prices.
- Jacki Zirpolo. 1/27/2019
We've used JBJ's services for the last 13 years. Jimmy always provides his very best efforts for our home with pets to include spot cleaning and special areas in the house. Always friendly and considerate, he understands busy schedules and remains flexible for his appointments. When our finished basement flooded from a broken pipe on a Sunday morning, we called him for advice and he immediately made time in his schedule to come over and control the flooding, pull back the wet carpet and padding, and provide two large blowers to help dry out the concrete. Saved us from much more damage and expense! He always responds to calls within one business day with options for appointments. Call him now!
- Gary Smilowitz. 8/16/2018
JBJ was recommended to us by a close friend and we have use this service multiple times and trusted in the company to clean our carpets prior to the arrival of both of our children, the experience, care, and professionalism of this company is second to none. We will never have our carpets cleaned by anyone else. Our last experience happened because our dog had an accident in our bedroom. JBJ was at our house before 9 AM on the same day to get the stain out. Reliable and wonderful!
- Kate Stavish. 7/22/2018
We used JBJ to have our townhouse cleaned. Not only was Jim super friendly and professional. The carpets can out amazing. We had a pet that had left stains that we didn’t think would come out. Jim got the stains out and never tried to up charge us anything. Gave us a price over the phone and that was the price. No pressure, just great service. Would highly recommend.
- charlie schoeneberg. 6/12/2018
We have used JBJ Services multiple times over the last couple years. James is easy to work with for scheduling, is prompt, reasonably priced and thorough. He has cleaned both carpets and rugs for us - no easy task with a dog in the house. He has done an outstanding job cleaning our leather couches. I highly recommend this local, small business.
- Darcy Saint-Amant. 5/1/2018
We used this company twice already and we absolutely love them. We have two cats and so our couch gets super furry and full of throw up sometimes so we got our sectional couch cleaned. He is always so friendly and nice and easy to work with. Booking the service was very easy and quick. He even came on time. We really like using them because there aren't many people out there who are kind and willing to make their customer happy anymore. This company goes out of their way to go above and beyond our expectations. We will definitely keep using Jbj services for all of our steam cleaning needs!
- Inayah Zaman. 6/13/2017
I've used this company several times, and always get GREAT results. The carpet looks and smells good, and they are friendly and on time. Good price too!
- Tonia . 2/27/2017
Jim is always a pleasure to work with. So easy to schedule appointments and always convenient to my schedule. Always a does a great job, I always refer friends and family and JBJ Services.
- Kim Rally. 2/24/2017
Second time using them - easy to schedule, on time, great pricing and great work. Highly recommend!
- Evan Kozlow. 2/16/2017
Wonderful experience! I wouldn't use any other company. I definitely recommend their services.
- Amy Schmutte. 1/27/2017
JBJ Services was recommended to me and I am so glad I called them. I have several rental properties and the carpets tend to have a high level of wear and tear. The carpets always come out looking in excellent condition and the prices are fair. I am very happy with the services.
- John Fornecker. 1/20/2017
This is the 2nd time I've used JBJ. Pricing is fair and work is outstanding. I have no complaints at all. The rugs look GREAT!
- Mary McMurray. 0/18/2017
We recently had JBJ pick up, clean, and deliver our oriental area rug. The rug was promptly picked up, cleaned thoroughly and delivered in a matter of a few days- at a very reasonable price. Excellent service!!
- ralph martini. 0/17/2017
JBJ (Jim) is the reason to support your local small businessman. Service is top notch and quick. We've been using Jim for over 15 years and have NEVER been disappointed. Drop off and pick up service and a man that you can trust in your home.
- Sandy McDonald. 0/16/2017
Called JBJ Services on a Sunday and James actually answered the phone. Imagine that - speaking to a live person on a Sunday! Set appointment for the next Wednesday at 8:30 am. James called me twice that morning; once prior to the scheduled appointment and again to confirm arrival. Once onsite James was quick to get right to work. Before I knew it he was finished. Both area rugs looked practically new and smell great! The carpet spot cleaning removed the stains completely. I highly recommend JBJ Services!