Carpet shampooing is a wet method of carpet cleaning, this immediately puts it on the back foot as allowing carpets to remain wet for long periods of time can cause mould or mildew to form. The idea behind carpet shampoo is to generate a thick foamy lather, similar to when shampooing your hair. This is then rubbed into the carpets with a floor buffer machine fitted with a rotating soft brush and left to dry.
The action of the brush can actually cause damage to the carpet fibres, and when the shampoo dries out it leaves behind a sticky residue which can lead to carpets re-soiling faster. The shampoo product itself also has flaws, as it is unable to provide a thorough deep clean, they usually contain optical brighteners to make the carpets look cleaner than they actually are. This magic ingredient soon wears off and leaves behind a yellowy tinge on light carpets.
Carpet shampooing is not recommended any more but some companies do still use it as their preferred method. Make sure you check with any company which cleaning method they use before you pay for carpet cleaning.
Steam cleaning, perhaps more appropriately called hot water extraction, is also a wet method but thanks to the superfast drying times, does not have the same drawbacks as carpet shampooing. The equipment used for this technique has an industrial strength vacuum which is able to extract most of the cleaning solution previously pumped into the carpet, as well as all the dirt from the bottom of the carpet.
As this method does not leave carpets soaking wet, or full of cleaning agent, and is able to remove the contaminants from deep between the fibres, it has become the number one carpet cleaning method. The carpet cleaning technician will most likely treat the carpets with a pre-spray before the full clean, and rinse it through afterwards to ensure it is completely free from any residue.
Steam carpet cleaning has actually been proven to extend the lifespan of carpets as it can help strengthen the fibres and revitalise the colour. In order to prevent premature replacement of your carpets, it is recommended that the average household gets their carpets cleaned every 12 months, but this could be more for busy or large families.
If you are unsure about carpet cleaning and require some further advice, contact your local steam carpet cleaning company and ask to speak to a technician. Reputable carpet cleaners should be experienced and very knowledgeable about their trade, so don't be afraid to ask questions.