Carpet cleaning options guide

Don't let just anyone loose on your carpets.
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  • Updated:10 Apr 2007

03.Carpet cleaning methods

Hot water extraction

Hot water extraction (also known as steam cleaning) is what the Australian standard refers to as 'periodic or corrective cleaning,' and is suitable for most carpets. It can be done with a truck-mounted or portable machine. The former is more powerful and will do a more thorough job.

Manufacturers recommend hot water extraction as the preferred method of carpet cleaning to invigorate and prolong the life of the carpet.

In the process:

  • The carpet is vacuumed.
  • A chemical is sprayed on and left to bond with the soil.
  • Afterwards water is injected into the carpet with a high-pressure jet spray.
  • Finally the water is vacuumed out.

Dry cleaning

'Dry' cleaning (some water is used though less than in steam cleaning), is what the standard refers to as a 'surface cleaning.' It's handy for areas that receive a lot of traffic and need a fast drying time. Dry cleaning can be used as a maintenance clean but it's still best to have hot water extraction done from time to time.

Bonnet cleaning is the most-commonly used form of dry cleaning. In this process:

  • The carpet is vacuumed.
  • A cleaning agent is applied to the cleaner and sometimes the carpet and then they go over the carpet with the cleaner. The cleaner has a pad (the bonnet), which rubs the carpet, transferring the dirt onto the pad.
  • Finally the carpet is vacuumed.

DIY carpet cleaning

You can hire a carpet cleaning machine from most Coles and Woolworths/Safeway supermarkets and some smaller independent stores; they work by hot water extraction.

Carpet manufacturers often warn against doing it yourself, as there's more chance of overwetting your carpet, but you'll save money.

  • The carpet cleaning machine will cost around $40 for 24 hours.
  • The heavy-duty cleaning agent costs around $11.
  • The spotter spray costs around $8.

With a DIY job, you are liable for any damages done to your home, so read and follow the instructions carefully. If you're having trouble making the machine work, you can call the machine's supplier to guide you through the steps. The major one we spoke to, Britex, has a hotline that's available seven days a week.


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