Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning


Of all the Carpet Cleaning processes, the most popular is Hot Water Extraction. Manufacturers such as Shaw, recommend it, before all other methods.

This is not to say, other methods don’t have their place in a professional cleaners arsenal.

Sometimes, it's called “Steam Cleaning.” Often, vapor rises from the surface, while heated solution is applied that looks like steam. It’s, in most cases, “hot water”, not steam.


There are many types of equipment.

Small, low pressure extractors, often used for maintenance cleaning, use low water pressure and low vacuum. (cfm - cubic feet per minute)

Larger, portable units can have more water pressure and air flow, than a small surface maintenance machine, but are not as powerful as a “truck mount.”

“Truck mounts” are large units mounted in a truck. They have large vacuum pumps which produce hi airflow (vacuum) and hi water pressure. Hoses run from the truck to where the cleaning is done.

All the above pieces of equipment can vary in size and power, within each category.


There are 3 things that must happen:

1. Dry soil removal

Since, some, dry soil doesn’t dissolve into the liquid applied, this part of the job is usually done with a good vacuum.

2. Soil suspension (dissolving the soil into a liquid applied)

This step is cause the soil, that will dissolve, to mix with a “pre spray” that is applied.

3. Rinse & Extract

Then, liquid is sprayed from the "spray jets" of the cleaning wand,.This liquid, mixes with the previously applied pre spray, which has dissolved soil in it. Now the prespray, dissolved soil and liquid from the wand gets extracted or “sucked up” by the vacuum of the wand.


After the wand has extracted the initial amount of liquid, it is then pushed back over the surface to extract more liquid left behind. This can be done, once, twice or three times, depending on the amount of liquid applied and the density of the carpeting.


Hot water cleaning machines have gotten better at removing water. It used to be it took up to 12 hours to dry. Now it can happen in 1 – 4 hrs.


Depending on the moisture removal ability of the equipment being used, fans may be placed to help dry the surface. Walking on a wet carpet can apply soil quickly, from the soles of shoes, and pack down the fibers so they don't have as much drying space between them as when they are tall and separate..

Things below the surface, such as spilled drinks, could wick (climb) to the top of the fiber. Getting the fiber dry before this can happen, is recommended.

There are tools that can be used to help extract this material from deep down, in carpet.


The bottom line idea is to dissolve the soil, then remove it.

Hot Water Extraction is accepted, by many, as the most effective soil removal method.

HOWEVER….as mentioned earlier, every method has its place.  


                   Dennis Klager




Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager