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Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 | Listed in: Carpet CleaningRug CleaningUpholstery Cleaning

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Carpets can change the appearance of a room. From making it look cozy, to covering up flooring that is not so flattering – interior designers from all over the world agree that getting a rug or carpet that blends with a theme gives a house a complete make over. However, there is nothing as irritating as having stained or dirty carpets. No matter how well arranged the furniture and curtains are, if a carpet is not clean, the whole room looks messy.

The good news is that, over the years, cleaning companies have come up with efficient and faster ways of cleaning carpets. You no longer have to worry about the smell that comes from carpets that have not dried well. There are instant dry cleaning options, use of steam and the most recent addition of hot water extraction. Unless you are a professional cleaner, some of these terms probably sound very technical to you. You must be wondering which would be the best fit for your cleaning needs.

From experience, some of the defining factors on how people choose a cleaning method include: type of fabric their carpet is made of, how safe the method is to the carpet and the general environment and overall cost.

The popularity of cleaning using hot water extraction method has also spurred interest, with potential users asking the following:

  • What is hot water extraction cleaning?
  • Is it just for carpets or can it be used for cleaning upholstery?
  • Where can I hire a professional carpet cleaning companies to do hot water extraction cleaning?

Well, if you are among the people who are curious to know how hot water extraction cleaning works, you are at the right place.

We will start by answering the most commonly asked:

What is Hot Water Extraction?

Forget the complex name. Hot water extraction is simply injection of hot water in to the carpet pile under extremely high pressure. It works by shooting streams of hot water and detergent deep in to the piles of a carpet with force that helps dislodge any stains, remove dust and dirt and clean deep within the fibres of your carpet.

Most people confuse Hot Water Extraction with steam cleaning. Hot Water Extraction emits steam due to the hot water and pressure produced during cleaning, but it is different from steam cleaning because while steam cleaning depends on steam to remove the stain, Hot Water Extraction uses warm water.

How Hot Water Extraction is done:

Now that you have understood the basic concept of hot water extraction cleaning, it is time for you to know the smaller details of how the service is done. These are the steps taken to give your carpet the stain removal you need.

  • Mixing water with detergent: There is a compartment in the equipment used for Hot Water Extraction where water is mixed with gentle detergent. Unlike other cleaning methods that use harsh detergent and bleach, Hot Water Extraction uses eco-friendly detergents that will not affect you, your children or pets.
  • Loosening the dirt: After mixing the detergent and water, the liquid is sprayed directly onto the carpet using very high pressure. This process loosens particles of dirt in the carpet and makes the cleaning process easier and faster.
  • Degreasing, spot removal, stain removal: the technician adds spotters on any stains to soften it up and remove any marks from your carpet. This prevents the stain from spreading further during cleaning when the hot water is sprayed.
  • Removing moisture and dirt: After cleaning, the machine is used to suck out moisture (up to 98%) and all the dust that could have accumulated in the carpet.

*Hot Water Extraction is not restricted to carpets. It is also very efficient in cleaning sofas, futons, and other upholstery you may want cleaned.

Why you should consider cleaning with the hot water extraction method:

There are many reasons why Hot Water Extraction is superior compared to other cleaning methods. Some of the reasons why most people go for this option include:

  • It does not cause allergic reactions:

Since Hot Water Extraction primarily uses water and mild detergent, you do not have to worry about allergic reactions from chemicals. This quality is especially important for people with medical conditions such as asthma and extreme allergies.

  • Safe to use around children and pets:

When using hot water extraction cleaning, you will not need to worry about relocating your children or pets. The detergent is so mild and eco-friendly, that you can use it around young people and pets.

  • The cleaning results last longer:

Most people will admit that the thought of cleaning carpet can be stressful. It is even more frustrating if you have to do it many times. Hot Water Extraction is a better option, because compared to other methods, such as dry cleaning and use of steam, this method gives you a thorough clean that will last longer.

  • No chemical residue left:

Hot Water Extraction has water as the main ingredient. This ensures that you will not have chemical residues on your carpet. You do not have to worry about chemicals affecting your health, or degrading the material from which your carpet or upholstery is made.

Why should always work with professionals:

Granted, the wave of DIY can tempt many people and there is an overwhelming desire to do things yourself. There have been people who resorted to hiring the Hot Water Extraction equipment with hopes of doing their own cleaning. If you are thinking of going the DIY route, hold on and read on why it may not be the best idea.

  • You are likely to end up with a wet rug:

Most of the companies that rent out their equipment have machines with weak drying power. This means that you are gambling with chances of having mouldy carpets. Mould is a health hazard that could get you hospitalised. Moreover, a wet rug will develop a foul smell that can even make your house or office inhabitable.

  • You will not remove all the dirt:

The models that are often rented out do not have powerful vacuums that completely remove dirt prior to the heat treatment. If the dirt is not properly removed, it ends up spreading across the carpet and you will have a dirty carpet.

  • You will waste a lot of time:

You are not a professional, and chances are, you are a newbie at using Hot Water Extraction. It will take you a while to master the tricks on how the equipment works, and you may end up frustrated before you ultimately call professionals to come and help you finish the cleaning.

Comparing steam cleaning and Hot Water Extraction

To understand the differences, it is important to understand what steam cleaning the carpet means.

What happens in steam cleaning:

Here, water is heated to boiling point; to a temperature that produces steam. The steam is the directed to the carpet and when it penetrates the fibre of the carpet, it eliminates smells and bacteria that are in the carpet.

Why use Hot Water Extraction and not steam cleaning:

One of the advantage of steam cleaning is that it removes odours, especially those that stick on heavy carpets. The high temperatures involved also help with removal of bacteria. You also do not have to use detergent, which is a welcome relief to people who do not like using chemicals. Other than those benefits, Hot Water Extraction is still considered a better option compared to steam cleaning.

Some of the reasons steam cleaning can be a drawback include:

  • It can set in stains: steam cleaning needs the water to boil and evaporate to produce steam. The high temperatures can make the stain permanent.
  • The cleaning is not thorough: since steam cleaning does not use detergents, you will not get a good clean and rinse that will last longer. You will always need to do regular cleaning.
  • It is not suitable for natural fabrics: the extreme temperature can denature and ruin natural fabric in your carpet and upholstery. It can also cause irreversible shrinkage.

Comparing dry cleaning and Hot Water Extraction

To understand the differences, it would be better for you to understand how dry cleaning works, now that you know how Hot Water Extraction is done.

Dry cleaning is mainly for fabrics that get damaged upon contact with water. This is a delicate process where the cleaner uses a special powdery cleaning agent that is mixed with gentle detergent for cleaning.

A dry cleaning machine that has a pair of soft brushes are used to rub the cleaning agent on the stains. The brushes spin in different directions. One of them get into the strands of the fibres and ruffles it up, while the other deposits the powder to remove the stains.

Why use Hot Water Extraction and not dry cleaning:

One of the main advantage of dry cleaning is that it is less messy. No water is used, so you do not have to worry about carpets drying. The process is also faster, and there is no period required for you to let the carpet dry, as it is always ready to walk on as soon as the cleaners are done. It also does not leave discolouration like other cleaning methods. Other than these, it has its drawbacks, including:

  • It does not remove stubborn stains: Since no water is used, it does not completely eliminate stubborn stains. It only cleans the surface.
  • It is expensive: dry cleaning equipment are quite expensive. This renders the service equally expensive. Given that it does not do a thorough clean on stains, the high price makes it unsustainable for most home owners.
  • The cleaning powder can move to furniture and other fabric. This can cause damage if the materials are delicate.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on hot water extraction method of cleaning:

How often should it be done?

Hot Water Extraction should be done annually. Do not let many years go by before you reach out to a professional carpet cleaner to work on your carpet. Letting the carpet stay with a stain or dirt for many years will damage your fabric. It is also not healthy as bacteria and mould may develop and endanger your health.

What tools should I expect the specialists to come with?

Some of the tools that the carpet cleaners will come with include:

  • Hot Water Extraction machine, wand and hand tool.
  • Vacuum cleaner.
  • Stain removal solutions/products and spray bottles.
  • Brushes.
  • Clean clothes.
  • Carpet dryers/blowers.
  • Dust sheets.
  • Clean clothes.
  • Foil for putting under furniture.

How is Hot Water Extraction done by professionals?

To understand how the process is done, and what to expect when you contract professionals to do hot water extraction cleaning for you, this is a step by step explanation on what will happen:

  1. They will assemble the equipment and plug it in a source of power.
  2. The room will be cleared and furniture such as sofas and tables will be moved. The professionals will also open windows to give the room proper ventilation before they can start working.
  3. Carpet will be thoroughly vacuumed to remove any loose dirt particles.
  4. The experts will check on whether the pile of the carpet is colour fast by using a clean piece of white cloth and cleaning solutions.
  5. A pre-spray solution is sprayed on the carpet and agitated gently before cleaning.
  6. The cleaner will then start cleaning. The process starts from the part of the carpet that is furthest from the door to avoid water overflow. The solution is sprayed in straight lines that overlap. This is done so that the carpet does not get soaked.
  7. Carpet blowers/dryers are switched on to help the carpet to dry quicker.
  8. Once the cleaning job is done, the technicians rearrange the furniture. They also put protective cover on the surface so that they prevent chances of discolouring the furniture.
  9. Optionally at this point a carpet protector can be applied to the carpet to prevent future stains and soiling.


We hope that’s helped explain the hot water extraction cleaning process that we use here at AAAClean. If you are looking for a professional carpet cleaning company to use hot water extraction cleaning on your carpet or upholstery please don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free quotation.

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Booking Line - Mon-Sat, 9AM-9PM.